Eighteen teams full of top local high school, college and adult basketball players are competing in the Chavis Summer Basketball League at Shaw’s Spaulding Gymnasium.
While some say the competition isn’t what it once was, many of the area’s most talented basketball players have been competing in the summer league.
Tournament organizers say players from area colleges begin Monday, when the NCAA will allow collegiate players to compete in the tournament.
Jason Clemons, who is in his fourth year helping to run the league, said he’s received calls from area college coaches about having their players compete in the summer league. He also says the league, now in its second week, is off to a good start.
“Everything is going pretty good, it’s running smoothly.” Clemons said. “We’re all excited about getting the Division I players here.”
In the past, the league has featured future NBA stars such as Vince Carter, Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace and former No. 1 overall pick John Wall.
“It’s really exciting to know you’re going to play against some of the best out there,” said Dorel Saunders, a member of the league for three years.
Despite some recent hiccups, the league has remained strong for nearly 40 years. In 2004, the Chavis League was not sanctioned by the NCAA, and it led to then-North Carolina point guard Raymond Felton being suspended one game after he believed the league was certified. The league has been sanctioned every year since. This, along with a competing pro-am league started in Durham has diminished some of the quality of players, but the bleachers in the gymnasium are still full to see many of the area’s top talent.
“I think the quality of play is still really good,” said Stew Howard, who has been coming to see the Chavis League for the better part of a decade. “It’s going to get even better once the Division I players get here.”
The summer league began play on June 24, with four games being played each Monday through Thursday night until July 25. The season ends with an annual tournament, which will tip off July 29, with the championship on Aug. 1.