The Philly Cannons will begin their third season in the American Basketball Association (ABA) by hosting the Pottstown Flames at their new home court venue in Steelton, Pennsylvania. “What I tell people is this: No one goes to Harlem to see the Globetrotters; the Philly Cannons are an international, global brand, “said Team President & Head Coach, Roger Beckwith. Indeed, there is truth to that statement with Philly Cannons alums placed on FIBA rosters in El Salvador, Columbia, China, Australia, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Morocco among others.
But Beckwith does not want to lose all his talent to the international game, and to that end he needs to be able to pay players a living salary. “The globalization of Basketball means that for a graduating NCAA Division 1, 2, even 3 player… there are more paid opportunities for hoops than ever before,” he added. But not all players want to go overseas. “if I can pay maybe $700-1000 per month during the season to a player… I could probably retain and attract certain players that I cannot get at this time.” So Beckwith feels that building a fan base and continuing to build the Philly Cannons brand will eventually help him reach this goal. “From what I’ve seen, small markets tend to do better than larger ones in the ABA, and with my athletic roots in Central Pennsylvania, going to Steel High seemed logical to me, especially since we haven’t been able to draw well at the Scotland campus where we have played games at the past two seasons. “This will be the third meeting between Pottstown and Philly, with the Cannons holding a 2-0 advantage. “Both of our games were nail biters that came down to the wire last year… it’s a backyard brawl that is always going to be an intense rivalry,” said Beckwith.
The Cannons will retain veteran holdovers Rell Harrington and Ramair “Juice” Garner in the back court. The 5’11” duo know what the Head Coach wants on the floor, and will set the pace and provide leadership. Former Shippensburg University and Imhotep lead guard, Abe Massaley, will be in the mix with newcomer Putter Brown (6’1” PG) and 6’3” combo guard Shawn Green, a returnee from last season. The Cannons will feature several new additions with the returnees including 6’5” guard/forward, Malik Garner, 6’5” wing Sahn Brinkley, 6’5” wing Akil Anderson along with 6’4” returning wing Kassim Green, last season’s leading scorer. Beckwith is concerned about size inside but figures to have 6’9” Shaquille Duncan, 6’9” Dex Lathem, 6’7” Kyle Rose and 6’8” Daniel Mack for portions of the ABA season, If not for the opener versus Pottstown. “I know the Flames will return Nick Brown, who may be 6’10” inside and that kind of size always poses problems,” offered Beckwith. “I know they have two ex-Cannons in their organization (Joseph Burnett & Larry Jefferson) so I expect them to be improved; it’s the ABA and we are bigger and better than ever so I hope the mid-state area comes out for opening night between Philly and Pottstown.
The Cannons have been practicing and sparring with the Philadelphia Stunnaz, an affiliate team, all summer and are eager to compete for an American Basketball Association (ABA) championship. The ABA consists of over 150 teams nationwide, and the Cannons will compete in the Northeast Region with the Jersey Express, Pottstown Flames, NEPA Stars and Stripes, DMV Warriors, York Buccaneers, Reading Wizards, New England Outtatowners and the Lancaster Wolfpack among others. Please visit www.phillycannons.com & www.abaliveaction.com for tickets and more information.