(Long Island, NY) In their inaugural season, the Strong Island Sound made a lot of noise. Although they finished with a mediocre 16-14 record, they had a 10-game winning streak, qualified for the ABA’s Great 8 Tournament in Rochester, and made the Final Four. Not bad for an expansion team. Now they have to follow that up.
In the world of independent minor league sports, rosters change from month to month, and especially year to year. The Sound will have only three familiar faces from the team that made that great run. Captain Gary Williams of Bay Shore will be back and is expected to be one of the veteran leaders on a young squad. Shooting guard Michael Campbell, who had a big season on Long Island before signing to play in China towards the end of 2005-06, is back. And point guard Jerome “Fridge” Holman should be back in the fold soon. Having the sparkplug Holman on the floor will be key. He, along with Chris Sandy (now playing in Finland) were the catalysts of the late season flurry by the Sound. Over the summer, Holman was an AND1 Mix Tape Tour winner, known in that circuit as “Circus.”
Dytanya Mixson was elevated from assistant coach to head coach. He was on Joe Medina’s staff last year and now will be the main man. He will have a group of mainly young, aggressive players to mold into a team. It may take a while, as it did last season.
Some of the names that you are going to hear about a lot on the Sound are Darren “DP” Phillip, Gregory Plummer, Nate Brown, and Tommie “Gunzz” Eddie. The Sound have started the young season at 1-2, recently splitting their first two home games after dropping the season opener at Baltimore by two points.
Plummer leads the team with a 23.3 points per game average. He is also averaging 3 steals a game. Phillip has been a monster on the boards and is pulling down 10.3 each night.
One of the Sound’s rivals from last season, the Harlem Strong Dogs have moved their operation down to Tampa Bay and will start up again next season. Taking their place are the Brooklyn Wonders, who the Sound beat at their home opener. The Newark Express are back, as are the Maryland Night Hawks. The Sound played some great games against these two teams, and it shouldn’t be any different this year.