Drew League Week 6: Frank Nitty Scores a Triple-Double, Classic Bobby Brown vs. Jonathan Gibson Shootout, and more…

Seven weeks remain in the regular season. Inching closer to the playoffs (start Aug. 4), there’s no room for any excuses amidst the next few critical weeks, as teams begin to finalize their roster and buckle down to win the rest of their games to ensure a playoff clinch. Here is a recap of the top three matchups from week 6: Continue reading “Drew League Week 6: Frank Nitty Scores a Triple-Double, Classic Bobby Brown vs. Jonathan Gibson Shootout, and more…”

Drew League Week 5 Recap: Coach Off Between Baron Davis and Nick Young, Montrezl Harrell Goes Off for 37 points

The Drew League experienced its first official lockdown of the season as Nick Young’s Most Hated Players (M.H.P.) battled against Baron Davis’ BB4L. It’s safe to say it was a wild and exciting week of action at the Drew League. Here is a recap of the top three matchups from week 5:

BB4L vs. MHP

(Jada Stokes/LoJo Media)

When two Warriors and former champs go head to head, it tends to do things like shut down the entire gym. The Drew League experienced its first lockdown game of the season as the charismatic spectators flooded in to watch former Warrior Baron Davis’ undefeated BB4L team face off against current Warrior and reigning champion Nick Young’s undefeated M.H.P. team. 

There were many heated moments as Swaggy P and Davis traded choice words. Davis remained standing at the head of the bench for the entire game. It appeared as though the player-coach was ready to suit up and play. The scene made for great entertainment for the capacity crowd.    

BB4L’s Keith Shamburger got hot early. He nailed 5-5 from the field, a foreshadow of him ultimately being named Player of the Game. BB4L kept rolling and maintained a consistent lead heading into each quarter.

Both teams heading into second half played tight defense while the offense lagged. M.H.P. had an opportunity to tie the game in third quarter with a pair of free throws.

“Sped them up, made them shoot quick three’s and as soon as we got the ball it  just run and get good layups and open shots,” said former league MVP and champion Casper Ware Jr. on their approach and strategy. They did just that and moved forward without a blemish to their perfect 6-0 record.

Pandas vs. Clozers

With only one decisive victory this season, the Clozers’ small-bodied team continued to scramble to find their missing puzzle pieces in hopes of becoming a more complete team. The Clozers’  size and lack of bodies remains a concern that will need to find a proper answer when facing teams with notable Drew League veterans, such as former league MVP Vince Camper and former NBA player Metta World Peace.

The Pandas approach against the Clozers was a simple yet effective strategy, match their energy.

“[The strategy] was to outplay them,” remarked Camper who scored 22 points in the victory on Sunday. “They’re a younger team, so match their energy, make them play.”

Clozers’ “run and gun” approach was a tactic that fell short against the Pandas. From Missed shots to simply failing to box out, and having an incomplete roster served as a major factor for the “L” they took.

“First of all we have to get some bodies out there, I mean I myself can’t be playing center and it’s putting me out my game,” said Clozers’ Corey Hill. “We gotta stay focused, box out, stay playing physical and make shots. We just wasn’t making shots.”

Hank’s Panthers vs. LAUNFD

LAUNFD and Hank’s Panthers, the battle between the two undefeated teams, went full throttle to dethrone one another’s winning streak. The beast mode was activated early, Montrezl Harrell (Trezz) went off for 37 points and nine rebounds, rightfully earning “Player of the Week” honors.

(Nick Tomoyasu/LoJo Media)

“We just look at it as another game and just went in and played the right way,” said Trezz. “We don’t go in matching records with nobody, we go in it playing one game at a time.”

Trezz and his teammates might not lose sleep over where their team ranks, but this win extended their record to 6-0.  

Hank’s Panthers were missing one of their anchors on Saturday, Salem Mawugbe. The Panthers allowed LAUNFD to build a nine point lead against them, which shifted the momentum and extended to a 21-point deficit in the third quarter.

Although the Panthers may not have that one identifiable superstar that carries the team, their chemistry is what has been winning them games.

“Our team is really balanced,” Da’Shawn Gomez stated. “Everybody gets within 10-15 points, going forward I think we’ll be fine.”

Above photos courtesy Nick Tomoyasu/LoJo Media

LoJo’s Top Five NBA Summer League Players

The NBA Summer League 2018 is heating up with the start of all 30 teams playing in Las Vegas on Friday (July 6). The summer league is usually a combination of new draftees and first or second year NBA players from each team. Most summer league rosters feature some G-League players as well. All with one common denominator, something to prove on the court for an opportunity to play in the NBA. The games are pretty consistent with the NBA with the exception of it being four 10-minute quarters and some other minor differences. Here are LoJo’s top five prospects who are projected to lead the charge in this year’s NBA summer league.

  1. Deandre Ayton(Phoenix Suns, C)The number one draft pick’s height, size, and strength has competition, fans, and coaches eager to see what is to come in the future for not only the summer league, but the Suns as an organization as well. Ayton has already been speculated to be the toughest competitor to maintain in the summer league. We suspect he will be a strong threat to his opponent’s defense with his shooting ability and pick and roll offense.
  2. Marvin Bagley III(Sacramento Kings, PF/C) The 6’11, 235-pound prospect is expected to light things up offensively in the summer league. His size and offensive grittiness makes him a top contender and threat to his competitors this summer. Bagley made his debut Monday against the LA Lakers with 18 points, six rebounds, and three blocks, finalizing the game 98-93. The hot commodity’s offensive style is projecting him to make a strong impact.

  3. Jaren Jackson Jr. (Memphis Grizzlies, PF) – The former Spartan displayed what his full skillset on Tuesday against the Atlanta Hawks. Jackson shot eight three pointers with a total of 29 points proving he’s a hot contender in the summer league. In his NBA debut, he garnered a tremendous amount of attention from coaches, critics, and fans; the question now is what will he do next?
  4. Trae Young(ATL Hawks, PG) – Although the 19-year-old prospect had a slow start in his first game Monday, he began to pick up the pace and gain the momentum of his shots Tuesday against the Spurs in the second half. Young went 4-for-8 from the field and scored eight of his 12 points. The number five pick makes it clear his focus is to make the right plays and lead his team to increasing their made shots. His leadership mentality puts him in a position to take the Hawks to a new level this summer and we’re excited to see where the young hawk takes them.

    (Courtesy Photo NBA)
  5. Kevin Knox (NY Knicks, F) – The 6’9 ninth overall pick has been proving he’s hungry for greatness with the recent criticism faced in regards to his work ethic and fitness. The young prospect has been putting in the extra work for conditioning, training, and being able to sustain his energy. In addition to Knox consistently conditioning at the Knicks training facility, he participated in his first formal summer league practice Tuesday and was let it be known he was determined and focused on what he needed to do win. We project Knox’s new physical and mental attitude will drive his hunger to win, leading him to be a threat in the summer league.
  6. Bonus Aaron Holiday (IND Pacers, G) – Selected at number 23, Aaron Holiday dropped 23 points in his NBA Summer League debut and has the potential to go down as the sleeper of this year’s draft class.  The 6’1 point guard out of UCLA led the Bruins to an NCAA Tournament appearance after a controversial start to the team’s season. With the dismissal of three of his teammates, Holiday stepped up in a major way emerging as a leader for the Bruins’ young squad. Last season he averaged 20.3 points, 5.8 assists, and 3.7 rebounds per game to earn All-Pac-12 First Team honors. Both his older brothers, Jrue Holiday (Pelicans) and Justin Holiday (Bulls) are actively playing in the NBA.

No Excuses, Pat Rembert Produces

Pat Rembert, the Drew League 2016 co-MVP and LA Loop star, adopted the “Mamba mentality” by studying and observing Kobe Bryant in the flesh every day for four years. Rembert applies that mentality when he steps on the court both at the Drew League and overseas.  

“Kobe Bryant was one of my favorite players since I was little and I was able to see him every day for four years,” Rembert said.

Bryant and Rembert went to the same gym to train in Newport Beach, Calif. That is where Rembert was able to sit in on some of the Laker legends’ workouts.

“He would be on the track at 5 a.m., then he’d be on the [basketball] court, and then he’d lift at 12 p.m.,” recalled Rembert.

It was then that Rembert realized the work it took to achieve such greatness. Rembert, who has spent the past seven seasons playing professionally overseas, lifts weights at 6 in the morning. He then trains with Drew League coach Keion Kindred from 8-10 a.m., which is followed by yoga. He has a quick lunch break and gets right back to it for another basketball court workout.

Nick Tomoyasu/LoJo Media

“Training, training, training and enjoying life,” Rembert described his offseason. “I get everything done early, that’s another thing I learned from Kobe, get everything done early so you can have your days.”

Rembert has played overseas in several countries including, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Dubai, Egypt, Qatar, Lebanon, and Turkey. He always finds his way back home to the City of Angels just in time for the summer. The hardwood in the King Drew Magnet High school gym on 120th Street in Compton to compete every weekend at the Drew League, an opportunity every hooper dreams of.

“I’ve had friends I played overseas with that live in New York or Ohio, that say they just wanna be able to say they played in the Drew,” said Rembert. “The competition, the crowd. I love LA, this is home. It’s nothing like it to just compete, seeing your friends, guys you look up to that are coming from the NBA every summer, it’s what I truly love about it.”

(Nick Tomoyasu/LoJo Media)

Rembert has had a tight-knit relationship with Coach Kindred since college. Kindred, who trains several players at the Drew also coaches two Drew League teams, Redemption and L.A. Loop. When Rembert first started playing at the Drew, he was playing with Redemption. Rembert’s last season with Redemption came in 2016 when he earned co-MVP honors along with Franklin “Nitty” Sessions. Rembert led the league in scoring that year and became a household name.

“I was coming back from Qatar and Keion called me and he said ‘Listen, you’re gonna have your own team this summer, it’s up to you,’” Rembert recalled. “I was always on Redemption and we always had a stacked team, so many players that were good.”

Kindred put Rembert on LA Loop the following summer, a team to make his very own and told him his one responsibility was to lead his new team to the playoffs.

His first two seasons on the LA Loop, he helped lead his team to the 2016 and 2017 playoffs. 

This summer, Rembert is focused on winning a Drew League championship. He also has his sights set on returning to the MVP conversation. With players like “Nitty” still competing at a high level, both a championship and MVP honors are never an easy feat at the Drew.

“I don’t want to say it’s difficult, it’s a challenge I like to embrace,” Rembert said of the competition. “I’ve known Frank “Nitty” and we actually train together, so it’s like something I embrace. I love competition.”

Competition is something Rembert is no stranger to having played overseas for so long. Players have different narratives on opting to play overseas, but coming from the man who has played in eight different countries, Rembert maintains that he has no regrets.  

“It was a tough situation but I’m glad I did it,” said Rembert. “You’re gonna go to a place that’s not gonna have everything you want, no Chipotle or Jamba Juice you can run to. It’s gonna be the complete opposite of what you’re every day is like.”

(Nick Tomoyasu/LoJo Media)

Playing overseas was an eye-opening experience for Rembert that allowed him to delve into unfamiliar cultures and lifestyles.

“It helps you to grow up,” Rembert remarked. “We’re in America kind of sheltered. We see certain stuff on the news, but I’ve been to the Middle East and it is not what the news says, it’s safe. It’s not what everyone portrays it to be.”

Whether it is overseas or at the Drew League, no excuses, Rembert produces. This could be Rembert’s year once again, as he strives to lead LA Loop to a Drew League championship and add another MVP award to his mantle.

 

Los Angeles Sparks Regroup with Win Against Las Vegas Aces

Jantel Lavender had a season high of 17 points to lead all scorers in the Los Angeles Sparks’ win against the Las Vegas Aces 87-71 on Sunday (July 1).

The Sparks suffered a 16 point loss at the hands of the Aces on Friday (June 29) in Vegas (94-78). The loss lit a spark in the Sparks.   Continue reading “Los Angeles Sparks Regroup with Win Against Las Vegas Aces”