WASHINGTON — Only four days after George Washington University unveiled its new basketball court at the Charles E. Smith Center, several former Terps and local players had the honor of being among the first to play on it as part of the Basketball Alumni Legends League's Pro Basketball Series.
The league, founded by Michael Wranovics in 2012, is intended to give professional basketball players who are not at the NBA level an outlet to showcase their talents during the summer. By pitting local stars against one another, Wranovics hopes to generate fan interest and create immediate team chemistry.
Saturday night's game between the Maryland Ball Stars and the D.C. Dobermans was the first in a four-game showcase to be played on George Washington's campus through Aug. 5.
“A lot of these guys are local stars, and they're playing most of the year because they're playing international or they're in the [NBA Developmental] League,” Wranovics said. “And then it's summer, and they still need to play, but here's a way for them to do it in a really cool atmosphere, playing with guys at a very high level of competition.”
The game also marked a return to the sideline for former Maryland coach Lefty Driesell, who made his way from Bethany Beach, Del., earlier in the day to coach the Ball Stars. It was the first time Driesell, who wore a white Maryland polo, had coached since 2003.
“A lot of these guys are still very good players, and I think it's a lot of fun for them,” Driesell, 81, said. “I think the whole concept of the league is good. This is a lot of fun for me, but then again, half of them probably don't even know who I am.”
But former Terps guard Sean Mosley (St. Frances) said getting to play for the Maryland coaching legend was something he would never forget.
“Playing for another Hall of Fame [-caliber] coach is incredible,” Mosley said. “It's great to have someone around like that who can help me with a couple of things. Just being on his side for a night is special for me.”
As part of the event, Mosley played alongside former teammates Adrian Bowie, Landon Milbourne and James Padgett and former Terps John Gilchrist and James Gist. Former Loyola University star Erik Etherly was on the team as well.
“Me and James [Padgett] work out every day, twice a day at Maryland, and coming back and playing with Adrian is great,” Mosley said. “To come out here and have a little bit of fun, we just had to show the crowd what we can do.”
Mosley also had the chance to play against former Georgetown and Mount St. Joseph star Henry Sims.
“Sean Mosley and I grew up playing against each other,” Sims said. “It's great to play against him again and be in this type of atmosphere.”
By the end of the game, though, Driesell was unable to flash his trademark “V” for victory.
D.C. prevailed, 113-99, after trailing 58-50 at halftime, as Austin Freeman (Georgetown) led all scorers with 41 points. Etherly led Maryland with 26 points, while Sims added 25 for the Dobermans and Mosley had 23.
Despite losing, Etherly relished the chance to play competitively for the first time since his college career ended four months ago.
“For me, this is my first time playing professional basketball, so it was a great experience,” Etherly said. “[To play for Driesell] was something not many people get to do, also. It was an honor.”