Week 7 saw even more reshuffling of the boards as players’ longtime loyalties were tested by their desires to still play come playoff time. With the playoffs only a few weeks away, tough decisions were made, resulting in a few teams trotting out new-look rosters to try and make a late-season push, though few were as drastic as CitiTeam Blazers pulling up with half of BB4L’s old roster.
Most notably, former Drew League MVP Vince Camper jumped ship on his I-Can All-Stars team to help All In secure a win over L.O.S., while BB4L recruited UCLA forward Chris Smith to replenish their depleted roster, earning their second win in the process.
Meanwhile, Saturday’s game of the day turned out to be a shocker for more than one reason, as Young Citi upset Public Enemy to take the number one seed in the Carl Munns Division. Both teams played without their star point guards, Keith Smith and Franklin Session—a matchup fans were disappointed to miss—but the matchup seems likely to take place once both teams make the playoffs.
Without Frank, Public Enemy’s defense fell short of its usual high standard, allowing Young Citi’s “next man up” policy to take full effect as Ryan Nitz became their leading scorer and offensive focal point. He poured in 8 of his 17 shots, including 4 threes, to take Player of the Game honors and the win for Young Citi.
Fans got more than their money’s worth on Saturday as well, as Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo stopped by the Drew to take in the game between MHP and Tuff Crowd, two teams that showed up to the gym absolutely loaded with talent. Despite missing their MVP candidate breakout point guard Askia Booker, MHP’s lineup of Jordan Bell, Nick Young, Shannin Sharpe, and Player of the Week Elijah Stewart were more than enough to outscore Brandon Jennings, Shareef O’Neal, KJ Martin, and Gary Payton Jr.
The group did put on a show, though, resulting in praise from Antetokounmpo, who said that “it’s insane” to see young players and local hoopers getting to showcase their talent alongside big-name stars.
“A place like the Drew League makes it equal for everybody,” he said. “A guy that I never heard about was playing against Jordan Bell and he was equally good!”
That undiscovered talent has always been the key to winning at The Drew and will become even more crucial as the playoffs close in. The players who switched teams and the teams that brought in new players in the last two weeks have rolled the dice. Now, they have to hope that they have the talent and chemistry to deliver a strong finish to the toughest season yet.
Game 1: CitiTeam Blazers 96 vs. Prodigy 71
Player of the Game: Ryan Carter (20 points)
Game 2: Hometown Favorites 76 vs. MHP 75
Player of the Game: Gerry Blakes (34 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists)
Game 3: Young Citi 70 vs. Panthers 65
Player of the Game: Ryan Nitz (22 points, 5 rebounds)
Game 1: All In 85 vs. L.O.S. 81
Player of the Game: Vince Camper (28 points, 8 rebounds)
Game 2: Problems 80 vs. Team Watson 68
Player of the Game: Garrett Nevels (18 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists)
Game 3: MHP 88 vs. Tuff Crowd 80
Player of the Game: Elijah Stewart (34 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists)
Game 4: Baxter’s Legacy 90 vs. Black Pearl Elite 69
Player of the Game: Justin Stommes (15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals)
Game 5: Young Citi 74 vs. Public Enemy 65
Player of the Game: Ryan Nitz (22 points, 4 rebounds)
Game 6: Reapers Black Ops 86 vs. Nationwide Blue Devils 69
Player of the Game: Taurean Prince (35 points, 8 rebounds)
Game 1: CitiTeam Blazers 86 vs. Pandas 59
Player of the Game: Larry Anderson (14 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists)
Game 2: BB4L 90 vs. Hometown Favorites 71
Player of the Game: Chris Smith (22 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists)
Game 3: No Shnacks 93 vs. CABC So. Cal 82
Player of the Game: LaMelo Ball (19 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals)
Game 4: Redemption 99 vs. Prodigy 80
Player of the Game: Jonathan Gibson (34 points)
Game 5: Panthers 81 vs. Optimus 72
Player of the Game: Dashawn Gomez (17 points)
Game 6: I-Can All-Stars 88 vs. Jaguars 74
Player of the Game: Mark Hill (16 points, 7 rebounds)