Goodbye Oklahoma Tatanka.
Hello Oklahoma Warriors.
After a week of uncertainty and a weekend where all appeared dead in the saga of women’s minor league basketball landing in Muskogee, the original 12 players from the Oklahoma Tatanka are now the Oklahoma Warriors.
The players will be the same. Their coach is the same – Gena Logan Maxwell. The difference is Otis Logan Jr. will not own the team, the players will, with a board of directors working with Civic Center manager John Cruz in a joint operation capacity.
The team will take on the schedule in the Women’s Minor League Basketball Association. Its season opener will be June 22 at Topeka, Kansas. The home opener will be July 6 against Georgia.
“We’ve got a lot of catching up to do,” said Demetria Dawson, a former Bacone Warrior who drove from her home in Morris to attend the meeting Monday involving players, coaching staff and Cruz. What followed was a practice session.
Seven of the 12 players were there, but Maxwell said all were on board – some had prior commitments on Monday and could not attend the meeting.
“The original 12 are ready to go,” she said.
The contracts were to be signed after practice and sent to the league office in Houston that would then release an official statement.
Cruz said he had a phone conversation with league president Kre’Tonia Morgan on Sunday after a series of emails concerning the situation. Morgan told the Phoenix in a text Saturday that a scheduled meeting by phone with Logan Jr. late Friday afternoon did not occur, and texted the Phoenix again on Saturday that the league was to have an emergency meeting later that day with league owners to further discuss the situation, including the sudden gap in the schedule, and that Logan Jr. would not be part of it.
Logan Jr. had indicated to the Phoenix last week he had anticipated a player revolt and claimed to have a practice squad and an arrangement to take that team to Tulsa. It never materialized; hence, the Sunday conversation between Cruz and Morgan.
The players, Maxwell and Cruz had already agreed to meet Monday to discuss options even when it appeared a deal with the WMLBA would not happen.
“They had heard (the Phoenix) reports about an issue and I understand them not communicating with another party with a contractual agreement with (Logan Jr.),” Cruz said. “They were aware that there was a problem within the team.”
Another factor helped bring this deal to fruition, Cruz said.