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Local attorney starts sports agency with help from basketball star Ernie DiGregorio

Cheryl Meyers Buth enjoys her job working in the criminal courts of Western New York, but she plans to start spending a lot more time around basketball courts.

Buth, one of the region’s top criminal defense attorneys for the past 22 years, has begun a new business venture as an agent for professional basketball players.

She launched her new company, R1 Sports Mgnt., this week with help from former National Basketball Association and Buffalo Braves star Ernie DiGregorio, who is working for the new firm as a consultant.

Buth, 48, plans to continue working as a criminal and personal injury attorney based in Orchard Park, but she said her love of basketball inspired her to become a sports agent.

“I have loved basketball since I played in high school with Mount Mercy Academy. My husband, Neil, and I love to travel to other cities to watch NBA basketball,” Buth told The Buffalo News. “I think the fact that I am an attorney and an accredited sports agent is a big asset. I can help players and coaches negotiate contracts, and I can also do legal reviews of contracts, for my own clients and for other agents.”

During a Monday press conference at Chef’s Restaurant in downtown Buffalo, she and DiGregorio talked about the agency’s first client – Trahson Burrell, 23, who grew up in Albany and just completed his collegiate career as a starting guard and forward with the University of Memphis team in Tennessee.

“Trahson has unbelievable speed, excellent jumping ability and I think he can play point guard in the NBA,” said DiGregorio, who starred for Providence College and for the old Buffalo Braves NBA team during the early 1970s. “He’s a definite diamond in the rough ... We have no doubt he will be a professional basketball player.”

He said former NBA star Damon Stoudamire, an assistant coach at Memphis, described Burrell as having the most raw talent of anyone on the team. Burrell averaged 10 points and six rebounds a game for the team this past season.

Buth’s small new agency will not be able to compete with the biggest sports agencies for the most famous college stars, but DiGregorio said he believes the agency can find a niche by helping players like Burrell, who are talented but not widely known.

He said the recent successes of the teams at the University at Buffalo, St. Bonaventure University and other local Division I schools could help Buth’s agency sign clients with local basketball connections.

Buth has won several prestigious awards for her legal work, including Lawyer of the Year in 2014 from the Women Lawyers of Western New York, the 2013 Judge Dolores Denman Award from the New York State Women’s Bar Association and the 2013 Criminal Justice Act Award from the Federal Judges of the Western District of New York.