ANDERSON — After weeks of franchise building, sponsorship seeking and player evaluation, the Anderson Legends will make their on-court debut Saturday.
The team will play its North American Basketball Development Leagues Association (BDL) opener against the Indianapolis Kings at East Side Elementary at 3:30 p.m.
"I'm excited," said former Anderson High School star Troy Taylor, the driving force behind the franchise who now finally can focus on his role as a player. "It's kinda crazy just to see everything work out, especially all the work that went into it and everybody who helped out."
Taylor, who serves as the Legends' CEO, has populated Anderson's roster with plenty of talent familiar to local basketball fans. Former Indians star DeJovan Sawyer-Davis, who led St. Francis to an NAIA national championship in 2010, is the headliner.
A pair of Taylor's former high school teammates — Jeremy Dupree and Tre Jackson — also are on the roster. Highland's Jay Mohr and Anderson University's Andrew Jones fill out the local flavor.
Taylor's goal is to extend the Legends' impact off the basketball court and into the community.
"We're not just playing basketball," he said. "We want to get out in the community and help as much as we can. Our goal is to change the community for the better."
Early plans include school visits and contests, perhaps even a shooting competition between youth and 1993 Mr. Basketball Kojak Fuller — who will serve as one of the Legends' coaches, alongside Norman Anderson.
Taylor has lined up a wide range of partners and sponsors, with Coca-Cola becoming the latest brand to jump on board. The soft drink giant will provide products for each of the Legends home games.
Saturday's opener also will include a special ticket discount courtesy of the Indiana Pacers. Fans attending the Legends' game can purchase tickets to the Pacers' March 17 game against the Philadelphia 76ers for $13.50.
There also will be a drawing from the pool of ticket buyers for 14 youth who will go onto the court and cheer the Pacers as they take the floor before the game.
Admission for the Legends is $6, and the team's second home game will take place Feb. 28 against the Fort Wayne All-Stars.
"It's gonna be fun," Taylor said.