A competitive basketball player in the county area won't have too far to travel to find a league to play in this summer.
For those who live in Annapolis and the South County, there's the established Annapolis Men's League and the Annapolis Youth Athletic Association summer league for those ages 16 and under.
Aspiring or returning varsity and junior-varsity cagers from all over the county are participating in the Lake Waterford Boys Summer League in Pasadena, while veteran North County players are polishing their games in the second edition of the North County Summer Men's League at Sawmill Creek Park in Glen Burnie.
For West County players ages 10 to 17, there's the Severn Athletic Club Youth League, which in its first season of operation has more than 300 participants in four age brackets.
In one year, the Lake Waterford league more than doubled its membership from 11 teams to 23, once again fielding teams from as far south as the Harwood-Lothian area and as far north as Glen Burnie and the Linthicum-Brooklyn Park areas.
"I'm really pleased to see the number of ballplayers we have out here, the more the merrier," said league representative Rick Bloom, who recently was named head coach of the Anne Arundel Community College men's team.
"The more county residents get involved, the better it'll be for Anne Arundel County basketball," Bloom said.
"I think it'll also improve our program [AACC] as well in the long run. I'd eventually like to see county basketball be on par with baseball and lacrosse."
The rookie coach has already added a league product to Anne Arundel's roster, ex-Severna Park High player Rich Riffle, an Anne Arundel County Sun first team All-County selection.
The 6-foot-5-inch center helped the Flying Admirals (a team made up of Severna Park and Severn High players) win last summer's league championship.
Last season, the league attracted about 15 college scouts. Bloom expects the same type of response this year, especially from the area's Division II and III and junior colleges.
In 1991, 6-foot-8-inch Meade X-Press center Brian Parker, a second team all-county pick at Meade, piqued the interest of Allegany Community College.
The school annually has the state's top junior college program and has been a regular member of the national top 20.
Parker has been offered a scholarship to play at the Western Maryland school, giving him a chance to become yet another Division I prospect.
"I think some of the [high school] teams that weren't represented last season were kind of hurting come wintertime, but this year, these teams should see some improvement," said Bloom.
North County men's league director Brewer "Pop" Gray knows his league is barely an infant, compared with the 15-year-old Annapolis men's league. But sees a day when the players may be able to go head-to-head with their counterparts.
"We're not there yet. I'd say give us another four years of repeat talent, guys who will stay in the league, then I think we could give them a run," said Gray, and ex-AACC and Ohio University player who played a year of professional ball in Holland.
Gray said that type of talent could come in the form of players such as Tim Coles, last year's league MVP and former University of Connecticut star; ex-Morgan State and European pro Maurice Jennings; and ex-AACC players Ray Osborne, James "Humpty" Sharps and Jay Mouzon.
"Right now, what we need is exposure," said Gray, as local TV station's camera seemed to heed his call by taking in some of Thursday evening's action between the Flames and CBY Construction.
"Further down the road, I'd like to have a combination all-star game/block party [against the Annapolis League]," Gray said.
"Right now, we have to deal with things like parking problems and things of that nature before the league can expand."
CBY Construction, the Flames, Dorsey, Champion Liquors, Aquahart Liquors and Pumphrey will attempt to unseat defending champion Naptowne, which failed to field a team this year.
The league will conduct a 12-game schedule, with the league playoffs to begin in late August.