The summer is starting to heat up at the Drew League — both in the gym and outside of it. As the weather begins to leave behind the gloom of June, the competition has only gotten fiercer. A number of teams are starting to turn on their A-games early while their pro presence is down, hoping to gain an early lead on playoff position before the big names come in and shake the table; others look like they are suffering burnout before their stars arrive to save the day. Here’s a look at the teams that blowing up and the ones that have been blown out.
Week 3 Winners: Team Watson, MHP, BB4L, Hometown Favorites, Hank’s Panthers, No Shnacks, LAUNFD, Prodigy, Clozers, Young Legends, Nationwide Souljas, Birdie’s Revenge, Problems and Foot Print.
This week held few surprises. The teams that were supposed to win, won their match-ups handily for the most part. While Team Watson, LAUNFD, Foot Print and BB4L blew past the competition without much trouble, Hometown Favorites scored a surprising victory over Redemption, who were missing both Kerry Carter and Chris Johnson. Team-hopping, former Optimus players Rodney “Speedy” Blackmon and Tyrone “50” Riley weren’t enough to cover for the late scratches to Redemption’s roster and what looked like a fight going in turned out to be more of a one-sided practice match, with the Favorites easily pummeling the reeling Redemption with a flurry of Mike Taylor buckets early.
Clozers also overturned the Blazers as Malik Story and Charles Hinkle poured in 53 points combined over the smaller, outmatched Citi Team. Blazers were also missing some important pieces: Horace “Gingerbread Man” Wormely was a no-show, along with big men Stone Gettings and Lamond Murray and guards Frank Robinson and Jushay Rockett. With so many guys out, it’s no wonder their seven-man rotation couldn’t keep up with the bigger, hotter-shooting Clozers.
Finally, the game of the week turned out to be a genuine shocker as LA Loop fought Nationwide Souljas to an overtime standstill, only to finally fall 94-93 to a determined Nationwide team featuring a surprise addition in the middle: Glen “Big Baby” Davis showed up to play for his first Drew League game ever, scoring 37 points and yanking down 8 rebounds, in addition to 3 (!) steals.
“A lot of guys here can play at a high level,” he said after the game. “It was everything I expected. My first time ever playing here, I appreciate the fans being here and letting me play. It’s a great, great, great place to be.”
He attributed his hustle to the way he’s always played.
“That’s what I do,” he says. “I’ve always played this way, no matter if it’s pickup ball, I always play hard… I’m glad my energy play helped us.”
He gave praise to the passing of Nationwide guard Marcus Williams (9 assists) as one of his primary reasons for joining up with them, despite Mr. Iso’s contribution of 27 points on 7-of-12 shooting. It was a hard-fought win for Nationwide, even with LA Loop’s struggles in the first two weeks; Loop coach Keion Kindred seems to have cracked the code with his young team in this game, redefining point guard and former MVP Patrick Rembert’s role from primary scorer to distributor. With Mike Ojo lobbing seven long bombs from range, Loop held their own against the bigger Souljas. They only stand to improve in the coming weeks as more players return, including Justin Cobbs and Richard Solomon, who will add shooting and rim protection, respectively.