RUTHERFORD, N.J. – When 2011 Felician College graduate Suquan Gary (Paterson, N.J./PCTI) left the Jersey Express to join the Staten Island Vipers for his second professional season in the American Basketball Association last summer, he knew just where the Vipers could turn for additional talent.
Gary's former Golden Falcon teammates, Antoine Obery (Roselle, N.J./Abraham Clark) and Anthony Green (Jersey City, N.J./Snyder), had just graduated from Felician shortly after completing four-year collegiate careers. Obery was a swingman who earned all-region honors and had become Felician's all-time leading rebounder, while Green was a shooting guard who ranks among the Golden Falcons' career leaders in three-point field goals.
Gary made sure both players knew about an upcoming Vipers tryout. It worked out for both, and all three are now part of Staten Island's 12-man roster that competes in the ABA's Northeast Conference.
"Since I was a kid playing ball in Jersey City, this is what I wanted to do," said Green, who is averaging just over 11 points per game. "Eventually I'd like to get into coaching, but I don't feel like my legs and my shot have given up on me yet. The ABA is all about exposure, and I hope I can convert it into an overseas offer."
The ABA is an offshoot of the original American Basketball Association that merged with the NBA in 1976. The current ABA is the largest professional sports league in the United States, with the Staten Island franchise joining in 2011.
Obery also has "overseas dreams," his term for his hopes of playing professionally in a foreign country. He also has a tryout set up in June with the National Basketball Development League. But for now, he is making the most of his chance with the Vipers. In the season's early stages, he was averaging 27 points and 14 rebounds while shooting 70 percent from the floor.
"I'm starting to understand the ins and outs of pro ball," Obery said. "This is a great opportunity which has kept me relevant and in shape, and it's been fun getting to play with my friends."
The ABA combines NCAA, FIBA, and NBA rules, with the goal of bringing its fans a fast-paced, fan-friendly game. The Vipers play their home games at St. John Villa Academy. They are 1-3 this season, and will host the Philadelphia Knights on March 5.
As for Gary, the man who brought the Felician trio together, he owns his own business in northern New Jersey and is perfectly content using the ABA for his "hoop dreams."
"The Vipers gave me another fresh start," he said. "Playing with my teammates from college has made this an exciting time for me."
Green and Obery become the eighth and ninth former Felician men's basketball players to sign professional contracts. See http://www.felicianathletics.com/sports/mbkb/archive/pros for the complete list.