Owens to make pro hoops debut in N.Y.

The streaking Adirondack Wildcats charged home from Florida on Thursday night after a 110-106 victory over the Sea Dragons, bringing a Northern Conference-leading 4-1 record home to Glen Falls, N.Y., for the first home game in the expansion team's history. But that's not the reason the Wildcats are expected to pack the Glen Falls Civic Center on Friday for their home opener. The reason goes by the name of Terrell Owens.

Owens, the 49ers' All-Pro receiver, will make his professional basketball debut on Friday when the Wildcats host the Brooklyn Kings in a United States Basketball League game to begin a six-game homestand.

Where Owens fits in with the high-scoring Wildcats lineup remains to be seen. But he'll be the star attraction on opening night, even if six of his new teammates are averaging in double figures.

Owens says he expect to play with the Adirondack team throughout May and June. The Wildcats have 17 games between now and June 3, when Owens is required to be back with the Niners for a full-squad minicamp that begins that day. The USBL season runs through June 23.

Owens is playing in the USBL without the 49ers' blessing, but the team is doing nothing to prevent its most volatile star player from experimenting with the sport he loves even more than football.

"I'm not in basketball shape, but as I get in shape, I think my game will get better," Owens said. "I don't think there will be any conflicts. I've already talked to the GM and they're going to work with my schedule. They already told me I could come and go as (it) fits. It won't conflict with football."

Adirondack general manager Mike Sweet is just happy to have a marquee name such as Owens on his team. He'll let coach Mike Sanders worry about where Owens fits in on the court.

"We are thrilled to have Owens," Sweet said. "(He's) a world-class athlete that played basketball as well as football in college. He is a proven winner that we hope will lead us to a USBL championship this year."

Owens, who played three years of college basketball at Tennessee-Chattanooga, said, "I just got to go and figure out where I fit in and try to learn the system as much as I can. The USBL, it's competitive because everyone is trying to reach that goal of reaching the NBA. I just got to go in there and find my niche and get myself in shape, (then) I'll be all right."



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