Hoop league in full swing

William Henry ‘Smush’ Parker.
Associated Press / J. Pat Carter, File

Now that the National Basketball Association schedule is over, most of the attention goes on building for next season and the free agent market during the off season. For the players on different levels especially those out of college, they are awaiting the next step-where will they be playing, or will they take it easy and searching for another line of work in their field.

The players are now taking ‘it’ to the courts once again for summer action-whether it be indoor or outdoor doesn’t really matter. Of course they rather play indoors during the evenings would be the best time.

This the Nike Pro City Summer Basketball League held at Baruch College in mid-town Manhattan. This league has been in existence for about four years at its present location on East 23rd Street and Lexington Avenue. It previously was contested at Hunter College.

For some games they are packed to capacity with every seat in the ‘bleachers’ taken and especially when hoop buffs see current stars playing in the NBA, or whe a youngster shines at a young age and is in the making. And former stars also excite the fans with their backcourt work and dunking ability. And one can’t count out the back court players who make the team ‘go.’

In the first game of the season, offense prevailed over defense in overtime.

Take, William Henry ‘Smush’ Parker, who played some high school ball here in New York City who is a typical example.

Smush Parker did not indicate that he would like another chance in playing for a team in the National Basketball Association.

All eyes were on him in a Nike New York Pro-City Summer Basketball League game. The way that he put the ball in the hoop and his overall play showed that he could go at ‘it’ once again.

Parker is a former outstanding point and a shooting guard at Newtown High, then the same at the College of Southern Idaho, and for two years, including sitting out for a year according to NCAA requirements, at Fordham University and later on in the NBA ‘D’ league.

He returned to New York, put on an X-men uniform to the delight of the crowded gym at Baruch College. They were cheering him on to continue to shine in front of them.

He scored 29 points, grabbed six rebounds, and scored five shots from long range out in a 114-111 overtime victory over Dyckman / NYAC in the league opener for both teams.

At press time, with summer break at Baruch College for its students, not many students are aware of this league and how competitive it can be.

“Since we don’t have much participation from the student body, we have a lot of ‘outside’ turnout from all over,” said a spokes person from the college. “This league has a loyal following.”

There are eight teams in the league with competition Tuesday and Thursday evening with two games an evening, the first one starting at 6:30 pm. It is a round robin league followed by playoffs and a championship game. The first four teams make the playoffs.

As the season goes along, the games draw more and more fans. This is just the beginning of what could be an exciting summer basketball competition.

This Nike Pro City Summer Basketball League is among one of the top leagues in New York City and is easy to get to by public transportation.

Competition in the league started in mid June and goes throughout August.

“We have great competition,” Parker went on. “I work on the stuff (the aspects of the game that I have to improve) on. I work on the individual parts of my game. Actually I work out at this gym so I say I have a home court advantage.”

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