Awhile ago I wrote about The-BALL, or the Basketball Alumni Legends League, a new small league where well-known college hoops alums from local schools play against similar teams from other places. They played at the Smith Center last year for an exhibition game, and they'll be back there this year.
This year's DC Dobermans team has 5 GW alums (Pops Mensah-Bonsu, JR Pinnock, Chris Monroe, Tony Taylor and Mike Hall, who said the other day on Facebook he's on the team too) plus some folks from GMU like Jai Lewis and some from American and another college located between Foggy Bottom and the Mt. Vernon Campus.
The first game is tomorrow (Saturday) at 7 pm against the Maryland alumni team, with people like James Gilchrist and others.
There are 4 games total, this is the first, and they also play August 1, 3 and 5 against North Carolina, Virginia and Philly respectively.
It'll be pretty awesome to see some of the stars from a few years ago against some of other former local players -- we've seen a lot of them, but some not for a few years.
There are a number of different quirky rule changes (they call them "innovations") too, like a 4-point shot from farther out, single free throws for 2, 3 or 4 points, an automatic and-one point with no free throw, no zone defenses, no foul-outs, on-the-fly subs, fewer traveling calls, and honestly a whole lot more.
This is still sort of a test phase, there's going to be a handful of games this year then a full schedule in 2014.
A few months ago I wrote about how awesome the design for the court at the Smith Center was -- there's a subtle image of the Washington Monument, White House and Capitol, and a bunch of media and sports types agreed.
Now, GW has unveiled it in this cool stop-motion video with players from the men's and women's basketball and volleyball teams interacting with it.
It's still called the Tex Silverman Court, if anybody was worried, and now Tex has a fancy signature on it. Tex, as you may recall, was a former GW basketball star, member of the GW Athletics Hall of Fame, and donor to the university. He was drafted by the Rochester Royals of the NBA in 1953, but then was drafted by the US Army. Here's more on him from GW.
Pretty awesome, and well done GW.
Here's the Twitter chatter from when it was first announced in May!
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.
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!
Even though we've graduated, we are all Colonials for life. Let's continue to raise high the buff & blue and show our support for our teams during the next basketball season from the best available seats in the Young Alumni section. We're proud to bring this opportunity to the Class of 2013 thanks to the support GW's Department of Athletics.
You know, no big deal. Pops, Kevin and more are in town for the Goodman League, a DC streetball league. Here's him blocking Durant, a PG County native.
I first saw the video on Hoopsfix, a British basketball blog.
The King Whale Killer last played for Emporio Armani Milano in Italy, also known as Olimpia Milano. I think their season is over now. Would be cool if this kind of exposure gets the big man back to the NBA.
He's been having a very successful European career since GW, and also spent a few seasons in the NBA with the Mavs, Raptors, Rockets, Spurs and Hornets and the D-League. As you may recall, he was pretty popular with the Raptors -- some Youtubers nicknamed him the Hero of Toronto and made an awesome video:
For one, they have a video about the the six here, with coach Mike Lonergan talking about them. Maybe we should starting calling them the Big Six, or something catchier than that?
In short, Bull transferred from Missouri, Creek came from Indiana (where he graduated) and McCoy transferred from Manhattan. Creek, a 6'5" guard, was the highest scoring freshman in the country in 2009-2010. Bull is a 6'4" guard and McCoy is a 6'9" forward. It seems that Creek has one year left while McCoy has 2 and Bull has 3, so that's good!
So how about the freshmen? Griffin is a 6'2" guard from Maryland and was named the 72nd best shooting guard in the country by ESPN. Cartagena is a 6'1" guard and played with Pato Garino at Monteverde Academy in Florida, and was rated the 164th best guard by ESPN. White is a shooting and 6'8" forward from Northfield-Mount Hermon Academy, which won this year's national prep championship. He was nominated for the McDonald's All America honors.
All in all, this sounds pretty great. Also nice to see the transfers with a few years left. Here's Domonique Bull dancing, which is kind of how I feel.
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