Ex-NBA player leads area's USBL team

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

LAKE WORTH -- The FLorida WindJammers are hoping the NCAA slam-dunk champion and a coach who was a starting center in the NBA can help them find success in a league that features such household names as Rick Barry, Darryl Dawkins and Roy Jones Jr.
    The USBL season starts Saturday with the Kansas Cagerz at Palm Beach Community College, one of nine home games the team will play at PBCC. The other four home games will be played at Palm Beach Atlantic in West Palm Beach.
   "I always wanted to get into coaching eventually, and this was an opportunity to get a foot in the door," said WindJammers coach Darren Morningstar, who played with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish as a rookie with the Boston Celtics and was the starting center for the Dallas Mavericks in 1993-94.


   Florida Atlantic graduate Gary Durrant, who jumped over television analyst Dick Vitale on his way to winning the slam-dunk contest at the NCAA Final Four in St. Petersburg, is among 15 players at the WindJammers' training camp at PBCC.   
"Being the slam-dunk champ is nice, but my ability to shoot the three-point shot is really the key," said Durrant, 24.
     "There are a lot of guys here who come from bigger schools and have pro experience in the CBA or overseas, but hopefully that won't be a factor when the final cuts are made."
    Morningstar, 30, will be matching wits with former NBA stars like Barry, coach of the New Jersey Shore Cats, and Dawkins, coach of the Pennsylvania Valley Dawgs. Boxing champion Jones Jr. is the point guard for Gulf Coast.


"I can identify with these guys (the WindJammers). I'm not far removed from the game, and I played with and against some of them."



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