HoopsHype Drew League rumors

August 22, 2011 Updates

Though plans are far from definitive, Drew League officials intend to meet with Kobe Bryant's representatives Wednesday to discuss a possible appearance in a proposed exhibition game in Los Angeles on Sept. 10 between the Drew League and Goodman League. That's according to Fred Smith, a longtime television cameraman and producer who helped the Drew League organize an exhibition game this past weekend between the two teams at Washington, D.C.'s Trinity University. "We only have three weeks and I think it’s going to be challenging, honestly," Smith said. "But we’ll see what we can do." Los Angeles Times

Early in the third quarter of his team’s 135-134 victory over the Los Angeles-based Drew League, Goodman League commissioner Miles Rawls looked down at the opponent to his right and said, “It’s a long flight to L.A. with an ‘L’ on the chest.” The words elicited laughter from the crowd but seemed to fire up the players from the left coast as they immediately overcame a double-digit deficit to eventually take the lead as James Harden drove and dunked and Brandon Jennings, scored, flipped on his back and later danced. The visitors silenced the stunned overflow crowd until Wizards point guard John Wall and District native Kevin Durant brought back the Goodman League -- Wall with his quick feet and nifty passes; Durant with his high-flying dunks -- and set up a thrilling finish. Washington Post

The intensity for a supposed summer league exhibition perhaps exceeded what many of the participants had expected, but also spoke to the pride that was at stake for players who earn their reputations on the asphalt at Barry Farm or the indoor gym that Washington Park. Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins used his big body to pound Wizards center JaVale McGee on back-to-back dunks in the first half, local street ball legend Hugh “Baby Shaq” Jones exchanged some words with Los Angeles Clippers forward Craig Smith and Kevin Durant and his Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Harden threw aside all pleasantries as they staged an often physical duel at Trinity University. “That’s why we set this whole thing up. Both teams are going to play hard,” said Harden, who scored 34 points. “I don’t want hear nothing about that Kevin Durant, Thunder up. We’re enemies right now.” Washington Post

August 21, 2011 Updates

With no Gregg Popovich around to call his number and no Manu Ginobili to set him up, Neal figured his chances of standing out in the exhibition between two legendary summer pro-am leagues — Los Angeles’ Drew League and the D.C.-based Goodman League — were slim. His spot-up game isn’t built for streetball, even streetball played indoors. “No, not at all,” said Neal, a Spurs guard and Baltimore native who played for the Goodman team. “My point guards are (Denver’s) Ty Lawson and (Washington’s) John Wall. Just have to hope they’re in a distributing mood.” They weren’t. Neal finished with six points, 38 shy of the 44 pumped in by NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant, who earned MVP honors in Goodman’s 135-134 victory. San Antonio Express-News

It is the mild-mannered Durant, the only NBA All-Star on either roster, flexing for the crowd after a coast-to-coast drive. It is streetball legends named “Money Mike” (no last name) and Baby Shaq Jones filling out the end of the bench. It is showmanship above all else, and in that, Saturday night delivered. “We put on a show,” said Wall, who added 28 points to the Goodman win. “That’s what it’s all about. It’s not about money. It’s about loving the game and wanting to play the game.” Of course, not everybody wanted to. Wizards swingman Nick Young, reportedly miffed because he wasn’t named the Drew League’s regular-season MVP, didn’t show. Neither did Kobe Bryant, whose presence was rumored after he dropped 43 points and the game-winning jumper in a Drew League game last week. “We tried to get him,” said Drew Leaguer DeMar DeRozan, a Toronto Raptors forward. “You pretty much have to catch Kobe at the right time and the right place.” San Antonio Express-News

On the final possession, Brandon Jennings was matched up against former No. 1 pick John Wall of the Wizards, who scored six of the Goodman League's final 10 points and dove head first into a group of photographers while going for a loose ball after sinking a jumper for that late three-point edge. Jennings, who led Drew with 34 points, settled for a long shot that missed. The rebound was corralled by Harden, who scored 29, along the left baseline with Durant in pursuit. Harden's game face was showing behind his full beard before the game, intensity that was not surprising considering the Los Angeles players paid their way to travel East. He said the battle to show which city has the best talent was "why we set this whole thing up. Both teams are going to play hard." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Though his Thunder teammate was in the next stall of lockers over, Harden made it clear they were not teammates on this day. "I don't want to hear nothing about that Kevin Durant or Thunder up," he said. "We're enemies." That was obvious in the final seconds as Durant swarmed Harden, forcing a double clutch shot that never reached its target as the long limbed forward from the D.C. suburbs got a piece of it. "It was a good battle, it was back and forth," said Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson, another D.C. area native. "The L.A. team came back, made a game of it. In the end KD made the free throws and made the right plays. So did John Wall." Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Not bad. But Durant was the MVP before the doors to the gym even opened. Essentially, he's the one who opened them, and everyone made sure to give him full credit for the basketball moment of Lockout Summer. "When a guy like Kevin Durant does something, with the power he has in the NBA and the power he will continue to have, it kind of makes things easier," said the San Antonio Spurs' Gary Neal, who grew up in Aberdeen, Md., played collegiately at Towson and is a Goodman League regular. "It's kind of hard to have a game like this in the NBA if you don't have influence. But a guy like Kevin Durant can just get on the phone and call anybody. That's why this game is the way it is.” Sporting News

August 17, 2011 Updates

Bryant scored 43 points and hit a jumper at the buzzer to give his team a 129-127 victory Tuesday in Los Angeles. Afterward, Drew League commissioner Dino Smiley asked Bryant if he would like to represent the league in an exhibition against Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant and Washington’s Goodman League on Saturday night in D.C. Smiley said Bryant, who could not be reached for comment, is considering playing. “We asked Kobe and he smiled at it, but he didn’t commit,” Smiley told Yahoo! Sports. “But if he comes, we will have a uniform waiting for him to represent Los Angeles – not D.C. Who knows? He likes drama and maybe he’ll show up to play for the Drew League. “He saw the atmosphere today. He enjoyed it. All he has to do is get there.” Yahoo! Sports

But now it appears that Beasley won’t be able to back up his claims. After teaming up with former Georgetown star Chris Wright for a victory at Barry Farm last week, Beasley said a scheduling conflict will prohibit him from playing in the contest that features two of the more prominent recreational basketball leagues in which several NBA players ply their trade in the offseason. With so much uncertainty surrounding the NBA lockout, there has been more attention placed on players participating in the summer league street-ball circuit. And Saturday’s contest between the Goodman League and the Drew League — billed as “Capital Punishment” — garnered some national publicity because of the number of players involved. Wizards players John Wall, Nick Young and JaVale McGee; Oklahoma City Thunder all-star Kevin Durant; Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings; and Sacramento Kings players DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans, among others, and a few playground legends have committed to take part. Washington Post

Even with Beasley out, the Goodman League team has plenty of talent with Durant, Wall, Cousins, Evans, Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson, San Antonio Spurs guard Gary Neal, Kings forward Donte Greene and Memphis Grizzlies players Josh Selby and Sam Young. Goodman League regulars Hugh “Baby Shaq” Jones, Emanuel “Duce” Jones and Warren “D-Nice” Jefferson round out the team. The Drew League will have Young, McGee, Jennings, Oklahoma City guard James Harden, Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, Craig Smith of the Los Angeles Clippers and New Orleans Hornets guard Marcus Banks. Golden State Warriors forward Dorell Wright, who helped organize the event, had to back out because of a wedding. Washington Post

Bryant would finish with 45 points and arguably the most exciting game-winning shot of the summer. It wasn't long before Bryant was a trending topic on Twitter and video of his shot circulated around the internet. While his performance generated plenty of buzz, there was even more talk about whether or not he would play in the showdown between the Drew League and Goodman League this Saturday. HoopsWorld

August 16, 2011 Updates

Chris Palmer: Rumor that Kobe will play in Drew vs. Goodman showdown on Saturday. Likely just a ploy to generate buzz for the game. Working. Twitter

August 7, 2011 Updates

DeMar DeRozan: I want to apologize for my actions at the Drew League today. I got caught up in the heat of the moment, but should've handled it better. Twitter

August 3, 2011 Updates

Alex Kennedy: The Drew League vs. Goodman League showdown will be streamed online at http:/…. It will cost you $4.99. ago Alex Kennedy: While paying for an online stream may seem ridiculous, this is the closest thing to NBA action that basketball fans will see for awhile. Goodman: Kevin Durant, John Wall, Tyreke Evans, Mike Beasley, DeMarcus Cousins, Ty Lawson, Donte Green, Gary Neal, Josh Selby, Sam Young. Team Drew: Brandon Jennings, DeMar DeRozan, JaVale McGee, James Harden, Nick Young, Craig Smith, Pooh Jeter, Bobby Brown, Marcus Williams. Twitter

August 1, 2011 Updates

If there was an award for Summer League exploits, the Washington Wizards would be way up there at the top of the NBA. We've discussed John Wall's summer tour, which included this scintillating performance in Baltimore's Melo League earlier in the week, but it's not just Wall who is hooping like crazy this summer. Nick Young is too, and he might have come through with the performance of the summer. Young scored an insane 60 points in his latest game in the Drew League on Sunday, the highest mark ever scored in a Drew League game. There's no video available yet, but rest assured, once there is, we'll find it. Alas, Young's exploits came in a losing effort, as his team, the Young Grangers, lost and missed out on the playoffs. I'm not sure who Young's teammates are, but clearly they need to step it up a bit. Bullets Forever

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