NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — Professional basketball arrived in the Tampa Bay area last year with the Tampa Bay Titans. It may soon find a long-term home at Pasco-Hernando State College.
- Tampa Bay Titans part of TBL - The Basketball League
- Team currently playing games in Tampa
- Team will play fundraiser against Raleigh Firebirds at PHSC on March 29
- More Pasco County stories
The Titans are scheduled to make their debut at Pasco-Hernando State College on March 29. They'll take on the Raleigh Firebirds in the school's "Hoops for Hope" fundraiser.
Both team and school officials confirm talks have begun about a possible long-term relationship.
“Just to be considered is an extraordinary accomplishment, as far as I’m concerned,” said PHSC President Dr. Timothy Beard.
The Titans are marking their first season as part of The Basketball League, a two-year-old organization made up of ten professional teams.
Titans Owner Bassel Harfoush said the team currently plays all of its home games in Tampa. Good relationships with PHSC officials, plus the rapid growth parts of Pasco County are seeing, are among the draws he said the team sees in the school.
“The one thing that they did indicate: Tampa certainly has a number of professional sports teams, and they just feel like we’re in the Tampa Bay region, Wesley Chapel is right down the road, you go across the street, you’re in Hillsborough County, anyway," Beard explained. "So, they figured it would be a great, great segue into a long-term relationship by having a game here at PHSC on the west campus."
Talks began about three months ago, according to Beard.
“They understand that there’s a lot of growth, particularly on the east side in Wesley Chapel, where our Porter Campus is located, and they would love to have their presence here and make their imprint here in Pasco County,” Beard said.
For now, the only place for the team to play would be the west campus’s physical fitness center, which is also the location of the fundraiser. Harfoush and Beard note there are a number of details to be worked out before any decision is made.
“First of all, my district board of trustees would have to approve a move of that nature or that stature, and, obviously, facility-wise, we want to ensure that we have the appropriate facilities to be able to house or accommodate a professional basketball team,” Beard said.
Harfoush said a decision will likely be made during the team’s off-season.
Hoops for Hope is scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $15 at tampabaytitans.com.
Proceeds benefit Moffitt Cancer Center and PHSC athletic programs. The game is also meant to increase cancer awareness.
The school is still looking for community sponsorships ahead of the game. Anyone interested can call (727) 816-3410.