The Toad Suck Lions Club has combined its signature cause, some legendary coaches, an entertaining, nationally renowned basketball team and a unique logo into what organizers hope will be a showcase event in Conway in February.
The Legends basketball game, which will match a group of local celebrities and all-stars against the Harlem Ambassadors, a traveling team similar to the Harlem Globetrotters, will be Feb. 16 at Grove Gymnasium at the Hendrix Wellness & Athletic Center.
The contest will be played on Cliff Garrison Court, which will provide legendary Hendrix coach Cliff Garrison with the chance to coach his first game on the court that bears his name.
He will also have some legendary help. Joining Garrison as coaches of the Conway team will be Don Dyer, the winningest coach in both UCA and Henderson State history, and Marvin Delph, an icon former basketball star from Conway High who went on to join Ron Brewer and Sidney Moncrief in what become known as "The Triplets," who instituted a new level of success for the Arkansas Razorback basketball program.
The game will serve as a major fundraiser for the Toad Suck Lions Club with all proceeds going to helping programs for the blind and visually impaired.
The Ambassadors, who emphasize a fast-moving style of basketball and comedy, set themselves apart from the Globetrotters in that they only put on shows for local non-profit or service organizations and civic clubs. They have two national touring teams and always play against a local group instead of a setup team that travels with them.
In combining local flavor with the icon of the organization, the local club has devised a logo that combines a lion’s face and tail with the body of a toad. They hope to use the logo in seeking corporate sponsorships.
"It should be not only an evening of good basketball but also good entertainment," said Lions Club member Jim Davidson, one of the organizers. "It’s really a show and for a good cause, the major one that Lions Clubs stand for. And it will give local fans a chance to see Hendrix’s facility. Many may have passed it on Harkrider and not realized what a quality facility it is."
Tryouts for the local team will be Dec. 17 at Reddin Fieldhouse at Central Baptist College.
Davidson expects the local team to have 15 players, "10 skill players and five ‘fun’ players."