Twenty-eight teams. One Goal. That’s the Drew League Championship. That’s what brings out NBA All Stars such as Paul George, DeMar DeRozan, James Harden, and thousands of Angelinos every weekend. They all pack into King Drew High School in Watts to witness what is haled as “The Best Pro-Am League in the World.”
It is the mecca of summer league basketball, but a team called Compton aka “Hub City” home was among this year’s crop of players vying for the 41st Drew League Championship and did not disappoint.
This summer we saw Baron Davis moonlighting as Houdini with his no-look passing and elusive handle. We saw rapper The Game once again recruit every NBA player he knew to play on his squad. We saw James Harden play for team USA on Friday, and then put on a Drew League jersey on Saturday. Most importantly, we saw basketball serve as a medium for building a community.
The final weekend hosted four teams contending for one champion. In the first semifinal game we had “Hank’s Cheater’s 2”, led by Philadelphia 76er and former Long Beach State All-American player Casper Ware Jr., versus “COA”, led by Fairfax’s own and former LA Clipper player Craig Smith. “Hanks Cheater’s 2” were vastly undersized which led to 21 second-chance points for “COA” and became the difference in the game. The final score was COA 83 Hanks Cheaters 72.
The second semifinal game was instantly dubbed one of the greatest playoff games in Drew League history. Baron Davis led Cheaters 1 versus a starless Whoudini All-Stars. In a four overtime thriller Whoudini All-Stars prevailed with Corey Allen dropping a 40 piece which included the game winning free throws. Final score Whodini All-Stars 86 Cheaters 85.
Championship Sunday would not disappoint. Although it appeared COA would have a huge advantage over Whoudini All-Stars due to their semifinal game going four overtimes and their lack of size in the frontcourt. However Whoudini All-Stars went to a three guard offense, Corey Allen, Antonio Bigalow and Gary Nevels combined to score 62 of their teams 84 points. Prevailing in a thriller 84-83 with former Charlotte bobcat Julian Wright missing a half court 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Whoudini All-Stars 2014 Drew League Champions.
I know I am one of thousands that would like to give thanks to Dino Smiley aka “The Commish”, Brian McCaa (CFO), The Smiley Family, Drew Crew, George and everyone else involved for allowing our Cali sun to a little shine brighter on South Los Angeles.