Nike Pro City
I’m sitting in the office as the day is winding down and I get the good news that the number two drafted player in the 2008 NBA, Michael Beasley is supposed to be playing at Nike Pro City at Hunter College (68th and Lexington Ave.). Then I found out that his buddy, former Syracuse star and Houston Rocket Rookie, Donte Greene will be accompanying him.
When I get to Pro City it is already packed and the 6:30 game between the X-Men and Queensbridge hasn’t even started. Both teams are 3-3 and a loss eliminates either one. Once play got underway QB was awarded an 11-0 lead and play was picked up at the start of the second quarter because X-Men didn’t have enough players to start the game.
Despite their deficit to begin the contest the X-Men found their rhythm early and cut into the QB lead behind the play of Rashad Bell. Bell scored almost at will, getting into the lane for easy buckets. QB maintained a slim lead and led by just five at halftime, 37-32.
The X-Men went on a run early in the second half and took a 48-41 lead but the lead would be short lived. Darryl “Showtime” Hill used his quick handle to get out in the open floor and to the rack for easy buckets. With the score tied at 78-78 late in the fourth quarter, Showtime struck again. He scored eight of QB’s final 15 points, as they closed the game on a 15-7 run to win 93-85 and secure a spot in next week’s playoffs.
Showtime led all scorers with 29 points, while Ron Artest and Ira Miller added 20 and 12 respectively. Mike “The Icon” Campbell scored 22 points for X-Men and Rashad Bell added 20 for the losing X-Men squad.
Showtime after his 29 point performance. Photo: Kyle Henry.
The gym at Hunter College got so crowded that the bleachers on both sides had to be pulled out. When Gold’s Gym and defending champions N.I.K.E. 1 suited up for their 8:30 showdown, Michael Beasley and Donte Greene were sporting Gold unis. Even with a loaded squad that featured the previously mentioned players as well as Smush Parker, Derrick Caracter, Marko Jaric of the Memphis Grizzlies, Omar Cook and others, N.I.K.E 1 raced out to an early lead. Playground legend Junie Sanders showed why he is considered one of the best hitting a couple deep three-pointers and showing flashes of his old self with some drives to the rack.
N.I.K.E 1 dominated the first half and led by as many as 18 points. They maintained their aggressive style of play and led Gold’s 63-46 at the half. Beasley had just five points in the first half and was hearing it from the crowd. He was getting heckled even by the N.I.K.E. 1 head coach who kept calling him a “bum.” Nike Pro City lesson 101, never talk trash to a pro (See Artest .vs. Strickland). During the third quarter Beasley got it going. He scored every way imaginable, pull up jumpers, fade-aways and a couple dunks. Beasley’s scoring explosion coupled with a few questionable calls resulted in a 93-86 Gold’s Gym lead after three quarters of play. When the quarter was through, Beasley had scored 21 in the third and had a total of 26 points.
Gold’s momentum from a strong third quarter carried over into the fourth. Gold’s expanded their lead to double digits and cruised to a 126-11 victory, eliminating the defending champs from playoff contention. Midway through the final stanza, Donte Greene was informed that he would be a part of a deal that would send him to the Sacramento Kings. Also a part of the deal was Ron Artest who played earlier but had already left the building. Imaging starting your night as a Houston Rocket and midway through a game, you find out you’ve been traded?
Junie Sanders led N.I.K.E. 1 with 29 points and Tyrone Grant, Garnett Thompson and Darren “Primal Fear” Phillip each added 18. Beasley tallied a game-high 39 points, while Smush Parker added 26, including a 5-for-9 performance from behind the arc. Former Christ the King star Omar Cook added 13 points and seven assists, with zero turnovers for the winners.
Thursday at Pro City the Uptowners take on Prime Time in the 6:30 game and United Brooklyn battles Dyckman at 8:30 for the final playoff spot.
Fans who left after a sluggish first few minutes of play missed what turned out to be a good one Tuesday night at West 4th St. (3rd St., 6th Ave), with Money Inc. edging Jimmy’s All-Stars 80-76.
Money Inc. started the game on a 15-2 run, as J.A.S. seemed to be sleepwalking on both ends, missing lay-ups and playing very little defense. At the end of the first quarter, Money Inc. led 24-9.
J.A.S. cut the deficit to one point in the fourth by knocking down free throws. But turnovers and an inability to get stops plagued J.A.S. down the stretch.
David “Bear” Torres, who dropped a game-high 25 points, and Kimani Blaize, who sank five treys and finished with 22, led the way for Money Inc., who improved to 4-2.
Wednesday night at West 4th promises to be a good one as Smush Parker’s Macy’s team is scheduled to take on Sundiata Gaines’ Young Money Train. Tip off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m., but I’ll be there to claim my spot along the fence at 5:45.
Former Providence College standout Sheiku “Sickle” Kabba scored 21 of his game high 32 points in the first half to lead Bowen Basketball to a 85-81 victory over Diamond. Ernesto Giscombe scored 22 and Sean “Murda” Simpson had 16 for the losers. Both teams are now 3-3 in the competitive Pro B Division of Tri-State.
Former Manhattan College star Von Damien “Mugsy” Green has been playing overseas now for 5 years. He lives in Paris and owns a sports agency company called 24 Sec Sports Agency. He has placed women and men on overseas clubs in Europe… The back-to-back same day game factor of summer league basketball isn’t taken into account by fans but coaches around the city realize the need for deep teams. Coming from tough games and suiting up in Tri-State is tough because it is not a running time tournament. With the clock stopping on each whistle, players who are out of shape have no legs and no finishing ability. Bowen Basketball almost lost the game because of that.
Contributors: Trevor Kapp, Sean Couch