Addison’s own Texas Wranglers basketball team is about more than just basketball. Community service also plays a big part in the program.
By Georgia Smith on June 17, 2015
The Texas Wranglers are Addison and the North Dallas Corridor’s own semi-professional basketball league with a fairly impressive record. The Wranglers just competed against the Arkansas Bobcats in the championship game this past weekend, and though they lost, they have won the championship twice.
The Wranglers are part of the United Basketball League (UBL), owned by Commissioner and CEO Coach Ozzie Denson, and he explains the difference between the UBL and other leagues.
“The UBL is getting ready to finish its 9th season and getting ready to start the 10th. We played the championship game against Arkansas—but lost.
“We’re a Christian-based league. We do a lot of community things like the blood drive, we go to the Boys and Girls Club, Metrocrest, Red Cross, we do a mentor program with kids in the Addison area. We put on fundraisers to help kids. We’re just growing. It’s about having a positive relationship about basketball. Very few make it to the NBA, but very many love to play.”
The UBL consists of the Texas Wranglers, the Arkansas Bobcats, the Arkansas Warriors and the Tulsa Tornadoes. As for the Wranglers, Coach Denson wants his players to set an example in the community in that every player must give back to Addison and the North Dallas Corridor.
The players this year have all played college basketball—Division 1, 2 and 3—and Coach Denson has worked to get them to the next level. He ticks off a few names. His number one player that tried out for the New York Knicks two years ago. He did not make the team, but Coach Denson seems glad that he had the opportunity to try. Another top player tried out for the Dallas Mavericks but was not picked up. Coach Denson feels it is his job to give the players the exposure, the opportunity to play for the NBA and to help others.
“We’ve got to teach them how to be professional and get them involved in the community,” says Coach Denson. “If Metrocrest needs extra help, we will be there. Any organization that needs help, we volunteer. We’re very big in the Carrollton and Addison area.”
Basketball has played an integral part in Coach Denson’s life. He played basketball throughout high school before getting a scholarship to play for Texas A&M. Coach Denson then went to the Dallas Mavericks, who sent him to the Central Basketball Association for one year.
He was not picked up, so he began teaching and coaching. His teams have won state titles in football, basketball, tennis and girls volleyball. Eventually, he had the opportunity to purchase the Texas Wranglers, and he is now the owner of both the team and the UBL.
“I love basketball,” says Coach Denson. “This is my passion. This is my calling in life. It’s not just basketball, it’s about the young men being good role models, making good decisions. It’s a life changing deal. It’s a business; it’s not just playing basketball. You market yourself and market your team.”
The players often go and work for the sponsors, and Coach Denson says they do well. The team does not have big name sponsors, so they have to work hard to earn funding. The team plays at Greenhill School, where Coach Denson says they have a great turnout. The emphasis is on family-friendly entertainment.
In the community, the Texas Wranglers put on games to raise money for other non-profit organizations. Even so, the teams within the UBL are highly competitive—Coach Denson and his players have the same drive to succeed as any team in the NBA.
While Coach Denson is disappointed that the Wranglers lost the championship game, he is still proud of his team.
“I think we did pretty well. I have a pretty good team. Every year it’s more players and you have to do the best with what you’ve got. We have more [players] coming next year. We don’t want to get too big but we are in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri right now. That’s our territory.”
Even though the season is over, the Wranglers still have work to do.
“The summertime is when we’ll get sponsors,” explains Coach Denson. “We’ll be doing marketing, getting the word out to the community, trying to get out in corporate America and get them to sponsor the games—doing all the leg work. We train through the summer, at night, keeping in shape. There’s no time off just because we’re not playing games. We’ve got to keep in shape, keep fired up for next year.
“I’m very excited about the next year. We fought well; the team fought really well in the championship. Arkansas beat us—we just lost that game—but I’m proud of the team.”
The Wranglers and Coach Denson will spend the summer gearing up for the next season and looking for opportunities to benefit the community. The hard work benefits both themselves and the area they choose to call home.