2017 Brunson League Preview

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2017 Brunson League Preview

Summertime is almost upon us, which means that summer league basketball is even closer. 

The Brunson League, Baltimore's top Pro-Am, is set to have a big season. Opening Day is June 4th. Games will be played on Sunday from 10am-9pm. The league will host new players and teams and most importantly, more spectators. Thanks to the brash and ruthless play from last year's champions, Longwood & Dukeland, led by Devin Colston aka The Dragger, many began to take notice of the league. 

The untimely death of Colston shook up the entire Baltimore basketball scene. Colston was the people's champ and face of the Brunson League but for Longwood & Dukeland, he was their go-to-player. 

🎥 courtesy of @fanisports, we thank you for putting this video together in memory of @lordev_ripshine #LongLiveLorDev

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The guys from Longwood will have to lean on another bonafide scorer, and luckily for them they have one. Stanton Kidd will more than likely be that go-to-guy for LND. Kidd missed the Brunson Championship game last summer due to his obligation overseas but he was an important player in LND's undefeated run. Kidd was already one of the best players in the league, but this summer he should have a little bit more motivation. The bulk of LND championship roster will return this summer, vocal leader Trey Rose, Sean Farr, Malcom Tatum, and Kemp McCray. This summer will be a true test for LND as everyone will attempt to dethrone them. Emotionally, they will be tested even more, playing without their leader. 

A few teams will give LND a run for their money. One team, in particular, will not only challenge LND for the championship but also generate some excitement this summer. Protect the Family, also known as PTF, will be the fan favorites this summer. NBA Star, Will Barton, returns home to help create a bigger buzz for the Brunson and bring some positive vibes back to the city of Baltimore. 

The PTF squad is loaded with size. Along with Will, who stands at 6'7, will be Roscoe Smith (6'7) and CJ Fair (6'8), giving PTF a major advantage in the paint and on the perimeter. All three players are athletic enough to create their own shots and big enough to dominate smaller defenders. Will's younger brother, Antonio Barton, will be the guard orchestrating all this length. With Will & T playing alongside each other again, this summer should feel like Lake Clifton circa 2009. 

Team Lyfe will be another tough challenger. One could argue that they have the deepest roster in the Brunson. This team is mostly made up of last year's Team Eastside squad that lost to LND in the semifinals last summer, led by Nardie Bogues. Bogues brings with him his Baltimore Hawks teammates, Jaquan Jones and DiShawn Bradshaw. These three create a very tough backcourt to guard. Bradshaw, the biggest of the three, is also the best shooter in the Brunson. Last year, Bradshaw went 28/30 to win the Brunson League three-point contest. Bogues and Jones are quick guards that can blow by anyone and finish at the rim. 

As stated before, Team Lyfe is deep. Shakir Brown is a solid scorer on the wing, former Edmondson standout Darius Walker and overseas veteran Kevin Palmer adds to the guard play. Braxton Dupree will be the big body in the paint. If you don't have enough defenders, good luck trying to guard this team. 

Sam's Ballers will be new to the Brunson this summer. The team is filled with some of the best players in the DC Metro area. Most notably, Jamahl Brown aka J-Dub is one of the best scorers in the area. J-Dubb has made a name for himself in the Goodman League, Watts League, and P.I.T.S League down in the DC. He will be joined by other DC Summer League notables,  6'11 Brian Bridgeforth, scoring machine Mo Creek, and the one-n-only Boo Jackson, aka Super Boo. This team represents DC basketball, which should put a target on their backs and create some interesting rivalries and games. 

The DMV Warriors of the ABA will bring their team to the Brunson this summer. The Warriors finished with the best overall record in the ABA this past season. They will be led by their Big Three of Andrew "Spongebob" Washington, Dylon Cormier, and Terry Hosley aka New Jack City. Cormier was the leading scorer last summer, averaging 37.6 points a game. Spongebob is a staple in DMV streetball action, named to the Goodman 20 list and winner of the 1-on-1 Fightball league. Hosley is another dynamic scorer with some of the best handles out there and will be one of the most entertaining players this summer. The three of them will make the Warriors one of the best scoring teams in the field. Brian Smith also gives them another guard that can put up buckets. 

Things to Watch: 

  • Team Muhammad has two mystery players on their roster by the name of Isiah Muhammad and Jihad Muhammad. We will have to wait to find out exactly who those players are but what we do know about Team Muhammad is they might have the best backcourt in the league with Omar Strong and Josh Selby. 

  • Brandon Young and Nick Faust will make their Brunson League debut this summer.  Young will run with the Smokin' Aces and Faust will be with the Kruegers. 

  • Brunson League All-Stars take on the P.I.T.S League All-Stars June 18th at the Verizon Center. Last year, the P.I.T.S League was victorious, edging out the Brunson All-Stars 92-89. 

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Lincoln Park win 2016 Goodman League title

Commissioner Miles 20th season was a memorable one, for both good and reasons. What will be most memorable, what everyone will talk about, 20 years from now is the way Lincoln Park came back from down 23-points to beat the Drew All-Stars 44-45, taking home the Goodman League Championship for the second time in their mob history. 

Game two was delayed a couple days after Commissioner Miles became ill during the first 5 minutes of game two on Thursday. He was later diagnosed with Vertigo - a medical condition that makes one feel like objects around them is moving when it’s not, making it difficult to walk - which forced the games to be rescheduled until Sunday. When Miles walked Inside the Gates with the assistance of Goodman’s official cameraman, Wings, the BF Coliseum greeted him with a round of applause. 

Bruce Massey was named Finals MVP for his second half performance, leading Lincoln Park on a 27-4 run in the final 14 minutes of the second half. The most pivotal point in the game was when both teams had to be separated, similar to when they played in the first time in the regular season. While Lincoln Park argued that the refs need to clean the game up, everyone else felt that they were frustrated being down by 20+. After that minor scuffle, that’s when Massey took over. 

“All the respect on the court and off court for each other but both teams want to win,” Massey said about the chippiness. “We’re not going to give each other no cut cards. If somebody is being soft, we each feel that we can bully them and take advantage of it. Marl is their bully, Shaq is our bully, and neither are going to let the other team take advantage of their [teammates].” 

Massey scored 16 points in the second half - finishing with 17 points, going 7-10 at the free throw line, which has been an achilles heel for a lot of teams during the postseason. Bruce admitted that he was frustrated and lashed out on teammate Dele Ojo during a timeout, but realized that the team only goes as far as Ojo takes them. Ojo scored 10 points for the game but his biggest contribution was his defensive work against fellow Goodman 20 representer, Tre Kelly (South Carolina). 

Seeing Tre Kelly was a surprise for a lot of fans inside the gates, especially Commissioner Miles because Kelly has made it clear that he does not play outside anymore. Going into his 10th season as International player, Kelly felt that it was time for him to return back to the Goodman to give the fans a show - the same fans that watched him since he was a 9th grader at Dunbar High School in DC. 

During LP’s run, Ojo’s job was to deny Tre the ball. In the first half Tre hit three straight trey balls and led the Drew All-Stars to 31-11 first half lead. Kelly was a “wild-card” for the Drew All-Stars who was missing a key player. In the second half Kelly scored 5 points, only two points during LP’s run. Many thought Ojo should have won the MVP because of his efforts denying Kelly the ball, but even he admitted that Massey deserved the honors. 

“They’re a scrappy team and desperation made them more scrappy.” Kelly said about Lincoln Park. 

LP clinched the title with a clean sweep. In Game 1, Hugh Jones aka Baby Shaq led all scorers with 25 points, leading the LP to a 60-55 double-overtime victory. Both games in this series were probably the best games of the summer. The rivalry between Lincoln Park and Drew All-Stars will be even more chippy from here on out. 

Overall the 20th season was a success. It showed that Commissioner Miles is one of the most resilient individuals you’ll ever meet. From the nearby neighborhood shooting that caused a stampede on the on court early in the season, to the rainy days, to the death of his older brother just as the playoffs started, to having a health scare just five minutes into Game 2 of the Goodman Finals, Commissioner Miles - along with the players and fans - never let that stop the Goodman League. After each tragic event, the community became closer and the games got better. See you next summer for the 21st season, MOVE EM!

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Brunson All-Star Game 16'

The Brunson League capped off their 2016 summer with an All-Star game that included some of the top ballers from the Baltimore City area. 

Beat by EU-IV

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LND wins Brunson League Title

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LND wins Brunson League Title

Baltimore, Maryland. 

A city filled with talent but broken dreams. Across the country many people connect the city of Baltimore with the HBO series, “The Wire”, where it gave an in-depth look at the drug trade of the 1990s. While the series is one of the greatest series in television history, the city has gained a negative connotation from it 

Then you add the Freddie Gray trial that has been covered by national, and even international media, Baltimore is not a city recognized for prosperity. 

As a resident of Baltimore, it’s my job to make sure those outside of my beautiful city know the hidden jewels that are within. One of those jewels is the Brunson League; the top summer pro-am basketball league in Baltimore City. 

One thing Baltimore has been known for is basketball. Baltimore has a rich history of legendary ballplayers on each level. Ball players liked Mougsy Bouges, Reggie Lewis, Juan Dixon, and Carmelo Anthony have made Baltimore one of the premier cities for basketball. In the early 90s, summer time in the city meant classic street at the Madison Square Rec center, aka “The Dome”, located on Eden and Biddle street in East Baltimore. Midnight Madness was the biggest attraction in town, but that attraction slowed down as the years passed. 

The Brunson League is looking to build that momentum back up. Started by a young man by the name of Sean Brunson, his main goal is to shed some positivity on a city that is in dire need of it. Currently in the third season, the league is steadily growing. I stumbled upon the league last summer, seeing pictures on the instagram of some big name players like Roscoe Smith out of UConn/UNLV and Devon Usher out of Delaware, both players coming out of Baltimore city High Schools, moving on to stints in the NBA D-League. 

While “Scoe” and “Heads” were on the same squad, they did not win the title, proving that the competition is thick. The team that beat the two D-Leaguers went on to lose in the Championship game by 19 points. 

Longwood and Dukeland - a squad based out of a west baltimore neighborhood - went on to win the 2016 Brunson League title. They were the most dominant team from start to finish, with a average margin of victory of 16 points. They’re team isn’t stacked with big name pro ball players but they are stacked with baltimore ballers. They are led by the reigning MVP, Devin Colston, who played his high school ball at Dundalk, averaging 30 points a game. 

Colston, only in his second year of the league has a MVP, Tournament MVP, and league title under his belt. Last summer, he and his LND squad gave up a 19-point lead in the Finals, which gives the league an even better storyline. All great summer leagues have those teams and players that are staples and foundations for the league. Players that didn’t get the opportunity to shine on the big stage but can still outperform those players that are on that stage. Players like that are the ones that make a summer league and give it its essence i.e. Curt “Trouble” Smith for the Goodman League. Colston is on the verge of being that player for the Brunson League. 

LND also had Sean Farr and Donte “Tater” Pretlow out of Dunbar High School, and Stanton Kidd out of Edmondson High School. Kidd missed the championship, having to leave earlier in the week for his pro basketball duties in Germany. Without him though the team was still potent. 

For the Brunson League, the sky's the limit. With no other league in Baltimore city bringing in big name talent, their only competition is league in the greater Washington DC area like the Goodman League, Kenner League, Watts League, and PITTS League (who they will play August 28th). Next season, I expect to see more talent, more thick competition, and a even amped LND squad. 

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BF Crazies goes trumps Showstoppers, Now 3-0

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BF Crazies goes trumps Showstoppers, Now 3-0

Another good night Inside the Gates Monday Night. Team On-Point defeated Team Ulico in the first game of the evening, 53-41, while the hometown team BF Crazies pulled off a comeback victory against the Showstoppers, 48-39. 

On-Point walked into Halftime with a 29-20 lead. They finished the final three minutes of the first half with a 12-4 run, never relinquishing the lead. Ulico had a rough shooting night, especially PJ and Phil who could not find the bottom of the net. High-Flyer, Conrad, finished with 12 points which was the team high for Ulico. 

On-Point didn’t have an outstanding night from the field either but Ulico’s scoring droughts gave them more opportunities to score the basketball. Raymar led all scorers with 13 points, also leading the charge in the second half to put On-Point up by as much as 17. 

In the main event, the Showstoppers were looking to end the Crazies’ 3-game win streak but fell victim to the home team. Gary Jr., who played the entire game, finished with 12 points but had two big  buckets in the final 5 minutes that put the Crazies up 7, one of which being an And-1. 

“We coming for that championship this year! The home team, 20th year! Gary Said.

The Crazies core group is still there, such as Malcom who led the Crazies with 17 points, but the supporting cast of Sean, Devin, and Ryan made are why they're still undefeated.

“My team saved the day, I couldn’t do to much. Even though I was missing a lot of shots, they believed in me so we pulled through.” 

The Crazies caused back-to-back turnovers that led to Gary’s two buckets. Prior to that, they were down 32-28. J-Dubb looked like he was on his way to leading the Showstoppers to victory but he and the rest of the Showstoppers became sloppy with the ball. Dubb was the only player that scored in double-figures for the ShowStoppers finishing with 18 points. Dubb made some tough highlight plays but he only scored 6 points in the second half, which wasn’t enough being the only offensive threat the Showstopper had. 

The Crazies won’t play again until next monday, taking on Corey Allmond, Marcus Ashton and the rest of Team Ariyuan. Will they be able to keep their record unblemished or will the best offensive backcourt be too much for the Crazies? Stay tuned! 

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Lincoln Park serves Mazzerati Music second straight loss, 67-59

The stars showed up Inside The Gates Wednesday night, two players from the Goodman 20 list and a former NBA All-Star were all apart of a great game. Lincoln Park captured their 2nd win of the season while defeating Mazzeratti Music 67-59, who is now 0-2 in their first season apart of the Goodman League. 

Lincoln Park was led by Dele Ojo - a Goodman 20 member - who finished with 26 points, 17 of which coming in the second half, along with a few steals. 

“I know one thing, I’m going to take [an] ice bath after this game,” Ojo said. “I love physical play, little extra curricular stuff but it’s all apart of the game. All that did was wake us up. We had the lead then gave up the lead, but we pulled through at the end.” 

Lincoln Park started the game with 22-12 lead at the 8 minute mark, killing Mazzeratti Music with classic Lincoln Park defense. Last year’s defensive player of the year, Bruce Massey, also played a big role in LP’s early start, finishing the game with 15 points. 

Massey missed the final game of the season last year, Lincoln Park ended up losing to Backyard Band who had Josh Selby, missing his defensive presence and scoring in the backcourt. Massey at the end of tonight’s game looked towards Commissioner Miles and yelling “I’m not going home this summer!”

Lincoln Park returns with their main guys such as Bruce Massey, Super Coop, and Pierre. Baby Shaq will miss the first month due to his Ball Up Obligations, currently on an Australian Tour. Once he returns, Lincoln Park will be one of the best teams once again. 

“Towards the end of the playoffs, [other teams] fly people, but we still do what we do.” Ojo said. 

Mazzerati Music was coached by Goodman Legend, Greg Jones aka “Tha Wizard” while owner Steve Francis helped out. While he arrived late to the game, a spectator walked the sideline as if he was the coach of Mazzeratti Music, when G-Wiz arrived, he let the fan know “I’m the only cook in my kitchen.” 

“It’s a little different coaching the adults, you gotta let them play,” (also coaches 13U DC Top Flight). “They just gotta share the ball and don’t let Miles hype them up about getting their name called” 

Mazzeratti Music finished the first half with 13-7 run led by Tate. In the second half they would eventually take the lead 41-35 at the 13 minute mark, starting the half with a 16-6 run. Dez played big, converting a couple And-1s, finishing with 17 points. Commissioner Miles informed Dez that he will have to pick a team, more information will follow. 

While they are 0-2, Mazzeratti Music is no slouch. They have a very good guard play and solid big men. Tate led them in scoring with 17, 15 of which coming in the first half. He took it to Ojo but experience was the victor in the second half. It will be interesting to see how they grow and fare out for the rest of the season. 

Steve Francis noted that they have a few “wild-cards” on call just in case their current roster doesn’t pan out well but for now they won’t fly them in. When I asked Steve Francis about whether or not he would suit up, Greg Jones answered swiftly, “That’s negative.” 

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Controversy Inside Da Gates

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Controversy Inside Da Gates

Anytime a title is on the line, controversy is definitely going to be in attendance. 

With less than a minute remaining, Commissioner Miles made the referees reverse their 8-second call on the BF Crazies which would have given Team Madness the ball back, down 4. 

Instead Commissioner Miles announced that the Crazies keep possession of the ball but had 1 second to get the ball across court. Team Madness couldn't believe it. 

Commissioner Miles said that he changed the call because, one, the clock only showed 5-seconds had come off, and 2, he was protecting his referees. I think you also have to throw some home-cooking in there also. 

None the less, the Crazies did what they had to do to win the game, 89-83 forcing a game-3. The Crazies controlled the tempo of the game, building a 40-55 lead at half time. 

Selby finished with 29 points while Gary Jr. and Malcom combined for 22 points. Olu was the x-factor for the Crazies, scoring 13 points, 10 of which came in the first half. The Crazies were much more aggressive but also controlled. They didn't look like the inexperienced team like in Game 1. 

Madness, on the other hand, just couldn't find the same rhythm they had in Game 1. Chris Howard went to the line 18 times but missed 7 free ones . He scored 19 points but I would say he is struggling so far this series, which I think is due to him being fatigue. Chris has played a lot of basketball this summer at a high level and I think it is finally catching up to him. 

If it wasn't for Opy in the paint, grabbing boards and hitting bank-shot free throws, the Crazies could have walked away with this one. 

After two games the refs have been have been the story of the finals, and pretty much the entire season. The 8-second call, in my opinion, was the right call, just not by the right ref, also the clock didn't start on time, something the refs were supposed to acknowledge. So many "What ifs" can be said about that play, but at the end of the day, once the ref make the call, it should stand - unless the commissioner says otherwise. 

Like I said though, with all great games and titles, comes controversy. A deciding game 3 will determine who walks out The Gates as the 2015 Goodman League Champion. Stay Tuned!! 

 

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Madness Take Game 1

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Madness Take Game 1

BARRY FARMS –- On TV, the NBA Finals exhibits a great atmosphere; the two best teams, best players, battling it out to be crowned the best team in the world.

The Goodman League Finals should be on TV because game 1 had a crazy atmosphere inside the gates.

Since early June, I've been traveling from Baltimore to Barry Farms to cover some of the best hoopers in the DMV area, playing in the best Summer League in the country, and after game1, I realized that this is deeper than basketball.

Unlike the regular NBA Finals, where each team get an opportunity to play on their home court, Team Madness will have to win 2 games against the BF Crazies, on what is essentially the Crazies' home court.

Madness didn't let the raucous crowd effect them, grinding out game 1 with a 99-93 victory.

The BF Crazies in the stands came ready to create a crazy atmosphere, heckling Madness early during the warm-ups. If the Cameron Indoor Stadium has the best fans in College Basketball, Inside the Gates has the best fans in Summer League Basketball but Madness didn't waste time silencing the Crazies, going up 14-6 in the first 3 ½ minutes.

The Crazies – that were on the court – would close the gap, using a 5-0 run to cut the deficit to three.

Then Madness turned it up again.

Madness went on a 23-7 run, building a 20-point lead in the first half with 9 minutes remaining. Madness put heavy pressure on the Crazies, forcing turnover after turnover, turning them into transition points. On one possession, Chris Howard was pressing Lou on the sideline, shouting out “Oh Yea! He don't want the rock!!”. Next thing you know, the ball was going the other way.

I began to get worried that the opening game of the Finals, was going to be a blowout; but then the Crazies made a great run that had the BF Colosseum going crazy.

Josh Selby led the Crazies on 33-21 run for the remainder of the half, cutting Madness lead to as low as 8-points before the half ended. Selby scored 23 points in the first half, knocking day some smooth pull-up jumpers.

Selby is playing in his second straight Goodman Finals, winning Finals MVP, hooping with All-Daz. He finished with 31 points

Team Madness continued to stay poised for the entire game, never releasing the lead. For this to be the first time Madness has ever been in the Goodman Finals, head coach Larry Madness handled the situation well, never allowing the Crazies to take control of the game.

The big 3 of Spongebob, Chris Howard, and Tay, combined for 53 points, while Wayne played the “wild card” with a game high 28 points, also controlling the boards. Opy completed the 5 for Madness, providing some clean up work inside the paint.

You could make an argument that Wayne was the best player on the court tonight, mainly because he controlled the paint, on both ends. The 6'7 forward was previously apart of The ShowStoppers but he didn’t play one game in the playoffs, reason why he was able to play with Team Madness.

Malcom and Gary for the BF Crazies did their thing in the backcourt combining for 21 points, both playing a big role in the Crazies 14-3 run to tie the ball game at 78 .At the 9 minute mark. Gary Jr. scored the tying bucket, going coast-to-coast to the rack, finishing with a tough layup right in front the BF Crazies, that made them erupt, also a native of The Farms.

The game had high emotions from warm-ups to the post game, reason why I said it was deeper than basketball. This game mattered to everyone in the venue, including the players.

While other Summer Leagues use 1 game to determine a champion, the Goodman League gives you a best of three series – another reason why Commissioner Miles says this is the best summer league in the country.

With all three games being on consecutive days, I'm curious to see if Team Madness will show fatigue because all season long, they have played with 5 players, mainly Chris, Sponge, and Tay. Tonight, I think Madness exerted a lot of energy not only winning the game, but holding the lead also.

Also, I'm, curious to see how Selby will return after a slow second half, only scoring 2 points in the first 15 minutes in the half.

The Crazies need Selby to score and be that “wild-card” in order to win game 2. Madness didn't make it easy for Selby, hitting him with double teams and traps, plus some fouling. It will be interesting to see how hard the Crazies play in game 2, along with the fans. Win or Go Home time Inside The Gates.

 

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BF Crazies and Team Madness advance to the Finals

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BF Crazies and Team Madness advance to the Finals

Washington D.C –- After a great Final Four Sunday, the Goodman League Finals is officially set.

The BF Crazies and Team Madness will play in a best of 3 series to determine who will be the 2015 Goodman League Champion. Both squads were in a dogfight Sunday Night. The Crazies defeated FunkHouse 56-50 in the early game – definitely should have been the prime time game – while Madness defeated the veteran Backyard squad 50-48.

Crazies and FunkHouse was more than just a basketball game, it was a battle between two southeast DC neighborhoods. The Crazies were the home team, representing Barry Farms, while FunkHouse had the entire Congress Park on the sideline with them.

The atmosphere was amazing. Not many players would have been able to handle the heavy trash talking that was going on from both sides, but Josh Selby thrived in it, playing for the BF Crazies.

Selby traded squads, leaving Backyard after their first win over Lincoln Park. Selby scored 16 points in the first half for the Crazies, 9 of which coming from behind the arc. He even threw in a couple Jordan shoulder shrugs while looking at the FunkHouse bench.

But like I said this game was a dogfight.

FunkHouse used an 8-0 run to go up 37-29 to begin the second half. The FunkHouse defense, like always, helped start that run. Justin Black and newcomer but old vet, Sully, combined for 28 points. It look like the Piranhas of FunkHouse was going to make it to the Goodman Finals one more time but the Crazies didn't go away easy.

The Crazies went on a 10-0 run to go up 41-43 with 6:35 left in the game. Malcom was a big part of that run, converting an AND-1, a trey ball, and a block shot. For the remainder of the half, both teams traded buckets until the final minute, which turned into a free throw contest.

Madness and Backyard started with some controversy. Commissioner Miles not allowing Jimmy Black Jr. to suit up with Backyard because he already loss in the playoffs with GrindTime during the second round. With Black, this could have been a different game.

Madness controlled the entire 1st half, going up by as much as 11 in the first half. Madness guard, Tay, played a big part in that, scoring 16 points, 12 points from behind the arc. I was standing next to league MVP, Dele Ojo, during the game and he said that Tay was going have a big game and he was right. Tay finished with 19 points.

Madness built a large lead by running Backyard, who played earlier in the Watts Championship, walking into halftime with a 33-25 lead. Backyard didn't show signs of tiredness in the second half though, capitalizing off Madness not playing run & gun basketball. 6 minutes into the half, Backyard cut the lead to one point but they could never turn the corner, trailing by three points for the remainder of the half.

Backyard had the ball with 20 seconds left after Madness threw it away at half-court. Backyard tried to get the last shot of the game but they never got a shot off, Kolbi threw the ball away with 1.6 seconds remaining.

Madness vs. BF Crazies should result in a good series. I'm curious to see if Madness will use any “wild-cards” to join the team since the Crazies acquired Josh Selby. Wayne, formally of the ShowStoppers, did suit up for Madness but didn't have much impact. A talented player like his self is bound to have a good game, which could happen in the Finals. Game 1 is Monday Night at 8pm Inside The Gates.  

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Goodman Interviews: Victor Oladipo

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Goodman Interviews: Victor Oladipo

We caught up with Victor Oladipo before his Celebrity that included some of his former teammates from DeMatha and current NBA players, to talk about his efforts in the community, USA Basketball, and that vicious dunk on Michael Carter-Williams.

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Team Ariyuan and Backyard Band advance to the Elite 8

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Team Ariyuan and Backyard Band advance to the Elite 8

When I looked at that schedule and seen Ariyuan vs. Drew All-Stars followed by Lincoln Park vs. Backyard Band, I knew it was going be a good night.

When I got there I was surprised to see Quinn Cook and Josh Selby also in attendance, just a day after participating in the Oladipo Celebrity game. Cook would suit up with Ariyuan while Selby joined Back Yard.

Ariyuan walked out as the victors, defeating the Drew All-Stars in overtime, 60-64, in what turned out to be one of the best games of the year. Ariyuan had a balanced game, 4 players scoring in double figures; Quinn Cook, Marcus Ashton, Corey Allmond, and the new guy, Dre.

Quinn Cook led the team in scoring with 16 points, 14 points coming in the second half. Cook had a slow start in the first half, looking tired on some possessions, even having a few turnovers. Second half was a different story though, as he sealed the game with 2 free throws. He also scored the bucket to send it into overtime after stealing the ball from Goodman Legend, D-Nice; finishing at the rim with a tough contested layup.

Ariyuan started the game with an 11-4 run in the first 8 minutes (20-minute running clock), knocking down 3 straight trey balls. Drew All-Stars would follow with a 10-6 run of their own, to cut Ariyuan's lead to 14-17 at the 10 minute mark.

From there on out it was back and forth.

Terry Hosley led the Drew All-Stars with 18 points. Terry aka “New Jack City” made a name for himself Inside The Gates this year. Going for 30 in his first game against Hoop Culture, also being apart the Goodman All-Stars that defeated the Dyckman All-Stars.

Once the game was over, Hobo Chic turned to the Goodman Banner and released a loud yell, showing the emotion of being bumped in the second round in years past. Hobo Chic and Team Ariyauan has been playing some good basketball so far in the playoffs, especially Corey Allmond. And you can't forget about Marcus, who is the best shooter in the league, no debate. 

Ariyuan will play the BF Crazies on Friday, aiming to advance to the Final Four

Backyard Band will also join the Team Ariyuan in the Elite 8.

Lincoln Park had a 52-48 lead with less than 5 minutes left before Backyard went on a 6-0 run to take the lead with 2 minutes remaining. Backyard finished the game on a 10-0, walking out the gates with a 58-52 victory.

“I don't care about nothing else,” Brian Chase said about the big win against Lincoln Park. “I don't care about no points, the whole objective is to win championships. I've won a few championships down here and I just want to win more championships”

If he play like he did against LP for the remainder of the postseason, Backyard might walk away with the whole thing. B-Chase finished 11 points, 6 of which coming on that final run. Scoring wasn't his main priority, being more of the floor general, but when he did score, it was nice to watch.

Backyard had a stacked team, which I think you need to beat LP, who was missing a couple players, Bruce Massey, who was crowned Defensive Player of the year, and Pierre, who was the Rebounder of the Year.

Backyard came into this game with Chase, Selby, Jeff Allen, and D-Pain, who is the brother-in-law of Baby Shaq. All 4 players finished in double figures, Selby leading the team with 14 points. Pain and Shaq had some great battles inside the paint, both trading buckets with their back to the baskets. At one point in the seocnd half Pain walked over to the sideline and said to PIG of FunkHouse "SHAQ GOING SCORE ON WHO?. Both dudes are not little so it was very interesting watching those two bang down bottom.

Jeff Allen, who was quiet in the Goodman vs. Watts game on Sunday, scored 7 points in the first half against LP. Things were chippy between him and Jamal from LP, Allen suggesting Jamal was grabbing him in the post every time they tried to feed it to him, but the refs never called it.

LP before the game cleaned house in the Season Award Ceremony. Ojo, who scored 13 points against Backyard, was crowned MVP and Scoring champ, while Danielle Jones aka Mrs. Baby Shaq was crowned coach of the year. Danielle is first female head coach Inside The Gates and went undefeated in her first regular season; her and Shaq were on vacation when LP loss in the Regular Season Championship to Team Madness.

“I'm happy with the season” Jones said. “This is a great team so coaching is easy [for me], all I have to do is manage the subs”

Jones was asked by her husband and the rest of the team to coach the squad this year and it was a great decision. The main thing that everyone preached after the game was family first and I can tell this squad is a family.

Unfortunately, Lincoln Park, despite being one of the only teams that hasn't called up a “wild-card” (pro player) they will once again be watching the remainder of the playoffs.

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Playoff Time Inside The Gates

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Playoff Time Inside The Gates

Last month, Team Madness defeated Lincoln Park in the Ball-Up DC tournament, winning the $50,000 grand prize. Saturday Night, LP had an opportunity to get some revenge by winning the Goodman Regular Season title, but a second half surge by Madness denied that.

Madness came back from a 16-point deficit, defeating LP 76-73, thanks to a clutch go-ahead trey ball from team leader Andrew Washington aka Spongebob with 2 seconds remaining. Spongebob led all scorers with 31 points, scoring 15 points in the second half.

“We're two good teams” Spongebob said after I asked him about the chippy play. “Things are going to happen during [the] game that that make it more intense than what it gotta be”.

This game definitely had a playoff feel to it but both teams will live to see another day, single elimination now in effect for the remainder of the season.

Team Madness has officially won a title Inside the Gates, adding to their already decorated trophy case. Chris Howard also finished with 17 points.

Ojo led Lincoln Park in scoring with 19 points but only scored 4 points in the second half.

Both Madness and Lincoln Park will receive a 1st round bye, Madness holding the top-seed. I'm curious to see if either team will bring in some extra talent throughout the playoffs but neither need anymore help.

Sunday Night was the opening day of the Playoffs and it was a big crowd “Inside The Gates”.

First game of the night was between On-Point and Team 41. Both teams struggled to score points, first bucket coming 3 minutes into the first half. On-Point walked away with the victory, 42-31, advancing to the next round. Raymar led all scorers with 15 points.

The prime-time game was between Team Ariyuan, who has had their share of playoff woes, taking on the defending champs, Team All Daz. All Daz was short handed this game, only showing up with 5 players, but they played hard despite losing 41-60.

Ariyuan was led by Corey Allmond and sharpshooter Marcus Ashley, both combining for 24 points in the first half. Allmond and Ashley might be the best backcourt in the league, especially offensively. Allmond has great ability to find a shot off the crossover while Ashley has the purest jumper in the league.

I'm sure Dele Ojo and Bruce Massey has something to say about that, Massey playing in his last game of the season on Saturday. He is the leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.

Ariyuan looks like they have a good chance at making it to the Goodman Finals but they would have an even better chance if they had their star player and Goodman standout, Rob Lowry aka Jamaican Rob, but he will miss the rest of the season due to injury.

Ariyuan, Madness, and On-Point will wait to see who they play in the next round while Lincoln Park will make their playoff debut this week against the winner of Team Ulico and Team Taz.  

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CrimeStopper Joins Hoop Culture Inside The Gates

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CrimeStopper Joins Hoop Culture Inside The Gates

“Is that the kid that [was] stopping all the crime up in Baltimore?” one Goodman fan asked Commissioner Miles during our weekly interview.

That kid he was speaking of was the one and only Aquille Carr aka “Crimestopper”

Quille put on a show “Inside The Gates” Sunday Night, helping Hoop Culture win their final game of the regular season, defeating the Roc Boys 89-75 in a very entertaining Sunday Night Showdown.

“Representing Baltimore drive me ten-times harder than anybody from any other city” Aquille said. “I come from the bottom so I have no where else to go but to the top.”

It was nice seeing Quille back on the court. The last time I was able to watch the Crimestopper was back in 2013 when he playing for Princeton Day Academy. Since then, Aquille has made a few trips overseas playing in different leagues, most recently playing in Canada. He also mentioned that he will visit with the Houston Rockets next week.

Aquille scored 17 points with a couple impressive alley-oop dimes to Derrick Cook. Cook finished with 14 points, majority of which came from above the rim. Cook will be traveling to Greece to play ball this upcoming season.

White Chocolate led Hoop Culture with 21 points, showing off his range, knocking down a couple of trey balls. I have to give thanks and appreciation to the lovely ladies at the scorers table who always make sure I get the right stats.

Even though the score might show a blowout, this game was back-n-forth. It wasn't until the last two minutes of the first half that Hoop Culture began to pull away. Roc Boys had two players with 20+, DeAngelo with 24 and Tic with 22. DeAngelo was matched up with Quille for majority of the game, the two speedy guards went bucket-for-bucket in the first half.

Lo scored 18 points in the first half, 9 of which coming from behind the arc.

Team 41 and A-Team played in the first game of the day, Team 41 walking away with the victory 43-39. Bishop McNamera guard, Jamir Moultrie, led all scorers with 18 points, 11 of which came in the second half.

With the playoffs approaching, this was a good win for Hoop Culture who was without the Goodman veteran, D-Nice. Next Sunday will be the first day of the playoffs, which will be single elimination. As commissioner Miles would say, “Stay tuned!!”

 

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Don't Take It Personal

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Don't Take It Personal

Goodman League Friday Night was slated to have a big prime-time game between Lincoln Park and a team from New York.

That team from New York didn't know what hit them.

Lincoln Park destroyed Team NYC by 40-points, telling you the score is unnecessary. Commissioner Miles warned Team NYC that they were about to receive an “a** whooping” right before tip-off and that's exactly what it was.

The funny part about this game is before the game in the layup line, two of their players were having their own dunk show. It was impressive but it didn't amount to nothing during the game.

Lincoln Park is still undefeated and remain as one of the favorites to play in the Goodman League Championship game. Dele Ojo and Baby Shaq make them a very tough team to beat. Baby Shaq is probably the hardest player in the league to guard, while Ojo is the top candidate for this year's MVP crown.

In the first half against Team NYC, Baby Shaq only missed one shot but scored 18 points helping build Lincoln Park's 49-17 lead. Baby Shaq didn't play the second half but Ojo, Super Coup, and Pierre made sure that hefty lead didn't diminish.

I spoke with Ojo before the game and I can see why he is one the premier players in the Goodman League, and watching him on the court, its easy to see why he is the leading candidate for MVP. Ojo averages 20+ but he is not just offense. He is the prototype for a guard that plays both ends of the court. He can shoot, finish at the rim, plays the passing lanes like a cornerback but also strapped down in 1on1.

Playoffs are set to start next week and I'm not sure who will be able to beat Lincoln Park. They play good team defense, individual defense, have shooters, and dominate players. A few teams are capable of beating Lincoln Park. Drew All-Stars, Team Madness, Show Stoppers, Funkhouse and my sleeper pick Team Ariyuan are the teams I think could challenge Lincoln Park but it won't be easy.  

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