I will write about both of these games, but I first just wanted to talk a little bit about my first experience at the Drew League. I have never covered the competition before, and I found little online about it so far, so I had no idea what to expect when walking into the gym in Watts, California. The outcome was unexpected to me, but in a great way.
I walked in and I decided not to sit in the section of reporters, and I did this for one reason. I wanted to meet the people in the city of Watts, those who had been attending the Drew League for over a decade. This was the best decision I could have made, as I got inside information on who the best players were and the history behind this league. I first learned that the NBA players weren’t coming until July 2nd, and for this reason the gym wasn’t packed at all, but on July 2nd, I was told to get there an hour early to the action as the gym will be packed then to see some of the best players in the world face off. I’ll have some coverage on that weekend soon.
I can’t emphasize enough how shocked I was by how close this community was and how the Drew League brought all of these neighbors together. It seemed like everybody knew everybody and they were all excited to be with their neighbors to watch basketball. It didn’t matter if the teams were good or bad, the community just wanted to be there. Everyone was friendly and was more than happy to share with me some information on the league. It really showed me just how this league can bring the community together.
Recap: BB4L vs. I-Can All Stars
This game matched up the undefeated BB4L and the 7th place I-Can All Stars, led by reigning Drew League MVP Vincent “The Bodysnatcher” Camper. The I-Can All-Stars also boasted a former NCAA champion in DeAndre Daniels, the former UConn Huskie who helped to win them a championship in 2014. Even though the All Stars came into this game at seventh place, they had some big names, so this game had the opportunity to be an exciting one.
- With 6:10 left in the 1st, reigning MVP Vincent Camper, nailed a three and then grabbed a steal on the other end, finishing the play with a layup to narrow the lead to one point.
- Sheldon Boykins Jr. somehow made a circus layup and nailed the free throw after to give the I-Can All-Stars a 10-8 lead over BB4L. Two minutes later, he nailed a three to give the I-Can All Stars a 15-14 lead.
- At the end of the first quarter, Justin Cobbs sunk a step-back jumper from mid-range. Making the score 24-18 in favor of the All Stars.
- The All Stars pulled away at the end of the first, and every highlight play seemed to be produced by the All-Stars. It looked like the All-Stars could hand BB4L their first loss of the season.
- Early in the second quarter, Jordan Mackie hit a step back three over Vincent Camper to narrow the lead to 26-23.
- After this point, it was all BB4L as about a minute later, Van Girard crossed up the defender and then spun in for the circus layup. This finally gave BB4L the lead at 27-26. The I-Can All Stars had not scored a point yet in the second quarter.
- BB4L continued to produce highlight after highlight, as Charles J slammed one home on an assist from Ervin Ware. This made the game 36-32 in favor of BB4L.
- The I-Can All Stars went into the locker room at halftime down 42-32, and it didn’t get much better after the second half started.
The former NCAA champion DeAndre Daniels finally started to make an impact as he threw a beautiful cross-court pass to Justin Cobbs for three. This made it a ten-point game midway through the third quarter. At the end of the third quarter, Vincent “The Bodysnatcher” Camper got the hoop and the harm and eventually sunk the following free throw. This brought the I-Can All Stars closer but the game was already out of hand by the end of the third. BB4L had more than a double digit lead over the All Stars and the reigning Drew League MVP.
With the game already out of hand, there wasn’t much competition in the fourth. Power Forward Eugene Phelps got his double-double and so did center Van Girard. Vincent Camper still found his way on the stat sheet though, whether it be by driving in or at the charity stripe. At the end of the fourth, BB4L won 84-74, bettering their record and extending their undefeated streak to three games.
Ervin Ware (9 PTS, 7 AST, 3 STL)
Van Girard (30 PTS, 13 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL)
Eugene Phelps (17 PTS, 12 REB, 3 AST)
Vincent “The Bodysnatcher” Camper (24 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 6 TO)
Shelton Boykins Jr. (26 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 1 BLK)
Justin Cobbs (15 PTS, 3 REB)
Birdie’s Revenge vs. No Shnacks
While no NBA players will be competing until July 2nd, there was one celebrity competing. Birdie’s Revenge boasted Grammy and Billboard nominated rapper “The Game”.
- The game - I’m not referring to the rapper - started off slow and defensive. It took a while for both teams to get the feel of things, but once they started, it was highlight after highlight. It started when Deshawn Stephens shook the rim with a monstrous slam that got the crowd wild and also put No Shnacks up 6-2 halfway through the first.
- About a minute later, he hit a stepback three to make the game 14-8 in favor of No Shnacks. To this point, The Game - yes I mean the rapper - had been very quiet. Let’s just say he models his game after a certain MVP, but his impersonation wasn’t quite on. More on that later.
- Toward the end of the first, Franklin Session drove in and got fouled, but he somehow made the shot and the following free throw. This play was crucial, as it tied up the game and brought Birdie’s Revenge back into it.
- Continuing on his acrobatics, Session drove in at the end of the first, and made a layup right after a nasty spin move that had the whole crowd and the opposing team wondering ‘What just happened?’.
- Birdie’s Revenge started to gain some momentum at the beginning of the second when Stephuan Branch came off the bench and slammed one home on a fastbreak to tie up the game.
- Midway through the second, The Game had his one and only highlight, which was a deep three to tie up the game again. The Game didn’t help out Birdie’s Revenge too much after that though, as his frequent three point attempts led to him shooting 2-16 from three point range.
- Probably the craziest play of the entire game happened when Willie Reed of Birdie’s Revenge sent one back ferociously, and on the other end, Deshawn Stephens of No Shnacks matched his block exactly. This lead to Adam Jacko of No Shnacks to slam one home toward the end of the second.
- Franklin Session tied the game at 40 with his buzzer-beater layup at the end of the half. To this point, both teams had been even on the glass and in turnovers and it looked to keep that way so long as Deshawn Stephens and Willie Reed were on the floor for their respective teams.
- Willie Reed really took over in the second half and he became the Player of the Game, at least in my mind, but I’m sure that many would agree. Willie Reed, and all 6’10 of him, pulled off a fantastic eurostep to give Birdie’s Revenge an eight point lead.
- Toward the end of the third, after Willie Reed had dominated defensively, he posterized the No Shnacks defender in a play that not only got the crowd wild, but brought all the momentum to Birdie’s Revenge.
- Sango Niang hit a deep three pointer to narrow Birdie’s lead to seven. Niang finished with 24 points but didn’t contribute in many other ways.
- The fourth quarter was all about trading buckets, as Birdie’s Revenge made one big three, but No Shnacks came back on the other end answered it with one of their own. Even with the effort from No Shnacks, they were still down 66-55 midway through the fourth. The rest of the fourth comprised of both teams matching each other on each end and there weren’t many big plays to point out. The score difference remained the same at 73-63.
- With 30 seconds left in the game and the winner already decided, Willie Reed caught an in-bound’s alley-oop from Timothy Johnson and threw it down with such force I almost thought the rim was going to break. This play was a perfect ending to what a game full of many highlights and a celebrity rapper. The final score was 78-73 in favor of Birdie’s Revenge.
Franklin Session (17 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST, 4 STL)
Willie Reed (25 PTS, 8 REB, 2 BLK)
The Game (6 PTS, 2-16 3PT)
Deshawn Stephens (14 PTS, 9 REB, 4 AST)
Sango Niang (24 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST)
Adam Janko (9 PTS, 8 REB, 2 AST)