The Drew League

Alvin Wills established the Drew League in 1973 with 6 teams.  Wills believed this league could be a place for young men and women of South Central Los Angeles to learn life lessons through basketball.

The Drew League’s goal was to help young people form meaningful relationships on the court that would spill over into the neighborhood, as well as build an institution that would bring top local high school, college, and pro players back to the community.

As a long time friend and mentor to Dino Smiley, in 1985 Wills decided it was time to let Smiley have a shot at directing the league.  By 1985 the league had grown from the original 6 teams to 10 teams.  Today the league matches up 28 “invitation-only” teams to battle it out on the hardwood.

Forty years ago, no one would have predicted that the gym at Charles Drew Junior High School on the corner of Compton and Firestone would play host to Southern California’s toughest competition, attracting streetball legends, collegiate athletes, and several NBA stars.

Our list of notable players and people could go on and on, but here are a few who have graced the Drew floor:

  • Kobe Bryant
  • Raymond Lewis
  • Lester Conner
  • Byron Scott
  • John Williams
  • Greg Anthony
  • LeBron James
  • Micheal Cooper
  • Kevin Durant
  • Paul Pierce
  • Allen Caveness
  • Andre Miller
  • Kenny “Bad Santa” Brunner
  • Bobby Brown
  • Jason Hart
  • Trevor Ariza
  • Craig Smith
  • Nick Young
  • Dorell Wright
  • Marcus Williams
  • JaVale McGee
  • Brandon Jennings
  • Demar Derozan
  • James Harden
  • Cuttino Mobley
  • Baron Davis
  • Casper Ware Jr.
  • Paul George
  • Metta World Peace
  • John Wall
  • JR Smith
  • Mo Spillers
  • Mike Brown
  • Dane Suttles
  • Casper Ware Sr.
  • Brandon Bowman
  • Doug Thomas
  • Dwayne Allen
  • Russell Brown
  • Jeff Calhoun
  • Rob “Sic-wit-it” Kennedy
  • Mark “Goggles” Neal
  • James “Gumby” Gray
  • Robert Smith
  • Lamar “Black pearl” Gayle

Not to mention the many well -known college, streetball, high school, and international pros that have played at the Drew.

The Drew has also been home to some special people like Eyleen Carlyle, the 1st female coach in the history of the league who went on to win coach of the year in the Drew Summer League.

The Drew has been a Mecca for west coast pro-am basketball for 40 years, and it is only getting stronger!