By: Law Murray
The 2016 Drew League season will be known for an exceptional level of competition. The Most Valuable Player race was no exception, as there were several notable candidates. For only the second time in the Drew League’s 43-year history, the top award could not be given to just one player, as Gs Pat Rembert of LA LOOP and Franklin Session of Birdie’s Revenge were named the Clarence “Clank” Worship co-MVPs for the 2016 season.
Rembert, 6’0” out of Irvine, was the league’s leading scorer throughout the season, averaging 32.7 points per game for an LA LOOP team that made their first postseason appearance in three seasons. Rembert’s scoring was prolific, as he only had one game out of 11 with under 20 points while scoring at least 40 three times. Rembert scored a Drew League season-high 46 points in a losing effort vs. Legacy, then finished the regular season with 42 points and a season-high 11 assists to earn the Week 10 Player of the Week. After leading LA LOOP to a 6-5 record in the John Williams division, Rembert believed he was the MVP.
“I feel great,” Rembert said after his team beat I Can All-Stars to clinch a playoff spot. “I mean, the work I put in with (LA LOOP head coach) Keion (Kindred) … I know even a bad game, I’ll still have confidence to go out there and try to lead my team. I’m just leaving it all on the floor. Just trying to get to the playoffs. MVP, I’m just leaving it all on the floor.”
After Birdie’s Revenge’s last win of the regular season vs. Sky Ryse, Session shared his thoughts on the MVP race, saying, “I don’t feel like I’m the MVP, and that’s up to everybody else, but I feel like I’m playing one hell of a season.”
While Rembert had a season similar to that of the 2015 MVP Vince Camper (top scorer at the Drew League while leading a 6-5 team to the playoffs), Session returned to playing with The Game at the Drew and led Birdie’s Revenge to an 8-3 record in the John Williams division. Session, 6’2” out of Weber State, dominated on both ends of the floor en route to averaging 24.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game. Session also had eight games with at least two steals, and his fourth quarter performances against Nova Stars and Sky Ryse featured 4-point plays and game-changing defensive activities.
The last time the Drew League had co-MVPs was in 2013, when Hard Times G Nick Porter and N.W.A. G Jonathan Gibson shared the award. Keion Kindred coached Gibson that season, and he coached both Gibson and Rembert this season as well. Kindred was named the Don L. Williams Drew League 2016 Coach of the Year after LA LOOP finished 6-5 and Redemption (formerly known as N.W.A.) finished 10-1, the top seed in the Stanley Dill Division. This was Kindred’s first Coach of the Year award, but he has led strong teams for several seasons while building a strong network as an elite trainer.
The MVP race was so stacked that one of candidates also won the Most Inspirational Player award race. BB4L finished the season undefeated, and the player who was on the court the most for that season was 6’2” F Van Girard II of Dominguez Hills. Girard was self-deprecating anytime his name came up in the MVP discussion, but he wasn’t messing around when he was in uniform, and he was named the Kevin L. Dandridge Most Inspirational Player of the 2016 Drew League season. Girard was BB4L’s top performer in their first four games of the season, averaging 23.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game during BB4L’s 4-0 start. Eugene Phelps’ role increased, while players like Casper Ware II, Terrence Ross, Baron Davis, Tim Johnson, and Stanley Johnson joined the team throughout the season, but Girard still had signature moments. He shined at the Nike Air Hangar against Problems, and he hustled from coaching a tournament in Nevada to join a shorthanded BB4L team in the 3rd quarter to defeat Reapers.
Girard would join his teammate Casper Ware II as a champion following BB4L’s 103-76 win over #Juglife. Ware was named the Finals MVP after scoring 27 of his game-high 31 points in the 3rd quarter, ending BB4L five consecutive BB4L possessions with three-pointers at one point. Ware, the Drew League 2011 MVP, is the son of Drew League legend and 2014 Coach of the Year Casper Ware and the brother of Drew League 2014 Most Inspirational Player Ervin Ware.
Law Murray first covered the Drew League in 2014 as an intern while getting a masters in journalism from Southern California. He is from Philadelphia and is also a graduate of California University of Pennsylvania. Law has also served two years in City Year, covered the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Russia and the Los Angeles Clippers, and is an NFL Network researcher. He has long arms, but his dunks are terrible.