For the first time since 2007, a minor league professional basketball team will call Salina home.
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Bicentennial Center officials announced that the Salina Saints of the American Basketball Association (ABA) will play their home games in 2016-17 at the Salina Bicentennial Center.
The Saints are owned and operated by Toda, LLC, a local Salina group led by Scott Gardner, who will also serve as the team’s general manager.
Gardner, a Salina resident, has been involved locally with MAYB and AAU basketball teams. He is a graduate of Northern Iowa University, where he played collegiate football.
“We are excited to bring minor league basketball back to the City of Salina,” said Gardner. “We are thrilled to give back to the community by providing fun, affordable, family entertainment at the Bicentennial Center.”
At the press conference, Gardner introduced the Saints Head Coach, Andre Favors.
Favors, a Salina resident, has previous coaching experience as the head coach of the Brown Mackie Women’s Basketball Team. He was also the assistant coach with Garden City Community College and Brown Mackie during the 2005 National Championship Season. Favors attended college at Garden City Community College and Kansas Wesleyan University.
The Saints’ season, which is tentatively set to begin in November, will consist of 20 games, 10 home and 10 away. Most of the games will take place on Saturdays and Sundays. The regular season runs through February.
Three tryout sessions will be held for the team, two in Salina and one in Wichita. The first tryout session is scheduled for May 21 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kansas State University Polytechnic Gymnasium. Favors said prospective players must be within a 100 mile radius.
“The ABA is excited about getting a team here in Salina,” Favors said. “It’s a great place for professional sports and people will come out and support it.”
Season tickets for the Salina Saints 2016-17 season are currently on sale at the Bicentennial Center Box Office or by calling 785-826-7200. For pricing and more information please visit BicentennialCenter.com or call 785-826-7200.
For more on the Salina Saints, including tryout information, visit SalinaSaints.com.