Summer basketball league is on the move

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The Pittsburgh Basketball Club pro-am summer basketball league will not be staged in Green Tree this year but will continue to provide fans a great opportunity to see top players from local colleges.

PBC president John Giammarco said the league, which starts play June 23, will move from the Greentree SportsPlex, its home the past seven years, to Montour High School’s new facilities.

The move was made because more teams are in the league and Montour has two basketball courts available. There will be four games a night instead of three.

“The way the NCAA rules have changed for this year, we can only have two players from any one Division I college on each team,” Giammarco said. “It used to be we could only have two, but incoming players — the freshmen, the transfers — they did not count, so you could put, for instance, two Pitt players and two of their recruits on the same team.

“Now, we can’t do that, they all count, so we have to have eight teams instead of six. At Montour, we can have two courts going, and that is a brand new beautiful facility, with great parking, a lot of seating and a lot of modern technology, like hookups for the shot clocks. So this is a great move for the league.”

Montour is not far from Green Tree so college players don’t have to worry about the move. NCAA rules state that players must either play college basketball or live within 100 air miles of the summer league’s venue.

“Montour is 86.2 air miles from Morgantown, so the WVU guys can still play,” Giammarco said. “The league should be a lot of fun, and it is really one of these things that has grown to be much more than just great competition, it is a basketball fanfest, if you will.

“We have a lot of people come to these games to see the newcomers, the incoming freshmen, but also this is a lot of people’s best chance to see Division I basketball up close as the games are all free. And the guys who have been in the league have been great about taking pictures with fans, signing autographs after games and that has been a really cool part of it.”

The league begins June 23 and will run every Monday and Wednesday through the week of July 21. There will be two games at 7 p.m., and two at 8:15. Play should end about an hour earlier than last season.

“The nice thing about two gyms is we are able to eliminate that 9 p.m. time slot,” Giammarco said. “A lot of these guys have class the next morning, and that late game, especially for the West Virginia guys, was becoming tough. Now it shouldn’t be an issue as they will be done by 9 or close to it.”

Players from Pitt, West Virginia, Robert Morris and Duquesne will participate. There will again be an alumni team and a number of former players who are on Division I teams elsewhere will participate.

“The tough thing with some of the guys who go to school elsewhere, like say a TJ McConnell (Chartiers Valley High School, Arizona University) is they have summer school, so they may not be back home for the entire season,” Giammarco said. “But a lot of those players come back and play for a few weeks or whatever, and we always have appearances by some of the pros, like a DaJuan Blair.

“The new rules are aimed at the new realities of college basketball — where we have a lot of turnover, a lot of one-and-dones, a lot of transfers. It was getting to the point where some colleges could put their whole roster on one summer league team and play all summer, and that’s not allowed.”

Giammarco said he will put together the rosters for league teams early next week.

“It is a cool thing for fans to see guys from Pitt and Duquesne and Robert Morris play on the same team and compete against each other,” Giammarco said.

“A couple of years ago, we had a huge crowd, overflow crowd for the first day Steven Adams was scheduled to play and now people get to watch him on TV in the NBA playoffs and say they got to see him play live before he was a superstar. That kind of thing makes this really neat for the fans.”


Paul Zeise: pzeise@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1720 and Twitter @paulzeise.

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