“We [have] never had a semi-pro or a minor league basketball team here in Madison, for whatever reason… It’s a platform to guide and try to create something fun and exciting for the community.”
That was Roy Boone, the owner and founder of Madison’s first-ever minor league basketball team, the Madison Mavericks. The team, coached by Curtrel Robinson and DeVon Preyer, is a member of the Official Basketball Association (OBA) League.
Boone is a former star basketball player at Madison East and UW-Madison — he was a freshman on the 2000 Badgers team that made the Final Four. He is also founder of The Roy Boone Summer League, a recreational men’s basketball league, and a coach at Madison College.
The idea, Boone noted, came from a conversation between himself and former WNBA player and current owner of The OBA League, Tamara Moore.
“She reached out to me to create a Madison market possibly. At the time I was kind of working on my summer league that I had, that I was bringing back that was successful,” Boone said. ”…But now, I decided to take my gifts to try to do the business side of basketball.”
However, the Mavericks are more than just a basketball team; they will also provide programming for Madison youth via their outreach program “Bigger Than Sports.” The hope, Boone noted, is that the team can “motivate” Madison youth and to “build character off the court and on the court.”
“It’s also good for kids in our community to have some role models,” Boone said. “These guys on my team are role models whether they want to be or not. They are college graduates, they’re entrepreneurs, they’re business owners. So they are role models for our community and the kids kind of look up to these guys already.
“I know they want to go to the Bucks and the Badger games, but they all can’t get to those games,” Boone continued. “But this would be somewhere in your community, in your area, that you can go see like the real pro basketball game against some guys who are traveling into Madison from all over the states to compete against your Madison local guys.”
Bigger Than Sports, Boone said, will feature camps, basketball skill clinics, enrichment programs, and mission trips.
However, unlike most if not all minor league teams, the Mavericks do not yet have a home court.
“My goal is to have our home games at Madison College where I have my summer league games, where I coach it,” Boone said. “But right now, with the pandemic and things like that, they do not let outside groups in.”
Maverick home games will be hosted at either the Wisconsin Dells or Warner Park Community Center, tentatively. Currently, the team’s practices are held at The Princeton Club.
Due to the team’s infancy, Boone noted that the team “definitely needs help with funding” especially to cover traveling expenses.
“We’ve got kind of an intense traveling schedule where we travel to Minnesota, we travel to Nebraska, we travel to Iowa and that’s pretty much every Saturday,” Boone explained. “Some nights you stay in a hotel. You got your van costs. So it’s a nice cost behind everything. For everything to go successful, we definitely need help from the community, from our business partners.”
The team’s sole partner so far is End Time Ministry Baptist Church.
“My next move is to try to reach out to businesses and try to partner with some of the local businesses in the area,” he continued.
Boone also added that those who wish to help support the team can donate to the team’s GoFundMe page or send money directly via their Cashapp or Venmo, $MadisonMavs and @MadisonMavs, respectively.
Although the team’s debut is not for another month, the Mavericks already have engaged in a series of pre-season matches and exhibitions.
In November, the team participated in the OBA League showcase in which the team went up against The Indiana Unlimited. In February, The Mavs faced off against Milwaukee Town Hoyas in a Badger State exhibition matchup.
The Mavericks will compete in the nine-team OBA North division. All OBA League games will be televised on Inspired TV Network.
This Saturday, the team will have their first annual Red vs White Scrimmage game at Warner Park beginning at 3:30 pm. Attendees will have an opportunity to meet the players prior to tip-off at 2:30 pm.
The first ten attendees will receive a Mavericks T-shirt and Bucky Book. The event is free to the public.
The Maverick’s debut will be on April 10th at Justagame Field House in the Wisconsin Dells. The tip-off is at 7:30 pm.
Ticketing information about the April 10th game can be found here.