First let’s start with the final pairings in the Seattle Summer Basketball League. The league concludes Wednesday at North Seattle Community College and the action begins 6 p.m. with the Knicks (Aziz N’Diaye and Isaiah Thomas) and Sonics.
The main attraction is a 7 p.m. matchup that features Boston (Scott Suggs, C.J. Wilcox, Desmond Simmons, Martin Breunig, Andrew Andrews and Seattle University’s Clarence Trent) against the Lakers (Darnell Gant, Terrence Ross, Tony Wroten Jr., Shawn Kemp Jr., Hikeem Stewart and Jernard Jarreau).
At 8 p.m. the Suns play the 76ers (Washington State’s Reggie Moore) followed by a 9 p.m. game between Chicago and Miami.
Parking and admission are free.
The rosters are extremely flexible. For instance, Suggs has been out of town the past few weeks, but he played Monday night and helped his squad to an easy 66-35 victory with several notable figures in attendance including former UW star Donald Watts and his famous father Slick, the Sonics icon, SU athletic director Bill Hogan, Louisville guard and former Franklin High star Peyton Siva and NBA standout Jamal Crawford.
Suggs was just as good as ever. He ran the offense at times, sank a couple of step-back three-pointers and powered in a handful of dunks in transition. Still, he wasn’t the best player on the court. Those honors go to Trent, who was extremely active on both ends of the floor.
When the former UW wing plays like he did last night, he reminds me of Terrence Williams, the former Rainier Beach star and two-year NBA pro. Physically Trent can overpower smaller guards. He’s also quicker than most forwards and has the ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the basket where he usually finishes with a flush. The difference between Trent and Williams is Williams is an exceptional playmaker who led Louisville in assists for three years whereas Trent often looks to create scoring opportunities for himself.
Simmons and Breunig also made significant contributions. Simmons sank a number of three-pointers while Breunig drove to the rack for a couple of jams.
The next game featuring Ross’ team against a scrappy bunch was more entertaining. The dynamic Washington guard played without Gant, Wroten, Stewart and Jarreau, but he was aided by Kemp and former UW guard Venoy Overton, who sported a new-look full beard.
Ross’ team trailed 27-19 at halftime and looked as if it was going to lose decisively. Ross was picked clean twice in the open court and Kemp had difficulty with an undersized big man who was active around the rim.
In the second half, they sparked a comeback. Kemp took over during a five-minute stretch and played like the biggest guy on the court. When he gets the ball in his sweet spot, which is below the rim, he’s virtually unstoppable. He’s not a one-legged, layup type of guy. He goes up with two hands and throws it down, which helps him to absorb contact.
Kemp powered in dunks and Ross did his best to take over down the stretch. He gave his team a 48-46 lead with a layup, but the other team tied the score in the final minute. With 9.7 seconds remaining in overtime, Overton had a chance to put his squad ahead, but missed a pair of free throws and the game went into overtime.
In the 2-minute extra period, Ross’ team fell behind early. They trailed 56-53 with 6.1 seconds left and had possession. Ross worked hard to free himself from his defender and barked for the ball, but his team never got off a shot as time expired. After the game, Ross was visibly upset and appeared to verbally lash out at teammates.
It’s difficult to make definitive assessments from summer league games, but Ross’ squad has lost three straight games when it appeared as if it had superior talent.