Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Greater Hartford Pro-Am Kicks Off Saturday

The Greater Hartford Pro-Am basketball league will kick off its 14th season on Saturday at the Sports & Medicine Sc iences Academy in Hartford (yes, it’s air-conditioned). Games will run throughout the summer on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays, Wednesday and (occasionally) Fridays. Schedules should be available on within the next few days.

The league annually features some of the best past and present high school, college and even pro players of Connecticut, and this year is no different. While rosters are still in a state of flux (league CEO Peter Higgins is still putting it all together as we speak), numerous UConn players are expected to play.

The Springfield Slamm team, sponsored by the Palace nightclub, should feature newcomers Shabazz Napier, Jeremy Lamb and Michael Bradley along with Ater Majok. Kemba Walker and Alex Oriakhi may also play, and Jamal Coombs-McDaniel told me a few weeks ago he was thinking about participating.

Another entertaining team to watch should be Fairview Capital, which should have Andre Drummond, Doug Wiggins and Maryland-via-Torrington’s Jordan Williams on its roster.

Other intriguing names who will play when their AAU, national and/or summer pro schedules will allow them to will be Ryan Gomes, Jerome Dyson, Allen Chaney (Virginia Tech via New London), Keith Cothran and Lamonte Ulmer (the latter two URI-via-New Haven), not to mention stars from U-Hart, Quinnipiac, CCSU, UNH and other local schools.

The Sports & Medicine Sciences Academy is a sparkling, two-year-old facility that (as previously mentioned) is air-conditioned, giving fans a comfortable (and free) setting to watch some good hoops – and other entertainment. Higgins hopes to have halftime singing and rap acts, in a “Connecticut’s Got Talent” type of forum.

In another nice touch, there will be a heart defibrillator on-site, donated by Gomes’ Hoops For Heart Health program. Gomes’ program distributes defibrillators to college, high school, boys & girls clubs, YMCA’s and other gyms across the country.

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