December 17, 2014
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Summer’s end comes with hoops heaven

Notes written while getting my dunks ready to show the And1 crew…

I always laugh when I’m covering a high-school basketball game and a kid busts out an ankle-breaking crossover or a juke that leaves a defender in the dust. The crowd goes crazy – and the kid misses the ensuing lay-up. Competitive basketball isn’t all about the moves.

But the basketball that’s coming to Warwick on Sunday?

That is about the moves.

And I’ll be joining in when the crowd goes crazy.

In case you missed the news, the And1 Live Tour is coming to Warwick’s Schmeider Park for a clinic, three-point challenge and dunk contest and to Pilgrim High School for a 7 p.m. game against a team of Rhode Island stars.

It’s going to be wild.

And1 action used to dominant daytime ESPN programming when I was in college, and I often found myself watching. The group’s 15 minutes of extreme fame have faded a bit, but they’re still plenty famous. And it’s still quite a show.

The And1 stars are like the Harlem Globetrotters, without the music and without the goofiness. These are guys who grew up playing street ball, and they’ve honed their skills over the years to create an eye-catching brand of basketball.

The current tour pits the And1 team against local players at their various stops. The Rhode Island squad is still under construction, but several former high-school and college stars have committed, including Warwick natives Carl Lee, Keenan Kelly and Jim Garcia and Pawtucket natives Antone Gray and Nyheem Sanders. A few high-level former college players with Rhode Island ties may still join in. The team is also bringing in Warwick Vets guard Josh Muto, who should be a fan favorite.

If you’re interested in going, you may want to stop by Schmeider Park on Saturday, where 500 advance tickets will be on sale. Tickets are $10 apiece.

Sunday’s festivities get going with a clinic in the morning. The three-point challenge and dunk contest will happen between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Schmeider Park. In addition to all the basketball, one lucky fan will get a chance to make a half-court shot for $10,000, courtesy of MZ Financial.

If you’re a sports fan, you shouldn’t miss this. Warwick has seen some good basketball teams come through town, but the gym at Pilgrim has never seen anything like the basketball that’s on tap. It’s going to be a show to remember.

Fall in the Air

The high school fall sports season took its first steps on Monday with the first day of practice. It won’t be too long before it’s all back in full swing.

In preseason action, Warwick Vets will host its annual soccer tournaments, with the girls getting together on August 28 and the boys teams playing on Sept. 3.

Vets will also host Warwick’s Injury Fund football event, which is slated for Thursday, Sept. 5. PCD/Wheeler/Juanita Sanchez and Scituate play at 6 p.m. before a Warwick doubleheader. Hendricken and Pilgrim square off at 7 p.m. with Vets and Toll Gate going at 8 p.m.

A-Rod’s mistakes

Outside the local scene, it’s hard not to weigh in on Alex Rodriguez. I’ve never understood the moral outrage associated with steroid scandals, and I won’t vilify him here. I just find his case to be the most disheartening of the steroid era.

Ken Griffey, Jr. was my favorite player when I was a kid so I followed the Mariners a bit. When Rodriguez came to the bigs at just 18 years of age, I thought I might have a new favorite player. He was incredible.

What’s sad is that he could have been one of the best players in baseball history without steroids. His wasn’t a case of a fading player trying to hold on, or a marginal talent trying to take the leap. Rodriguez was an amazing talent.

By trying to become even better than that, he went down the wrong road. It’s a shame.

William Geoghegan is the sports editor at the Warwick Beacon. He can be reached at 732-3100 and williamg@rhodybeat.com.


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