Monday, July 15, 2013

Checking out the Kenner League, with brief views of Armwood, Cartagena, and White

Inside McDonough, before I was told not to take pictures
Today I headed over with a buddy to check out the Kenner League. If you're not familiar, it's a summer league, officially called the Nike Pro-City League. Basically a number of future, current and former college players from the area compete for a few weeks.

The league is fairly informal, they post the rosters right before the league starts and they don't keep stats or anything. Often players on the rosters aren't there for the games, which means sometimes they need to recruit folks from other teams to play. There are refs though and they call fouls (sometimes, they were pretty lenient.) There's more on the league here from CSN. I figure it's basically a way to get the players warmed up for the season and get them a little bit of practice. I'm not sure how much actual practicing they do though, or if they just show up for the games.

It's more formal than the Goodman League, which plays at Barry Farms in SE DC, which is more streetball with very little defense -- that's the league where Pops Mensah-Bonsu stuffed Kevin Durant the other day.

The Kenner League mostly features players from local colleges, but there are also other guys who may be from here or just wanted to play -- there were folks form Princeton, Mississippi Valley State, St. Joe's and a few other colleges, plus a lot of Georgetown, GW and Mason players with a smattering from other local-ish schools. The full rosters are here.

It's at Georgetown's Mcdonough Gymansium, which was built in 1950 and used to be their main home gym. The women's basketball team and the volleyball teams still play. Admission is free, which is nice, though they won't let you take pictures or videos, I guess so people can't scout.

We saw two games, Symonds All Stars vs DCX and Premier Athlete vs the Tombs (the teams seem to be sponsored by various businesses or people.) DCX had Isaiah Armwood and was supposed to have Kevin Larsen, but he wasn't here today (that's not unusual, like I mentioned it's pretty informal.) The Tombs had 4 GW players, but only two were there -- freshmen Skyler White and Miguel Cartagena. Patricio Garino and transfer Domonique Bull were also on the roster but not present.

None of the GW guys got a ton of time, though Armwood had the most. He looked a little rusty, and in my opinion he was getting hacked with no calls, but he made a few baskets, including a big dunk. His DCX team won by a few.

Miguel Cartagena got a fair amount of time for The Tombs (which I think I need to visit now) and played pretty well. He wasn't the first point guard, but he made some nice passes to Georgetown big (enormous) man Josh Smith, who had a beast of a game. Cartagena was also quite speedy at times and knocked down a three with his unorthodox, almost behind-the-head shot. I saw a few folks in the crowd mimicking it after he shot it.

Skyler White didn't see much time and had the ball bounce off his hands a few times, but also made a steal, had an assist or two and made a basket or two. Might be a glue-type guy. White and Cartagena's team was blowing out Premier Athlete when we left.

I didn't catch three of the other teams with GW players: Team Takeover, which features Joe McDonald and transfer Maurice (Mo) Creek, Team Oohs and Aahs (the best team name, I assume sponsored by the U Street soul food joint of the same name) which has Nemanja Mikic and Domonique Bull (so maybe Bull is on two teams) or the Bobby Maze All-Stars with John Kopriva and Kethan Savage.

Looking confused on purpose
In general though, it was a pretty fun time -- getting out of the heat and watching some basketball. I noticed a couple folks in GW gear, but mostly it seemed to be Georgetown fans with bored significant others and/or their kids.

The gym is charming and old-school, and also has a lot of Gtown's trophies and framed jerseys of NBA players who went to the school, something I think GW should do. One case had the 1984 national championship trophy, a championship ring, a ball, the net and a plaque with John Thompson's picture on it. It was sort of amusingly forlorn though: there was a laminated piece of paper with some info on Thompson taped to his plaque, and the team photo had fallen over so you could only see it from underneath. Just a national title, no big deal. And I wore one of the shirts I designed -- if you want one, go here!

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