With no NBA Summer League and the lockout making other news sporadic, pro-am leagues around the country have seen a boost in both players who are participating and in coverage. Austin Daye is playing in arguably the country’s best pro-am, the Drew League in Los Angeles. ESPN’s Pedro Moura talked with Daye over the weekend and relayed a battle Daye had with Long Beach State’s Edis Dervisevic:
Detroit Pistons forward Austin Daye and Long Beach State forward Edis Dervisevic went at it on both sides of the court for possessions on end, much to the delight of a packed house at the park gymnasium, an attendance again boosted by rumors that Miami Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade planned to attend (the superstars were not there).
Daye won the battle, leading his Blazers to a hard-fought 71-63 comeback win over Cheaters II. But, for quite a while, it looked like Dervisevic would pull off an epic upset — at least early on, when the 49er was beating Daye on energy plays and sparking his team.
“Everyone wants to have a challenge out here, and his challenge was to go out there and guard me,” said Daye, a 2009 first-round pick of the Pistons, a part-time starter last season who averaged 7.5 points per game. “He did a good job, but it didn’t last throughout the whole game, because I wasn’t going to let that happen. But he earned my respect. I mean, he earned a lot of people’s respect.
“That right there just defines the Drew League.”
Dervisevic talked all kinds of trash to Daye, trying to get far inside the forward’s head. At one point in the second quarter, Daye was so visibly frustrated his coach, Rodrick Shannon, had to take him out of the game and replace him with Kenneth Faried.
Daye got the best of things in the second half, leading his team to the win. They are now 10-1 and leading a league that includes James Harden, Nick Young and DeMar DeRozan. LeBron James, Ron Artest, Josh Smith and other stars have also made appearances.
Closer to home, though it doesn’t have the starpower of some of the leagues across the country, there has been very good competition in the Moneyball Pro-Am League in Lansing this summer. Their playoffs are this weekend. The only current NBA player playing in the league is Charlie Bell, but most of Michigan State’s current roster is playing in it as are players from Central Michigan, Oakland University, Toledo and other colleges and current overseas professional players like Kelvin Torbert, Marquise Gray, William Hatcher and Lamar Rice. Games are intense and physical and if you’re missing basketball right now, it’s a great value — games are free, although donations are accepted since it is run by a non-profit organization. Game schedule, location and rosters are available here.
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