The Utah Eagles, Utah's new CBA basketball team, took two steps forward at a press conference on Thursday by announcing new additions to the team.
The first addition was welcoming a familiar name, known both locally and around the NBA as one of the all-time greatest coaches and characters of the game: Frank Layden.
Layden was named honorary assistant coach of the Eagles Thursday. And even though Layden won't be seen on the bench night-in and night-out, he will give advice when asked for it. He spoke unscripted about his love for the game of basketball and what his involvement with the Eagles will be.
"I love the game of basketball, basketball is my life," Layden said. "Sometimes it's important to have a different set of eyes when you're looking at things. This staff is more than capable of handling the situation, but I'll be there as an extra set of eyes, and I'll give my thoughts when they ask me to. And I get free tickets and good seats!"
Layden also noted his interest in the development of basketball in the states and the previous lack of a sturdy, league-sanctioned minor league system for the NBA.
"They need one to develop these young players," he said. "A lot of guys slip through the cracks because they don't have a place to develop the necessary skills to make it to the next level."
Bringing Layden aboard is another positive for the Eagles, a franchise striving to reach out to the Utah community as another form of professional basketball and family entertainment.
Along with Layden, the Eagles signed their first player to a contract. Mike Hall, the 6-foot-3 guard and former BYU cougar, inked a deal, making him the first to officially hold up an Eagles' jersey. The Eagles were thrilled to bring him aboard, stating his impressive play on the court matches the quality citizen he is off the court, something the Eagles are taking serious.
UTAH EAGLE NOTES: Tryouts for the "Eagleettes," the dancers for the Eagles, will be Saturday. Information can be found at the team's Web site, www.utaheagles.com.