Team Name: Dallas Strikers
Celebrity Owner: Terrell Owens
Franchise Player: Norm Duke
The draft lottery awarded Norm Duke the first pick in the inaugural PBA League Draft, and he used it to select Rhino Page. The two of them then worked together to fill out their roster of five, plus a supplemental pick. Here's a look at each member of the Dallas Strikers.
1. Norm Duke
What more can a team ask for in a franchise player? Norm Duke has 37 PBA Tour titles to his name, seven of which are majors and three of which came as recently as last season, despite being a couple years short of PBA50 eligibility. One of his three titles last season came in the Detroit Open, held at Thunderbowl Lanes, the very house that will host the PBA League competition.
A two-time PBA Player of the Year and a 2009 inductee into the Hall of Fame, Duke performs his best when under pressure. No one is likely to question his ability on the lanes, but we'll all be looking to see whether he has another talent: picking a winning team.
2. Rhino Page
The first overall pick of the draft, Rhino Page, is drawing comparisons to professional golfer Rickie Fowler due to Page's predominantly orange attire. But why do people notice Page's clothes? Because he's bowling in big situations. After winning the Rookie of the Year Award during the 2007-2008 season, Page nearly dropped completely out of view of bowling fans. In fact, the only reason he was able to bowl on Tour last season was through a special exemption, as he wouldn't have qualified otherwise.
This season, exemptions don't exist, but if they did, Page would've easily made the cut. Last year was somewhat of a resurgence for Page, and he doesn't look to be slowing down at all. Although some say Page was a surprising choice for Duke's top pick, it makes perfect sense to plenty of others, particularly Norm Duke.
3. Amleto Monacelli
Apparently not content with just one Hall of Famer (himself), Duke selected Amleto Monacelli in the second round with the 16th overall pick. Monacelli, now competing on both the PBA Tour and PBA50 Tour (on which he won the 2012 Senior U.S. Open and the PBA50 Rookie of the Year Award), holds 19 career PBA Tour titles and two Player of the Year Awards.
Duke is counting on Monacelli for his experience and ability to win the big matches.
4. Bryon Smith
Bryon Smith was selected in the third round, 17th overall (right after Monacelli, per the format of the serpentine draft). Smith, who hasn't been touring full-time over the past few years, was most recently seen by bowling fans on the TV finals of last year's USBC Masters, where he finished third.
Although Smith only holds one title, which sounds paltry in comparison to Monacelli's 19 and Duke's 37, that title was a major, the 2003 USBC Masters. Duke will be looking for consistency out of Smith, all the while knowing Smith tends to show up when it counts.
5. Mike Machuga
Duke's fourth-round pick, 32nd overall (and the last pick of the draft prior to the supplemental round), was Mike Machuga. During the World Series of Bowling, Machuga didn't make any TV finals but he did throw a lot of good games during qualifying, usually in the same block. Duke undoubtedly saw that and knows he can use a reliable bowler like Machuga during league play.
6. Mike Wolfe
The first overall pick of the supplemental draft, Mike Wolfe, will bowl for the Strikers if any of the bowlers on the main roster are unable to participate due to injury. Wolfe had a successful World Series of Bowling, qualifying as the top seed in the TV finals of the Cheetah Championship, and Duke is glad to have a reliable bowler ready to come in and perform if necessary.