It’s been a long year, but the weather is getting warmer, the tension is getting thicker, and it’s almost that time again. Summer is here and at the Drew League, it’s looking like a cruel one, indeed.
No one knows that better than the 18 returning teams who battled it out last year for the most coveted title in basketball—except, perhaps, for the teams that didn’t make the cut. The field for the 2019 season has been reduced to just 24 teams, which means that the competition will be fiercer, the talent will be tougher, and every single game will matter. The Drew League motto has always been in full effect, but this year, those excuses may cost the whole season in just one game, so you better produce.
There have been some other changes, as well. While many of your fan favorites are back in the saddle for another rough ride to September and the Drew League Championship, some are gone. Birdie’s Revenge is out, but their legacy may well live on through their reincarnation, Public Enemy, featuring three-time Drew League MVP Frank “Nitty” Session in a quest for redemption after last year’s playoffs collapse.
Speaking of Redemption, the 2018 champions are back with former MVP Jonathan Gibson, ready to take a shot at a repeat title and join the very short list of teams that have accomplished this feat. Perennial contenders BB4L, Blazers, MHP, Problems, and Panthers are back as well, while last year’s runner up, Nationwide Souljas, is rebranded as the Nationwide Blue Devils. Whether that signals a connection with a certain collegiate program with a similar name remains to be seen.
As far as the new teams, newcomers All-In and L.O.S. remain mysterious, but the remainder of the 2019 lineup includes some returning teams who haven’t been seen in a while, including I-Can All-Stars with Vince Camper and CABC. One intriguing new addition is Tuff Crowd, boasting some surprising names on its roster, led by Drew League mainstay Brandon Jennings, making his return after a year away.
Expect to see some rosters get shuffled and some familiar faces playing with new teammates this year as the number of potential roster slots just shrank by quite a bit. That just means that every player will be out to earn their spot, even as the reduced number of teams means those win margins and head-to-head matchups are more important than ever.
With the stakes for each matchup higher than they’ve ever been, you’ll need to leave your predictions and expectations at the door because the championship is up for grabs, and this around, anyone who wants it badly enough stands a chance to take it. A lot more than pride is on the line, so grab your Drew Aid, find a good seat, and buckle up, because this summer is shaping up to be one wild ride.