Knights benefit from summer league
J.J. Moore had no experience with junior guard D’Von Campbell before the two found their way to the Rutgers men’s basketball team.
Instead of introducing each of their styles of play to one another during summer workouts, they did so on the floor of Wall (N.J.) High School’s gymnasium.
The senior wing paired with Campbell and junior guards Myles Mack and Jerome Seagears for on team Investors Bank of the Jersey Shore Basketball Summer League.
“It helped a lot,” Moore said. “It was good playing with them because they got to know how I played, and I got to know how they played.”
The JSBL serves as a showcase for both current and past collegiate players. Senior forward Wally Judge, sophomore forward Greg Lewis, sophomore wing Kerwin Okoro and freshman forward Junior Etou also participated in the league, though not on the same team.
“From the beginning it was great,” Mack said. “It didn’t matter who took the shot or who had the ball. It was great that we go to do that early.”
While it may be a chance to tune up some skills for current players, it provides a competitive outlet for guys who once found glory on the hardwood during their collegiate days.
Well, it used to.
“The years before it was kind of better,” Mack said. “This year it wasn’t really like it used to be. I guess some of the players from previous years didn’t want to come back to play.”
Those players include former Big East standouts Mike Nardi, Kyle McAlarney, who have played in recent seasons but did not appear this year.
Other notable players, including Cleveland Cavaliers star point guard Kyrie Irving and former Rutgers guard Quincy Douby, were rumored to be participants this season but to no avail.
Lack of star talent in this year’s JSBL could be associated with a change in venue, as the league usually played in Belmar, N.J., at St. Rose High School.
Whatever the case may be, the league still featured Division-I athletes, allowing the Knights to compete players other then themselves.
For Mack, it meant rekindling his rhythm he had with Seagears before Seagears left for Auburn — before he returned — while attempting to build a whole new relationship on the floor with Campbell.
“It was important,” Mack said. “There are going to be times when all three of us are on the floor at the same time, so we needed to see how we were going to play together.”
Head coach Eddie Jordan witnessed the progress firsthand.
“I think they’re having fun playing with each other and I think they enjoy the camaraderie that this brand new team has developed, and that was a question for me,” Jordan said. “How would this new team come together? How would we build harmony and give effort? They’ve come together, and I’m happy with that.”
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