Basketball at The Drew League is always a inclusive celebration of the game, with top pros mingling with local hoops heroes, European-based players, college ballers and more.
It might not ever quite capture the imagination of roundball fans across the nation like it did during the 2011 NBA lockout, but there is still always plenty of excitement to be had in this competition.
Here is a taste of last week's action for the uninitiated:
Here are the scores from Week 11 at The Drew.
|Drew League Week 11 Final Scores|
|Date||Time (PT)||Team 1||Team 2||Final Score|
|July 26||10 a.m.||Hard Times||APNG||APNG 90-73 Hard Times|
|July 26||11:15 a.m.||Citi Team Blazers||Hank's Spiders||Blazers 90-67 Spiders|
|July 26||12:30 p.m.||Robin Hood Project||Hank's Cheaters 2||HC2 84-69 RHP|
|July 26||2 p.m.||C.A.B.C.||The Clozers||The Clozers 99-88 CABC|
|July 26||3:15 p.m.||NWA||Salvatori's Nova Stars||Nova Stars 86-77 NWA|
|July 26||4:30 p.m.||Soleclinics||Salvatori's No Shnacks||No Shnacks 98-94 Soleclinics|
|July 26||6 p.m.||Hank's Houdini's All-Stars||#Juglife||No contest (#Juglife didn't show up)|
|July 27||10 a.m.||Sky Ryse||Stingrays||Sky Ryse 83-71 Stingrays|
|July 27||11:15 a.m.||LA Loop||M.H.P.||M.H.P. 79-70 La Loop|
|July 27||12:30 p.m.||La Familia||Cheaters||Cheaters 78-73 La Familia|
|July 27||2 p.m.||Tradition||Hank's New Image||Tradition 82-79 Hank's New Image|
|July 27||3:15 p.m.||Jaguars||Problems||Problems 96-86 Jaguars|
|July 27||4:30 p.m.||Hank's Panthers||C.O.A.||C.O.A. 77-51 Hank's Panthers|
|July 27||6 p.m.||Kings of LA||Hank's Bulldogs||Hank's Bulldogs 82-76 Kings of LA|
This weekend marks the last full slate of games, as the league's playoffs begin next week. APNG kicked things off with a dominant 90-73 win in the league's brunch-time game.
The Citi Team Blazers eviscerated Hank's Spiders 90-67 in Saturday's second game. No surprise there, as the Blazers are the defending champions and a lock for a playoff spot.
In a testament to the glorious spirit of a pro-am competition, a big crossover sports star made his way onto the court for Robin Hood Project, per The Drew:
Whatever hardwood abilities Terrell Owens' possesses couldn't save Robin Hood Project from a resounding defeat at the hands of Hank's Cheaters 2.
It's worth mentioning that some of the biggest highlights for young fans take place off the court. Toronto Raptors star DeMar DeRozan stopped by The Drew to pow-wow with some local kids, per the league's Twitter account:
Law Murray, who writes for DrewLeague.com, noted that NBAers Brandon Jennings and Austin Daye made their way to The Drew for The Clozers' matchup with C.A.B.C.:
Jennings had fans wondering if he could come up with another 50-plus-point performance, but he settled instead for 33 points and a victory.
Perhaps the day's greatest performance belonged to Sango Niang, who helped Salvatori's No Shnacks reach the playoffs by defeating James Harden and the Soleclinics 98-94. Due to the The Drew's interesting playoff structure, No Schnacks needed to win by at least four points in order to clinch a postseason berth. The Drew gave the updates after the game:
To cap off the day's craziness, #Juglife failed to show up for its game against Hank's Houdini's All-Stars, per Murray:
Sunday's action fostered the regular-season finale for the teams involved, featuring a number of big names taking to the hardwood. To start things off, Sky Ryse pulled away from the Stingrays for an 83-71 victory.
The Drew League's official Twitter account highlighted the strong form shown by former Long Beach State player Mark Dawson, who had a double-double to lead the winning charge:
Nate Jones of Goodwin Sports Management offered his Drew League analysis within a related context:
But then, one particular NBA star came to shine against a local team. L.A. Local was seeking to knock off Los Angeles Lakers swingman Nick Young and M.H.P. That was rendered impossible when "Swaggy P" got hot and went on a scoring rampage.
Never shy to shoot even in the Association, Young had the perpetual green light, capitalizing with 26 points to spark M.H.P. to a 79-70 triumph. There was an even better performer for M.H.P., though:
Johnny Navarrette of OCRegister.com referenced one electric play Young made in the game, and also documented what Young had to say afterwards about his future in LA alongside superstar Kobe Bryant:
Former NBA All-Star point guard Baron Davis was part of a Cheaters squad that fought to a 78-73 win over La Familia, which featured a slew of professional talent:
That made the win all the more impressive; Davis certainly felt proud of it:
The trend of Sunday's outcomes getting tighter as they went continued when Hank's New Image fell just short in losing to Tradition 82-79. It was some small consolation for Tradition, who finished their season with a 5-6 mark.
Problems had no problem defeating the Jaguars by a score of 96-86. That was largely thanks to point guard Bobby Brown, the 2012-13 scoring champion in the Euroleague as a member of Italy's Montepaschi Siena.
Brown played string music in netting 37 points while also dishing out six assists. This was a significant victory for the playoff picture as well, per the Drew League's official Twitter account:
A woeful display from the charity stripe doomed the Jaguars:
The penultimate showdown pitted Hank's Panthers against C.O.A., with the latter coming out on top by a massive margin, 77-51. That turned out to be a lopsided interlude that didn't serve as a precursor to the excellent ending, where the Bulldogs knocked off the Kings of LA 82-76.
Sunday saw the conclusion of the Drew League regular season, with the playoffs slated to begin this next Friday. The league features a nice mix of current and past pros, along with other lesser-known players coming out with something to prove. Such a dynamic strikes a unique competitive balance, boding well for the Drew League's future as it perpetually gains more attention.
Now that the postseason is set to begin, the competitiveness should kick up a notch. Perhaps the pros will put forth even stronger efforts and try to battle for a title, keeping themselves at least somewhat sharp in a game situation before training camps begin.
However, this league helps build relationships—a concept promoted on the official website—and the camaraderie that can develop through team sports is something anyone involved can appreciate. It has helped this league carry on for decades, and will be on continual display as the title is contested for.