MONROE, La. — Semi-professional sports are returning to Monroe.

The Twin City Jazz of the American Basketball Association announced their intention to begin play this month. The Jazz, which is relocating from West Virginia, will be the first semi-pro franchise to play in Monroe since the Bayou Beast indoor football team almost 10 years ago.

The News-Star reports ( ) the Jazz plan to play 20 regular season games at the Benoit Recreation Center in a league that features teams from Lafayette, Shreveport, New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama.

Tjuan Benefactor, a Pittsburgh-based hip hop artist, is the team’s majority owner.

At a news conference Thursday, team officials said they look forward to the community’s support.

“The process has been challenging,” said part-owner Lajuana Logan about bringing the team to Monroe from a previous home in West Virginia. “We hope everyone in the community will come out and support us.”

An exhibition is planned Oct. 15 against a team from Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City. Admission is $5 but free to each military personnel and their families members with I.D.

“We want to show the city of Monroe we are here to stay,” coach Montrell Ambers said. “We will support you and we would ask that you support us.”

The team is comprised of local players such as Monroe native Xavier Lee (Carroll High School) as well as several from Richland Parish and other regions including Alabama and Vermont.

“We got some guys that can jump,” Ambers said. “Some special guys.”

For more information, such as how to join the dance team or for ticket information, visit the team on Facebook or on Twitter (@jazz_ABA).

Information from: The News-Star,

VIAThe Associated Press
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