The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


For the love of the Game: A Look into the North Dallas Vandals


They are slashers, dunkers, blockers and rain-makers. They are young and old, powerful and competitive. They are the North Dallas Vandals and every Sunday night, along with a handful of their devoted fans, they bring life to Addison’s Alfred J. Loos Fieldhouse.

For just $10, fans can grab a ticket at the front door and choose from any seat in the house, as they gather to watch the team play in an action packed, high scoring, dunk-fest-style game. The players can also be found practicing two nights a week at either the Jewish Community Center in Dallas, or at the Campbell Green Recreational Center in Addison.

As part of the American Basketball Association (ABA), the North Dallas Vandals are a semi-pro team that serves as a temporary home to athletes hoping to go pro. Each year, ABA teams across the nation sign players from top ranked Division I basketball programs, as well as professional teams around the globe. However, not all ABA teams see success nor do all players get the golden ticket to the NBA.

Vandals’ shooting guard Ty Thomas, who played at Concordia University, joined the team midway through this season when his time with a professional team in Mexico ended. Thomas is grateful not only for his spot on the Vandals sidelines, but for the team’s owner and general manager, Casey Topletz.

“It’s good to get with a guy like Casey who tells it like it is and doesn’t promise more than he can give you,” Thomas said.

During his early days within the ABA league, Topletz worked with the Dallas Generals. When the team folded after the third game of the season, he realized that he wanted to own a team. The Vandals, founded by Topletz in 2010, are now in their second season.

“I decided that instead of working for somebody else and having them drop the ball, I would create my own team and do things the right way,” Topletz said. Aside from running the Vandals franchise, the 29-year-old sports lover works full-time as a youth soccer coach at the local academy he started called Studio Brasil. Topletz coaches about 70 kids, age’s four to seven, at the academy.

Thanks to the ABA and teams like the North Dallas Vandals, talented basketball players are given a chance to play when things don’t always work out as planned. But for players, coaches and owners, working with the ABA is not hitting the lottery. For each practice, players are paid $10 (the price of one game ticket), and for each game, $20. What do players do with the whopping $60 they make every two weeks?

Keep their day jobs.

For example, when former Harlem Globetrotter and University of Kansas Jayhawk, Bryant Nash, is not on the court with the Vandals, he works full-time at a beer distributing company in Dallas. He also coaches basketball at Parish Episcopal School.

Casey Topletz funds the franchise out of his own pocket and says he does it for the love of the game.

“If I do my job right, the players will only play for me for one season and then they’re off to bigger and better things,” Topletz said.

Although the odds of signing with a pro team are not high, players such as Nash and Thomas, who have had experience playing professionally overseas, appreciate the opportunity they have with the Vandals. The players are able to get game footage and stay in game-ready shape in case they get the call.

While playing with the Vandals is a good opportunity, the experience of being in a transitional league isn’t always sunshine and daisies. Earl Rabb left Midwestern State early to get a head start in the world of professional basketball, but he had no idea how hard it would be to continue to fight for his dream.

“I wish I could go back (to playing college basketball),” Rabb said. “I really do.”

As people all over the world dream of becoming professional athletes – to be idolized and live luxuriously – Rabb, Thomas and Nash find themselves playing for their hearts, hoping someday to be playing for their living.

This season, the Vandals currently sit at the 11 place spot in the ABA power rankings, just one place below the team’s state rivals, the San Antonio Texas Fuel. More information about game times and locations can be found at

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