CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - A former NBA athlete is starting a professional basketball team in Carbondale, and is also leading an effort to expand a program that offers youth sports to the community.
The professional team team will be known as the "Southern Illinois Pharaohs," and will play in the relatively new North American Basketball League.
The league is entering it's third season and consists of 18 teams based in various cities, including Dallas, Austin and Atlanta.
Carbondale High School graduate and former NBA player Justin Dentmon recently purchased the old Carbondale High School building on North Oakland Street where he plans to headquarter the new team.
Dentmon is currently playing point guard for an international team in Turkey.
The old high school will also play host to a variety of youth sports programs such as soccer, baseball and softball.
"I think one of the things that will make this really stick is that we're a family-community-based organization," General Manager Aaron Lee said. "So we'll do a lot of community service like academics, athletics and mentoring, and any kind of way we can attract young people and give them a better opportunity to grow. That's what the building is really about."
The new youth athletics organization is called "Five Score Athletics", which will continue a successful youth basketball program in the Amateur Athletic Union that's been in operation since 2000
The Pharaoh's first season begins in April 2017.