ABA suspends Mega Force owner Williams
Hawaii Mega Force owner Orrys Williams has been suspended by the American Basketball Association for not meeting league requirements, league chairman Joe Newman said yesterday.
Newman specifically pointed to the team not making a scheduled 10-game road trip that was supposed to have started last week as a reason for the suspension, but indicated there were other issues that led to the sanction.
"He is suspended for failure to meet any of the league requirements. Not some of them, or a few of them, all of them," Newman said.
"He promised that he'd have his team on the mainland to play. We adjusted schedules for him. It didn't happen."
Williams did not return messages left for him
late last week and could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The Mega Force had the opener of its inaugural ABA season pushed back several times before playing two games against Beijing Aoshen Olympian on Dec. 2 and 3 on the Brigham Young-Hawaii campus in Laie. Hawaii lost both games.
The team was then scheduled to fly to Seattle last week to begin its first road trip of the season. Hawaii players contacted said they've had their bags packed since last Tuesday, only to have the trip repeatedly postponed.
Guard Jamillian Momon said he has been in daily contact with Williams and said the owner continues to try to keep the franchise going.
Momon said Williams is still pursuing potential sponsors.
"He's definitely trying to make everything work," Momon said. "As rocky as it's been, the one thing I can say is he's putting all of his effort and energy into it."
Newman said Williams had given league officials assurances that he would have an airline provide reduced-cost transportation for teams traveling to and from Hawaii when the team entered the league.
"I've had to fill in games between teams ... to limit the damage he did without so much as an answered e-mail or an answered telephone call," said Newman, who added that his son was stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii-Kaneohe Bay for five years.
"I wanted to have a team over there. ... We are very familiar with the area. We've had great response from the military bases and that team should have been a model team in a model city."
Mega Force coach George Gilmore hasn't been involved in the team's administrative issues with his role limited to leading the team on the court. He isn't under contract with the team and agreed to coach simply to help the players get professional experience.
"You've got some guys just hanging around and they want things to work, so they're going to wait until something happens. And you've got some guys who are just angry," Gilmore said.
"(Williams) just got himself in a bind. He knew he had these guys here and he was trying to make something happen and it just didn't. The last time I talked to him two days ago he was still trying to get things working."
Forward Chris Moore is among a group of four mainland players who have left the team or are planning to return home after not being paid by the team.
He said the players from the mainland also had a verbal agreement with Williams to be reimbursed for travel expenses incurred in moving to Hawaii.
"He's seriously lost the confidence of the team," Moore said.
"Guys are upset with the situation because they have no way back home right now. They have no money, they have no plane ticket.
"Who's going to continue to play for him without being paid? We're trying to get to the mainland so we can get home for Christmas with our families."