Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2003, 12:00 am

Cedar Rapids pro team signs ex-Hawkeye Oliver

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CEDAR RAPIDS (AP) -- If nothing else, the new Cedar Rapids franchise in the United States Basketball League is getting started with a familiar name.

Former Iowa point guard Dean Oliver has committed to play for the team, the Cedar Rapids River Raiders. The team will make its debut next spring.

``I feel this legitimizes us in peoples' minds in this community,'' River Raiders coach Dave Joerger said. ``This shows we're very serious about winning and putting a great product on the floor.''

Oliver, a four-year starter at Iowa from 1997-2001, played in 35 games with the NBA's Golden State Warriors the past two seasons. He is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon in his left heel, an injury suffered in a Prime Time League game in North Liberty on June 30.

USBL teams play a 30-game season from mid-April to late June. The River Raiders will play their 15 home games at the U.S. Cellular Center.