It's that time of the year again. Parks are packed out. Tournaments are underway and heating up. And each extra chance a player gets to put some shots up, you can bet they are at some neighborhood court or local gym working on their game. It's what summer hoops is all about.
Just ask the Brunson League. In the summer Pro-Am chatter, the talk is all about what's going on in Baltimore City as founder Sean Brunson has helped establish a basketball-community outreach blueprint for success and platform for younger players, college athletes overseas pros, and NBA stars. This season is no doubt a big win for the Brunson and Wooter Apparel. That's a large part why you'll see Wooter Apparel continue to shout out a select group of tournaments, leagues, and teams who have teamed-up with Wooter and who are leaving their mark on courts from the Bronx all the way to Spokane, Washington.
We see them working and it's about time others did too. Take a closer look at 5 Wooter Apparel Tournaments, Leagues, and Teams to watch this summer...
LES EXPRESS BASKETBALL - NYC
Founded in 2011, LES Express NYC has once again become a hoops destination in the Lower East Side of Manhattan at Sarah D. Roosevelt Park. From June 22 – August 18, 27-teams will turn out to show and prove on the court this summer, while also helping give back to the community. LES (Learn, Educate, Succeed) Express includes basketball tournaments (Pro-Am unlimited, youth league division), camps, training sessions, and also extends into other creative outlets rooted in education and the arts. Along with former NBA guard Smush Parker, Charlotte Hornets point guard and former UCONN standout, Kemba Walker, has graced the court at LES Express.
HOOPS IN THE SUN (HITS) - BRONX, NY
Going down at Orchard Beach in the Bronx, New York, this Roundball Classic has been running strong for the past 18 years since being created by the late Rufino (Joe) Cruz, Sr., and his two sons Joe Jr., and Randy, and has grown from an 8-team Pro-Am to now featuring a Men's Division, 19-Under, 18-Under Girls, 16-Under, 14-Under, 12-Under, and 10-Under. Not only are teams from the Tri-State area registering and competing, but Hoops In The Sun has previously included squads from Chicago, Philadelphia, and drawn the NBA eye of Tracy McGrady, Joakim Noah, Isaiah Whitehead, and Lance Stephenson, who have suited up in the past at Hoops In The Sun.
BUILT 4 BALL - SPOKANE, WA
Mike Nilson is all about Spokane. Not only did the former standout at Gonzaga University help the Bulldogs reach the Elite 8 in 1999 during March Madness, but Nilson remained invested in the community and its kids to help coach and grow the next generation of basketball players in the Pacific Northwest. What merely began as a blog and series of videos in 2014 that focused on excelling in basketball, nutrition, strength and conditioning, Built 4 Ball has blossomed into a premiere basketball development academy for boys and girls in the area. Thanks to Coach Nilson and his dedicated staff and players, Built 4 Ball can only go one direction: up.
3PBL - NYC
If you are a frequent reader of the Wooter Blog, you know we take pride in shining a spotlight on the people we have the opportunity to partner with and sharing their story in sports and their community. We did exactly that In June, when we featured 3PBL founder and general manager, Shirod Ince in a Q&A ranging from the launch of the league two years ago, to his work with Henry Street Settlement, and helping younger players (and those dedicated pros holding it down overseas) simply get better in basketball and life. Wooter Apparel is proud to partner with 3PBL and we look forward to another successful summer league on the Lower East Side.
PREP BALL STARS - INDIANA
Perhaps one of the best kept secrets and basketball showcases featuring a collection of standout Division I talent like, Eric Hunter, Jr. (Tindley - Purdue), Aaron Henry (Ben Davis - Michigan State), Damezi Anderson (South Bend Riley - Indiana), Mekhi Lairy (Evansville - Miami of Ohio), Kevin Easley, Jr. (Lawrence North - Tennessee-Chattanooga) and Jarron Coleman (Cathedral - Ball State) all suited-up for the Prep Ball Stars Midwest Challenge in May. Now, August and September is set for two more events where youth basketball players can show and prove. From August 3-5, the Prep Ball Stars Summer Basketball Championships goes down at the Pacers Athletic Center in Westfield, Indiana, while September is reserved for the, In The Gym Hoops Middle School Showcase and the top 4th-11th graders from Chicago and Northwest Indiana.