By Mackenzie N. Morgan
The city of Stonecrest is now home to one of Georgia’s newest semi-pro basketball teams, the Georgia Kangaroos. The team, which has been seeking a home since early last year, will play its inaugural basketball game against the Augusta Eagles on Sunday, Jan. 19, 3 p.m., in the gymnasium at the newly renovated Browns Mill Recreation Center in Stonecrest.
Founder, head coach and former Parkview High School basketball player, Brian Caswell, said he is ecstatic about bringing semi-pro sports to Stonecrest. Caswell thanked city officials and Stonecrest Parks and Recreation for assisting in securing a home for the Kangaroos’ future sporting events.
“From the beginning, Stonecrest was 100 percent supportive. We got down to business immediately and it literally happened overnight. I look forward to being a part of making the City of Stonecrest the best city in America,” said Caswell.
The Georgia Kangaroos is a private entity operating under the Kangaroo Sports Club. The club, Caswell said, will eventually grow to include multiple teams, sports and a youth division. The Kangaroos team name is a tribute to the TOPSTAR Kangaroos Club Caswell worked for while living in Germany.
“We want to be an ambassador for the city and attract things that are going to add value to the Stonecrest economy. Although we know it’s going to be the local families and kids that make us a success, it is our hopes that out-of-state teams and fans will stay in, shop and eat in this community and we hope to be a main attraction that willmake Stonecrest the best city,” said Caswell.
Caswell said after the NBA selects its players each year, thousands of players are left without a way to utilize their talent in a professional environment.
“The real challenge is there are so many great basketball players but there are not enough jobs for them. Semi-pro sports allow people to continue doing something they are good at and that they enjoy. We’re helping 12 more players live their dreams.”
While the players don’t rely on basketball for a full-time income, the team does offer other incentives in addition to compensation such as housing, healthcare and other perks. Many of the players have full- or part-time jobs in various fields ranging from mental health to public safety, retail or are self-employed. Some have families, wives and kids.
The team is sustained by sponsorships, ticket sales, and merchandise. Georgia Kangaroos’ sponsors include the City of Stonecrest; Chris Seabrooks of Country Financial; Emory Healthcare; Players Health Insurance; OD Nutrition; Tax Geaks; and Firefly.
“One of our team’s strengths is that all of our players are strong. Our challenge is choosing who will play first because we don’t rely on one person. Everybody has the opportunity to be the player of the game because we really are that strong,” said Caswell.
Tickets are $10 per person. Games will take place on Sundays at 3 p.m. at the Brownsmill Recreation Center gymnasium, 5101 Browns Mill Rd, Stonecrest. For s season schedule and updates, visit georigakangaroos.com