The Houston Push, Houston’s Brand-New Minor League Hoops Team, Just Did Something Remarkable

Lamous Brown and Jay Hedgeman of the Houston Push (photo from @houstonpush on Instagram)

JUST A FEW days ago the brand-new Houston Push minor-league basketball team wrapped up its first season ever, just one win away from making the TBL conference finals. After Houston prevailing in the first game in a three-game series, Oklahoma's Enid Outlaws ultimately took the win.


This is the first time that a Houston has had a team in The Basketball League, a minor league professional basketball organization founded in 2018 with eight teams. Houston became the league's 33rd market late last year. The team is owned by three-time NBA all-star player and Houston Rockets legend Steve Francis.

The Houston Push finished off its first season with a 24-5 record, placing second overall in TBL standings, with Ruston Hayward making First Team All-Conference. Coach James White, a former NBA player in his first season of coaching, is the runner-up for Coach of the Year.

Ruston Hayward emerged as a star of the new team, making First Team All Conference (photo @iamrustonhayward on Instagram).

The Basketball League is said to offer a unique opportunity, and often a second chance, for athletes whose careers might otherwise halt at the closed gates of the NBA. One of the league's major missions is to "afford basketball players the opportunity to make a living playing the game they love, in America."

"I can't even tell you how I feel right now [because] I'm more happy I found my love for the game again and grew as a man on and off the court," said Hayward in a recent Instagram post. Hayward, emerging as an inspirational star with a knack for motivational moments, was a crucial player on the team, performing as a versatile star. He finished the season averaging 18.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.4 assist per game.

People + Places

“I WISH I came here sooner to experience this amazing city,” says advanced sommelier Rachel Van Til of her move to Houston just one year before the pandemic lockdown. When Covid appeared in 2020, along with layoffs and closings, it led to a career swerve for Van Til, a working mom who was a sommelier at Pappas Steakhouse. She took over the wine program at The Clubs at Houston Oaks, a posh (initiation fees can range into the six figures) members-only club northwest of the city with 10 lodges, 17 lakes, 900 acres and six dining options. Speaking of lots of good food and vino, the club’s 2022 Wine and Food Classic is this February 12 — it’s a great chance to taste hundreds of wines from around the world and learn about them from winemakers and professionals. “It’s our largest event of the year and it’s open to the public.” In our Q&A, Rachel dishes on her favorite date night, best wines to try this year and her brush with the me-too movement!

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HOUSTON IS HOME to hundreds of steakhouses, but the Museum District has been pretty barren of big beef — until now.

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