No set plays. No waiting for the perfect shot.
Instead, players rush downcourt, eager to show off their playground talents without theworry of getting yanked by an angry coach.
While this style of play may not agree with most roundball purists, the Boys Summer Basketball League at Pasadena's Lake Waterford Park is thriving in its second season, offering a brand of hoops that appeals to the average high school-age cager.
"The great thing aboutthis league is that coaching is kept to a minimum," said Cape St. Claire resident Rick Bloom, league coordinator and self-admitted roundball junkie.
"The kids are encouraged to just get out there and go at it. It also gives them a chance to play with and against their friends during the off-season."
The 12-team, two-division league represents almost every corner of the county, prepping current varsity and junior players and hopefuls for the scholastic season with an emphasis on the players, not coaching.
"It's great to be able to go outthere and just watch them to see what they can do," said Little Dawgs and Bulldogs head coach Chris Chaney, who coaches at the CanterburySchool in Prince George's County.
"Then, once you see what they can and can't do over the summer, you'll know what they need to work on during the winter."
Teams include the Mustang XPress and Meade Village (both in the Meade High District), the Cougars (Chesapeake), the Flying Admirals (Severna Park and Severn), the Bruins (Broadneck),Patriots (Old Mill), Freetown Posse (Glen Burnie/Northeast), the Wildcats (Arundel), the Bulldogs (Southern), the Little Dawgs (Canterbury and Southern junior varsity), Glen Burnie and the Running Rebels, agroup of players from around the county.
"Any time you get the opportunity to play organized ball with many of the people you'll wind up playing with in the fall, it's a definite advantage," said Chaney,a New Jersey native and Lehigh University player who went on to serve as assistant coach at St. Francis (N.Y.) College.
All games havetwo 22-minute halves, with only two timeouts per game. The clock is stopped only for the last minute of the first half and the last two minutes of the final half, insuring quick, fast-paced contests.
"It's a lot of fun. And it's a great way to brush up on your skills," said Patriots guard Steve Smith, a member of Old Mill's playoff team.
"It seems like it's been a lot more competitive than last year. It's a lot of running, but our team's been doing well because we also play D."
With only one week before the postseason tournament, the Mustang XPress commands the Red Division with a 6-2 mark, followed by the Cougars (3-2), Bruins (2-4), Wildcats (1-5), Little Dawgs (0-3) and the Running Rebels (1-6).
The Little Dawgs will play makeup games due to a summer camp.
The Flying Admirals rule the Blue Division(6-1), followed by Meade Village (5-1), the Patriots (5-2), Bulldogs(3-2), Glen Burnie (3-3) and the Freetown Posse (3-3).
"This league is very well-organized with nice facilities all around," Chaney said.
"It's so much better than the summer league I coach in PG county. I can't wait until tournament time; I think it'll be wide open. Anybody has a chance to win it."
Said Bloom, "It's been a good summer so far. Eventually, I hope the league will grow and include the younger kids. I'd like to see the younger kids on the court more. If kids can go out there and play eight baseball games a week, they can play basketball more than twice a week."