It’s the place you want to be to celebrate America’s independence. Venice Beach swarmed with people throughout the boardwalk as crowds flocked in to get a piece of the iconic Venice atmosphere, it wasn’t the street performers that attracted most people, it was the Venice Basketball League. Deemed the Hooper’s Paradise, the VBL saw one of its largest crowds this weekend as those from all over came to see a piece of the action. The sun was out and the palm trees were blowing in the breeze, but the VBL was shaking things up with another full day of action. The day started as it does, with a basketball skills and healthy living camp for children, the Kids Venice Basketball League (“KVBL”) otherwise known as Church of Hoops. It was NBA player, ex-LA Clipper, Craig Smith who spent the morning inspiring the youth with his teachings.
El Crew was no match against Project Backboard
The day began much like last week ended. Project Backboard decided to waste no time to kick the day off as they jumped out the gates dominating the game 52-25 at the half. The game seemed to be too easy as Gouch shared a couple smiles with his teammates. El Crew was undermanned and Project Backboard took advantage of their small size.
Marcus Fudge, who finished the game with 17 pts & 6 reb, “left the backboard shakin’,” Doc yelled out from the DJ booth as Fudge slammed one down. Player of the game Ryan Nitz finished with 30 pts & 12 reb, as Gouch added 16 pts. Manny Correa fought hard for El Crew with 20 pts, 2 reb, & 2 asst, but the ‘Backboard’ seemed to be all they could see. The final score of the game was 80-52.
Those Most Hated Players vs those in the Hall of Fame
Intensity flowed through the air as Game 3 began and it was hard not to notice the one everybody “hates” most, on the court that is. Paul J.frabritz NBA Performance Specialist joined MHP this week, (stay tuned during the week as you might see him in the highlights) Chris Staples AKA Everybody Hates Chris was less dominate this week, but still made the game look easy as he finished a one-handed reverse layup from an alley-oop pass from teammate Paul Favorites (2pts, 4 reb, 5 asst).
Buckets were exchanged between the 2 teams as the clock whined down to 1 min; Eggz for Hall of Fame, left the Chosen One standing as he blew past him with a smooth behind the back drive to the bucket for an easy 2 keeping his team afloat. Chosen One responded quick by a drive baseline, power slam poster dunk on Rashad who got to take a seat for 2 minutes (VBL rules when you get dunked on)
It was a hard fought battle, but with the help of Chris Staples (13 pts & 4 blks) & Player of the Game the Chosen One (11 pts, 6 reb, 6 steals), MHP was able to close out the game 35-33.
King of the Court
King Hustle, Young Mouth, and No Fear. These names constantly rang out as half time approached with a score of 39-36 in favor of the undefeated Novastars.
Coming down for the fast break, No Fear threw the perfect lob over to King Hustle as he set off holiday fireworks with his ‘o so crispy’ dunk for 2. As the Novastars pulled away with the lead, No Kakalaki disrespectfully bowed to the defense as he knocked down a silky 3 to extend the lead.
The Pandas Friend didn’t go away quietly though. Young Mouth added 19 pts, 3 reb, 7 and Some Change dropped 8 pts with 12 reb & 3 blks, and Christopher Jackson finished with 12 pts, 5 rebs, & 5 asst.
Happy birthday No Fear (10 pts, 7 reb, 5 stls, & a whopping 15 asst) and congrats to King Hustle on his 5th straight player of the game, as he finished with 33 pts, 6 reb, & 3 stls). Final score 77-64.
Is it Red or is it Pink?
Pink & Red, Red & Pink, China Elite and Hub Select blurred together on the court, but Hub Select made sure they stood out as they pushed to a 16 pt lead at the end of the first.
With a nasty Alan Iverson cross to his left & jersey pulled across his chest, Grandpa Dew gave the crowd a show as he finished strong in the lane for an And 1 pushing the lead 57-30 with 2 mins left in the 3rd. China still fought hard to cut the lead as Rin Taylor, the newbie from Tokyo, Japan, hit a Chef Curry 3 right before the buzzer.
With 1:30 left in the 4th, China Elite definitely made this a game cutting the 20 pt deficit down to just 6 and knowing how vital he is to his team, PD (16 pts, 6 reb, 4 asst) came with a new attitude as he pushed his team, but they still came up short.
Larry “Grandpa” Dew showed the young bucks how its done collecting Player of the Game accolades with 11pts, 7 reb, 4 asst, & 3 stls. While Alan AKA The Italian Iverson #1 VBL draft pick added 14pts, 5 rebs and DeAndre finshed with 10pts 7 rebs. Final score 71-59.
Text by Janay Wilson
Photographs Jeremy Renault