One of my favorite yearly events is the summer league at North Seattle Community College. It’s a sanctioned NCAA event, and typically features numerous Huskies. I attended a number of the games last year and in addition to seeing some epic matchups, the games allowed fans to see new Huskies as well.
Last season, was my introduction to Martin Breunig, Andrew Andrews and Jernard Jarreau. Oh, and the audience typically included such basketball luminaries as Slick Watts, Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson and Eldridge Recasner. Not too shabby. The vibe is really relaxed and laid back, with the crowd enthusiastically responding to each thunderous dunk, no look pass and deep three.
What are some of the things to watch for this summer? Here are some thoughts.
First, watch how Abdul Gaddy leads. This is Gaddy’s team. He’s earned the respect of his teammates and coaches, and though the summer league is loose and only semi “organized”, it is nonetheless a fitting prelude for asserting one’s self as the floor general.
Secondly, as Gaddy’s heir apparent, watch for the development of Andrew Andrews. I was thoroughly impressed with Andrews’ pace, aggressiveness and ability to see the floor and get to the rim. In fact, on many occasions, Andrews looked like one of the few who wanted to play both ends of the floor.
Assuming they are in town, watch for the contribution of Suggs and Wilcox. I’d love to see them on opposite teams. I recall several times last year, like a good jazz tenor battle (for you jazz fans – all three of you!), a “call” would go out from Suggs or Wilcox, who would hit a long three, and Ross would answer at the other end with a three of his own. And back and forth they’d go! If Suggs and Wilcox are opposite each other, expect similar fireworks from beyond the arc.
Finally, watch for the contribution of Mark McLaughlin. Watch how he gels with his new teammates and integrates his talents into the flow of the game. The summer league should be a great platform for McLaughlin to show what he can do on both ends of the floor.
Watch for the improvements of the sophomores, Breunig, Kemp and Jarreau. Making the leap from high school ball to D-1 as a freshman can be daunting, especially in a system like Romar’s, which demands so much particularly on the defensive end. Though summer ball is not akin to the rigors of league play, it should be interesting to see who asserts themselves.
Watch for Simmons to again demonstrate why he was so deserving of minutes last year, even if he did eventually hit a bit of a “freshman wall”. His hustle last year during the summer was in no way a front; he’s got heart and motor, which will no doubt be on display once again.
In a similar fashion to McLaughlin, transfer Perris Blackwell will be more than worth the look on Monday nights. The Huskies have desperately needed a big man with a back to the basket game, and Blackwell’s declared that to be a prominent facet of his attack. In a free-flowing format such as the summer league, Blackwell’s game down low will stand out and certainly garner some attention.
Games are on Mondays, beginning June 25th. Here’s the website and I’d presume that rosters will follow soon. Make it out if you can. Parking and admission are free.