New Dayton minor league basketball team starts season in February

Dayton Flight begin training camp Friday

The Dayton Flight were born last August when The Basketball League, a minor league entering its second season, announced it was adding a franchise in the Gem City. The team will take its first steps in the coming weeks as it settles on a roster and prepares for its first game.

Flight General Manager Brandon Harper, a Colonel White High School and Central State University graduate, urges fans to give the team a chance.

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“We’ve got the NBA, and you have a level right under that you can enjoy right here in your backyard,” Harper said. “We have homegrown talent. Instead of going overseas, they’re right here making a name for themselves and competing for a championship. They’re going to put on a show and take flight in the city’s backyard. This is monumental. We have professionals. Just like the Dayton Dragons have done it for 20 years, we’re looking to start our own legacy here in the city.”

Here’s what fans need to know about Dayton’s newest professional team:

1. When does the season begin?

The Flight open the season with two home games. They play the Columbus Condors at 7 p.m. Feb. 1 and play the Jamestown (N.Y.) Jackals a day later at the same time. They are two of 23 games in the regular season, which ends April 18.

2. Where will the Flight play?

Home games and practices will take place at Sinclair Community College’s Building 8 Arena at 444 W. Third Street in downtown Dayton.

3. How much are tickets?

Single-game tickets run from $5 to $60. Season tickets cost $250. That includes tickets to 12 home games, plus exclusive Flight bag, an inaugural year hat and arm band. Court-side suites are available for the season for $3,500. Tickets can be purchased at

4. Who’s the head coach?

Gary Armstrong, a Dunbar High School graduate, will lead the team. He has coached at various levels — high school, AAU, NCR Industrial League — around the city for years. Craig Holloway, who coached at Colonel White, will be Armstrong’s assistant.

5. How big is the team?

There will be 26 players attending a 10-day training camp, which starts Friday at the Northwest Recreation Center. The coaches have to cut that number in half by the start of the season. There will be two exhibition games Jan. 25-26.

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“The competition is going to be crazy,” Harper said. “I’m feeling bad for guys we’re going to have to send home because we’re going to send some talented guys home who won’t make our roster.”

6. Who could make the final roster?

The biggest name in training camp will be Luther Head, 1,295-point scorer at Illinois who played seven seasons in the NBA. He’s 37 and has played overseas and in Canada in recent years.

Another name local fans will know is Gary Akbar, who played for Dunbar’s 28-0 state championship team as a senior in 2012.

Among the other players in camp are: Malik Jacobs, a Fairborn High School graduate who played at Urbana University; Joe Ballard, who played at Florida A&M; Xander Smart, a Carroll graduate who played at the University of Northwestern Ohio; Trotwood-Madison graduate Dazhonetae Bennett, who played at Cedarville University; Purcell Marian graduate Kameron Moore, who played at Wilmington College and Wilberforce University; and T.J. Carpenter, a 1,221-point scorer at Nicholls State from 2012-16.

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