Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Durham a Mecca for Summer League Basketball

There's no denying it, Durham is intensely passionate about its basketball. Durham's Duke University boasts one of the strongest basketball programs in the county, one of the best revered coaches in college sports and  a stadium full of Crazies.  So, what's a rabid hoops fan to do in the off season? Join the sell-out crowds at North Carolina Central University's McLendon-McDougald Gymnasium for the S.J.G. Greater NC Pro-AM.

The Pro-AM is a NCAA certified summer hoops league with a rapidly growing fan-base among athletes and fans alike. The Pro-AM blends professional athletes and collegiate players with local high school all-stars to make up the teams. For the first time in the league's four year history, the 2011 season also features women's teams. 

The Pro-Am has drawn a healthy number of NBA players in years past but with the NBA lockout in full effect, more NBA stars are making their way to the Bull City. This year, the Pro-Am boasts participation from NBA stars John Wall, Jerry Stackhouse, Josh Powell, Chris Wilcox, Rasheed Wallace, Kyrie Irving and Jawad Williams and college stars including Seth Curry,  Mason Plumlee, Harrison Barnes, Austin Rivers, John Henson, CJ Leslie, Lorenzo Brown and countless others.

The league brings current celebrities and next year's possible draft picks under one roof while also encouraging grassroots mentoring among the athletes. Professional athletes who have a connection to the community come back to mentor local college players who in turn mentor and motivate area high school athletes.

Basketball fans are encouraged to show up early in order to ensure a seat in the 3,056 person capacity McLendon-McDougald gymnasium. Look to the 2011 S.J.G. Greater NC Pro-Am schedule for upcoming games; if you're a Crazy in need of a fix, look here for Duke Highlights.

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