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Fourth straight title the goal for Majic basketball team

The Gwinnett Majic’s roster was finalized this week, with mostly the same basketball team back in search of another World Basketball Association championship.

The local franchise has won the past three WBA titles under the ownership of Brandon Williams and has an impressive 36-5 record during that span. The Majic’s season opener is today at 7:30 p.m. at Bogan Park against Gastonia (N.C.).

“Still not a lot of people know about the Majic, so we’re trying to get the word out and we’re doing a lot of stuff in the community,” Majic owner Brandon Williams said. “And obviously winning the league will be a top priority as it has been the past three years. That’s always the goal and getting the new guys more looks overseas.”

The core of the Majic team continues to be Gwinnett-heavy, led by three-time reigning WBA MVP B.J. Puckett. The Dacula grad played in Japan this past season.

Former Berkmar standout Wayne Arnold, who also played last season in Japan, also returns to the roster along with fellow Berkmar grads Adrien Borders, Alex Weekes and Patrick Shokpeka. Norcross’ Reggie Anderson, Winder-Barrow’s Lyndon Jordan and East Hall’s Javon Randolph are returning from last year’s title team.

The newcomers include Collins Hill grad Antron Pippen, the son of former NBA player Scottie Pippen, Mill Creek grad Eric Jackson, J.K. Willis, Brandon O’Brien (Stone Mountain grad), East Hall’s Brody Langston and Benjamin Russell (Ala.) grad Demetrius Fleetion.

The Majic’s main two losses off last year’s squad are Shiloh’s Jonathan Mandeldove and Duluth’s Jesse Wheeler, who are both playing professionally in Peru.

“This is probably the deepest and most talented team we’ve had,” said Williams, the WBA’s general manager of the year three years running.

Williams and Steve Melnik have taken on the role of co-head coaches this season as Berkmar grad David Akin, the three-time reigning WBA coach of the year, is taking a more limited role because of his duties as an assistant coach at Milton High.

Tickets to today’s season opener are $6, but children 6-and-under are free. The game also will be a tribute to former Majic player Marcus Brown, who died in February.

Gwinnett’s other home dates, all 7:30 p.m. starts at Bogan Park, are June 16 vs. Anderson (S.C.), June 23 vs. Conyers, July 20 vs. Atlanta and July 22 vs. Rome.