By: Law Murray
The fireworks of Independence Day carried over onto the hardwood at the Drew League this past weekend. July has arrived meaning active professional players were able to make their Drew League debut in week 8. This has been a much anticipated date; while some teams are more than comfortable with the roster they already have (i.e. the three teams with 6-2 records at the top of the Kenny Brunner Division), other teams have been more than open about holding on until “the help comes.”
The Clozers, the team formerly known as LAUNFD, were one of those teams. Thus far they have been one of the most inconsistent teams in the league. Since the Drew League began, they won their first game then lost back-to-back games. After a heated win over Robin Hood Project in Week 4, head coach RJ of The Clozers mentioned that the team would be a .500 team until their full roster arrives in July. They followed up the Week 4 win by winning one more game, then losing two more (3-4).
But you knew The Clozers would have a Space Jam Monstars feel to their team against the SoleClinics. Professional basketball player, Brandon Jennings, suited up for Marcus Williams’ squad and embarrassed the SoleClinics, dropping 57 points (17/37 from the field, 8/17 from three, 15/16 from the free throw line), six rebounds, and five assists. The last time Jennings was wearing white and green and torching a team in orange, was back when Jennings was a rookie in the professional basketball league hanging a double nickel on the Golden State Warriors. The SoleClinics looked more like traffic cones, giving up 35 fourth-quarter points as The Clozers won 107-84, the highest point total in the Drew League all season. The win put The Clozers back at .500 with a 4-4 record.
Jennings wasn’t the only pro player making his 2014 Drew League debut – he wasn’t the only one in that game even. Check out the other pros who showed up in Week 8:
Austin Daye (The Clozers): Jennings took 37 shots in 32 minutes, but the 6’11” Daye had an outstanding game as well, scoring 21 points and grabbing 19 rebounds. He also added two steals and two blocked shots. He says that his goal is to rebound at a high rate whenever he’s on the court this summer.
Derrick Williams (SoleClinics): Don’t say SoleClinics didn’t have enough personnel to contend with The Clozers. Williams, the second pick of the 2011 Draft out of Arizona, joined future Wildcat Stanley Johnson on the floor for SoleClinics and played well, scoring 17 points. His blend of size and athleticism showed up repeatedly – but there was obviously nothing he nor Stanimal could do to stop The Clozers.
Andre Miller (Hank’s Bulldogs): Miller, one of the most respected veteran point guards, watched SoleClinics v. The Clozers from the stands before suiting up for the Bulldogs’ game against C.A.B.C. The Verbum Dei alum had a quiet game, scoring eight points in a 77-65 C.A.B.C. win. Miller mentioned that it was his first game at The Drew since the action moved from Washington Park to King Drew High School. As for C.A.B.C., that makes four straight wins for them after starting 0-4 – and they’re expecting some major help later on according to C.A.B.C. head coach, Harry Wilson.
Nick Young (Free Agent/M.H.P.): Swaggy P has been with his team M.H.P. almost every weekend even if it is showing support on the bench in street clothes. He finally suited up for their game against Tradition. Young wasn’t at his best, shooting only 4-of-15 from the field and 1-of-8 from three on his way to 11 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. However, he probably earned executive of the week for who he brought with him…
Paul George (Indiana Pacers/M.H.P.): George came through and completely shut the building down with a windmill that resembled the “Clippers 360”. It looked like George would challenge Brandon Jennings’ 57 points after he dropped 26 in the first half, but he settled for a modest 33 points (13/24 from the field, 7/10 from three) and a 91-67 win. Week 7 Player of the Week Reggie Murphy said that the addition of George (and maybe others) will “make everyone’s job a lot easier.” Many thought Gilbert Arenas may have come back this week with Swaggy P active, but Agent Zero was nowhere to be found.
Metta World Peace (Free Agent/La Familia): Metta World Peace (MWP) has not played for a professional team since February and he hadn’t started in a game since December, so it had been awhile since spectators got a chance to see him play. With his return to La Familia, it gave the team a more competitive edge seeing as The Game’s squad needed all kinds of help; after starting 3-0, they were sliding at a meteoric rate with a four-game losing streak. Getting to play #Juglife could have been a slumpbuster, or it could have been another in a long line of embarrassing defeats in front of a capacity crowd. With Metta back with The Game, MWP did not disappoint. He looked to be in good shape, scored a team-high 25 points (9/20 from the field, 5/10 from three), and added eight rebounds, three assists, and four steals in La Familia’s 82-74 win. MWP struggled from the free throw line (2/9), but other than that, he was a difference-maker next to Kwame Alexander’s 21 points.
Quincy Miller (#Juglife): Folks probably weren’t anticipating the Baylor product to be at the Drew League. The duel between Metta World Peace and JaVale McGee’s teammate Quincy Miller was actually a highlight of the weekend. While MWP drained threes at one end, Miller tried to show off the whole menu. There were crossovers, there were threes, and there were dunks – all while guarding everyone from MWP to Alexander to Frank Session. Miller had an impressive 25 points and 11 rebounds, but #Juglife took another L, as they somehow shot 83 field goals – and made zero free throws (out of only four attempts). Miller also had five turnovers, which was the same as La Familia had collectively as a team. Despite #Juglife falling to a Drew League-worst 1-7, Miller had a great time making his debut, and he says that he’ll be back.
Law Murray is in his fourth year in Los Angeles via Philadelphia. He has been at grad school at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism since 2012, and graduated from California University of PA in 2009 with a degree in communication studies. Law has also served two years in City Year and covered the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Russia. He specializes in breaking down teams and players on a variety of media platforms.