|Legend Roster Starts to Take Form
By Joshua Kinder, Dodge City Daily Globe
With the season a little less than three weeks away, Dodge City Legend coach and general manager Dale Osbourne has been busy trying to solidify the roster.
In addition to last week's big signing of 7-foot-9 Chinese National Sun Ming Ming, the Legend has re-signed four players from last year's championship team - Lazarus Sims, Renaldo Major, Framecio Little and Roy Tarpley - for the upcoming season.
Dodge City, which will be defending its third title in six seasons, also signed 6-7 forward James Reaves, 6-6 guard Alfred Neale and 6-10 forward Chris Sokwell.
Reaves played collegiately at Niagra where he averaged 11.7 points and nearly nine rebounds a game as a senior last season.
Neale, who ran track at Barton County Community College, averaged 10 points and almost five rebounds a game during his senior campaign at New Mexico in 2005.
Sokwell played with the CBA's Albany Patroons this past season.
Osbourne, who intends to carry 12 on the roster, said this year will be probably be the last season for both Sims and Tarpley, both of whom want to get into coaching.
"They both want to come back and help us win another championship," Osbourne said last week. "They have been treated great in the community here and are talking about ending their playing career here.
"It's the reputation of the owners and the fans that bring these guys out here. There is no way I could get Lazarus Sims to come out here for three years in a row if he wasn't treated well."
"That says a lot for the the people of Dodge City."
And for the 40-year old Tarpley, whose long and often bumpy road through the professional basketball ranks, this season offers him a chance to get started in coaching a little early.
Osbourne said a big reason for Tarpley's return to Dodge City is to be a mentor for Sun - a seven-footer teaching another seven-footer who to play professional basketball.
"He's a great guy, a great team player and he understands his role with this team," said Osbourne of Tarpley, a former NBA sixth man of the year. "I'm looking forward to having him back this year."
Osbourne has also been in negotiations with former Wichita State star Jamar Howard and KU star Aaron Miles. Janerio Sprulock, who played at Kansas State a few years ago, has also visited with Osbourne.
"We've been recruiting those guys pretty hard," he said. "But really, I don't want to have to beg guys to come out here. If you have to do that, they really don't want to be out here and their attitudes are bad."