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Chi-Town's Finest - South Side vs West Side - Sep 10, 2011

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Eurobasket's Articles

What up World?? First, Thanking God for the opportunity to share my experiences in the basketball world. Big ups to Eurobasket for giving me the chance to share!

I hope that all is going well with my friends and fans in Syria, as all this turmoil is being solved. Stay Safe over There!! I'm praying for you'll!!

The off season is the longest, most boring part of a basketball career, yet it is very beneficial to your development as a player. Some use it to get quicker, stronger, more skilled, etc. The only thing that gets exciting in the summer for me is the Pro Ams in the city of the Chi. Chicago has, and always will be known for producing some of the worlds best, and most popular, players: Cappie Pondexter (175-G-83, college: Rutgers), Dwyane Wade (193-G-82, college: Marquette) and Derrick Rose (193-G-88, college: Memphis) to name a few. Chicago also has some players that dominate the summer, from Pro Ams to Hood Tournaments to pro basketball leagues across the world. This summer, I got to witness some of this talent up close and personal.

Playing with some former High School teammates and rivals, my team, Make It Rain, found itself in the Championship game for the second year in a row at the Chicago West Haven Safe Summer League. With the same core players as last summer of myself, Kenyon Gamble (212-C-82, college: Tuskegee), Ronald Davis (190-G-82, college: Wisc.-Milwaukee), D-Man, Jerwin Callaway (188-G-86, college: Robert Morris), Dion Dixon (190-G-89), Bink, Red and Diddy and the addition of Two TOP TIER point guards David Bailey (173-G-81, agency: Priority Sports, college: Loyola, IL) and Al Stewart (178-G-83, college: Drake), our team was better suited to actually win the Championship game this time around. We had to grind out a grueling 3 game series against former Kansas star Sharon Collins, KC Love and J.R., which went down to the final play of the final game, where the city got to witness one of the best veteran PG's to play the game, David Bailey (173-G-81, agency: Priority Sports, college: Loyola, IL), and the well known, and very talented young PG Sharon Collins. They didn't disappoint the crowd one bit. Basket after basket in their one on one match-ups and some serious gestures to the crowd after each basket; ONLY IN THE CHI. They gym was gong bananas as they took turns making clutch play after clutch play. It was great to be a part of such an environment. The second round put us up against the supremely offensively talented Jamarcus Ellis (196-G/F-85) (Tone Tone), Jitim Young (188-G-81, college: Northwestern), Jamaal Brown (178-G-84) Lil Dre and Mike Edwards. If you don't know who Tone Tone is, you better ask the young fella who got all 55 points of his latest barrage of buckets in the first round of the playoffs. After dropping the first game in the series, we had to claw our way back, re-strategize, devise a strategy to slow Tone Tone down (big ups to Ronald Davis for sacrificing his offense to focus solely on Tone), which led to a win by a big margin in the second game. The third game of the series went down to the wire, and big games by Red and myself along with some clutch buckets in the end by our PGs, and we were in the Championship game for the second year in a row.

Leading up the Championship, I kept hearing about this team from the South Side of Chicago, whom eliminated the Champs from last year; they put out Tony Bennett (185-G-84, college: Bradley)'s team who finds themselves in the Championship of almost every tournament they participate in, so we all knew this South Side team had to be FOR REAL. All of my teammates and I being from the West Side, the city automatically put it as a South Side vs West Side event, being played on the West Side where the Rockwell Project buildings used to stand 20 stories tall. The social networks were definitely buzzing about this game. Twitter, Facebook, Hi-5, and even the extinct Myspace had something to say. You got half of the gym shouting things about the South Side while the other half is screaming stuff about the West Side. The gym is electric! Packed to capacity with hundreds more attempting to trample security in order to get into the gym. People are sitting on the floor, the ceiling, the walls and each other too. The emcee is pumping the crowd up even more with his exhilarating introductions to every player. The players no longer have a bench to rest on because of the crowd. There is no room to take the ball out of bounds, so you often find yourself just getting as close to the sideline as possible and toss the ball to a teammate (the refs knowing there was no way to take the ball out the proper way didn't call the violations that would be called in a normal game). You got NBA players and former Chicago Bulls in the building, from the young and exciting crossover machine, Will Bynum (180-PG-83, agency: Priority Sports, college: Georgia Tech), to the 3 time NBA champion Bill Wennington (213-C-63, college: St.John's) to one of the original Bulls, Bob Love. This was most definitely the place to be on this hot summer day whether you were from the 'Hood or the 'Burbs. I must say the game did not disappoint.

From the Jump ball- won by my team- we went down missed a 3 point shot, and 3 seconds later the South Sider had 3 on the board. From that point on, it was non-stop action, with my team on the bad end of the oooos and aaaaahhhhs from the capacity crowd. I must admit I was on the end of one of them myself. This is how it happened...Miss by my team, rebound by South Side, outlet to Jerome Randle (178-G-87, college: California), pass to Osiris Eldridge (191-G-88, college: Illinois St.) on the wing, gamble on the steal by Ronald Davis, me running the opposite wing on defense. I get my patented 1-2 step ready to block this ball in the 5th row, and before I could leave my feet, Osiris Eldridge (191-G-88, college: Illinois St.) was jumping from one step inside the Free Throw line a la LeBron James (203-F-84). I put the brakes on FAST, and knew better than to get in his way. BOOOOOOM, the crowd goes WILD. All I could do was make sure he didn't tweak an ankle coming off of the basketball rim...hahaha. I must say, unless it was for the money, I wasn't getting in that young man's business hahaha. That wasn't it. I looked up at the scoreboard, and we were down 17-3. Unbelievable, TIME OUT!! We come out of the time out, and those young whippasnappas seem to have gotten more energy from the time out. Threeee, Threeee, Threeee on after the other. First it's Royce Parran (175-G-85, college: Chicago St.), then it's Stefhon Hannah (185-G-85, college: Missouri), then it's Jerome Randle (178-G-87, college: California), then it's Osiris with some dunk straight off of 2K11; takes off like he gonna do a Jordan lean in, decided mid-air to turn it into a full 360, and throws it down like Darryl Dawkins. Need I say more?? Those South Siders ran us out of our own gym. At one point, we cut the lead down to 3 points, but soon after, we were down double digits again. And to cap it all off, towards the end of the game, the 5'10' Royce Parran (175-G-85, college: Chicago St.) catches an one handed alley oop, KG style to close out the game. I don't know if it was the 3 games in 3 days for my veteran team, or the inability to rotate and stop some of those fast break points, but we were definitely not the same team that had outplayed other teams on our way to the Chip. The speedster, Al Stewart (178-G-83, college: Drake), had a HUGE game in the championship game for us, but I don't remember much more than that. Big Ups to the South Side and the ballers out there. We will be looking for you'll next year.

After hearing about this league, you should see why we considered the Basketball Mecca of the world...;)

I know some of you are reading this, and don't have a clue as to who some of these guys are. I advise you to do some research and 'you betta ask sumbody'. All of these guys are more than worthy of mid level and top jobs across the world. You should take notice. If you would like to know more or reach someone, contact me, google them, facebook them, do something; don't just wonder; make it happen.

Now the Pro Ams are over, players are back overseas, and this is most definitely the worst part of the off-season. WAITING, WAITING, WAITING on that perfect deal in that perfect country, and most importantly, with that perfect CHECK...hahahaha

Me, I'm in the gym daily, to ensure I'm at my best when I step off that bird in a country near you. I'm so thirsty to get back on the international scene this year, it's a shame. I have a workout ethic like someone who has never seen success (though I have more than likely dominated in your league the last 6 years, and my accolades keep on coming) and I have a veteran's knowledge of the game. I'm most definitely looking to have a huge year.

Stay in the gym, stay committed, and stay prayerful!

Til next time people..RIOCI (Respect IT or Check IT)Thanks for tuning in for another chapter in my basketball book.

This blog is maintained by Kenyon Gamble (212-C-82, college: Tuskegee).
Feel free to comment and/or email me personally at  

Slam finishes Seattle Pro-Am regular season with first-ever OT win - 9 months ago
The Bellingham Slam received a late game-tying put-back from center Austin Bragg (6'9''-F/C-91, college: W.Washington), then pulled away in overtime as they defeated Team Worldwide in a Seattle Pro-Am thriller, 110-103, at Royal Brougham Pavilion on Saturday. Remarkably, it was the first time the Slam had posted an overtime victory in team history, having gone 0-for-5 in previous games which required extra time. Thanks to hot outside shooting from forward Jordan Hamilton (6'7''-F-90, coll...   [read more]

Ex-Vikings power Bellingham Slam rout of Kitsap - 10 months ago
The Bellingham Slam received contributions from a number of former Western Washington University players as they routed the Kitsap Admirals, 110-89, in Seattle Pro-Am action at Royal Brougham Pavilion on Saturday. Led by guard Taylor Stafford (6'1''-G-94, college: W.Washington) who tallied a game-high 38 points, seven ex-Vikings scored the Slam and accounted for over two-thirds of Bellingham's total offensive production. Stafford dazzled the crowd with perhaps the best shooting performanc...   [read more]

Paul Hafford
LC alum Hafford stars for Slam in Seattle Pro-Am - 2 Years ago
Former Lynden Christian standout Paul Hafford (6'5''-G/F-84, college: Portland St.) has added another successful chapter to his basketball career. Hafford, a 2002 LC graduate, averaged a team-high 22.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game this summer while leading the Bellingham Slam to a 7-3 record and a Seattle Pro-Am semifinal appearance. The sharp-shooting guard closed the season on a tear, scoring 40-plus points in two of the team's final three contests. Hafford began the do...   [read more]

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