His dream of exploring the world is as alive as ever for Elias "Boo" Osborne.

A 2013 Centennial graduate who went on to help the Ashland men's basketball team reach the NCAA Division II tournament in 2016, Osborne "loved" playing in Germany last winter.

To add to his resume with the hope of someday returning to play overseas, Osborne is competing this winter for the Columbus Condors, who are a first-year member of a minor professional league called The Basketball League (TBL).

About half of the team's players have a connection to central Ohio and the team is coached by Darrell Miller, a Northland graduate who served as an assistant at Otterbein for a decade and has coached in other professional leagues. The Condors practice in the Linden area and play their home games at Otterbein.

Cody Ballard, a 2005 Mifflin graduate who played for Morehead State and South Carolina Aiken and then competed professionally for 10 years, is serving as general manager.

"(The commitment is) two days a week, but if you love basketball, it's another opportunity to continue to play professionally," Osborne said. "A lot of the guys are trying to play overseas. You've got to solidify yourself. It's all about moving up to try to get into the (highest division of the) Euro League. I switched agents and I'm trying to figure my way back out there, but I'm still young, only 24."

Teams in the 12-team TBL play a 24-game schedule, followed by playoffs. The Albany Patroons, whom Columbus visits on March 13, are the defending champions, while the only other team in Ohio is the Dayton Flight.

The Condors were 3-3 before visiting the Indy Express on Feb. 22. They opened the season Jan. 31, beating the Jamestown Jackals 138-109.

"This is the third year of the league and it's right under the G League, really comparable to the G League," Ballard said. "It's a really good league. We get a lot of G League players. Former NBA players and overseas players all play in this league. It's a legit league with great competition."

The Condors previously were members of the Central Basketball Association and the Premier Basketball League, according to Miller, who believes his team has found the right fit with the TBL.

According to the TBL's website, former Cleveland Cavaliers player David Magley is serving as the league's president, Carlnel Wiley Jr. is the commissioner and the players' salaries range between $1,500 and $6,500 per month.

The regular season concludes in late April and Columbus has 10 home games remaining. Tickets cost $5 to $10.

"It's very competitive," Miller said. "The problem with this league is that the teams are fragmented. We've got teams in Florida, Texas, Albany (New York), Newark (New Jersey), so there's some tough traveling involved. A lot of these guys work and a lot of the teams have way more resources than us, but we've sort of picked out our little niche and do what we do."

A.J. Davis, who helped Linden-McKinley reach a Division II state semifinal in 2005 and played for James Madison, is one of the team's top players. The 6-foot-5 forward averages more than 20 points.

Other area players include Delaware graduate Matt Bingaya, who played for Southern Mississippi and Fairmont State; former Northland and Westerville North player Jaylen Benton, who played for Youngstown State; Olentangy Orange graduate Andy Bosley, who played for Lake Erie College; and Lancaster graduate Brett McKnight, who played for Akron.

Also on the roster are Randon Dyer, a former player for the Harlem Globetrotters, as well as Devonte Beatty (Northwestern St. Paul), Todd Brown (Wright State), Richie Gordon (Western Carolina), James Hilton (West Virginia State), Trey Miller (Wooster) and Trey Smith (Findlay).

Bingaya, who helped Fairmont State reach the Division II national championship game in 2017 and has played in Luxembourg, lives in Dayton but makes the regular trip to Columbus for practices and home games.

"Last year, Albany won (the TBL title) and I'm pretty sure they got a ring and a trophy," Bingaya said. "It's everything like a pro league is supposed to be. Hopefully, we can grind it out this year, even with it being our first year in the league. I think we're pretty good. Win or lose, we'll keep grinding it out and prepare ourselves for the playoffs."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek