Largo High School boys basketball coach Lewis Howard relied on a senior-laden team to reach the Maryland 2A championship game in 2012. But even with players like Derrick Colter, Michael Graham and Damante McNeill having graduated, Howard is taking the same goal as always into the Falconers Summer League.
“Playing in summer league is a tremendous opportunity for us to evaluate players that we have coming in and players that we have moved up and people who've already been in our program having the opportunity to get better and step to the forefront of playing basketball at Largo High School,” Howard said.
Largo will join Friendly, Gwynn Park, Huntingtown, Northern, Potomac, Riverdale Baptist, Southern, Spingarn, Suitland, Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Stone in the league, which began Tuesday and runs through a July 3 championship game.
The games, played at Riverdale Baptist School in Upper Marlboro, provide teams a chance to practice together during the offseason.
“It's just continuity, pretty much,” Howard said. “You have to get to know each other. They players got to get used to playing with each other, and that's a process. This is the perfect time to start it.”
Eleanor Roosevelt coach Brendan O'Connell, whose team will play in The Rock Summer League at High Point High School in Beltsville, takes a similar approach.
“Every summer, we just want to get the new team to play together, just a chance to play against some top-level teams and build some teamwork and some new guys getting some varsity-type experience,” said O'Connell, who has guided the Raiders to three consecutive 4A South Region titles.
Arundel, Bishop Ireton, Blake, Bullis, Churchill, DeMatha, DuVal, Georgetown Prep, Gonzaga, Good Counsel, High Point, Kennedy, Long Reach, Maret, McNamara, Paint Branch, Pallotti, Princeton Day, PS Panthers and Sidwell Friends will also compete in The Rock, which began Thursday and continues to July 13.
“This is the best time,” Howard said. “Summer basketball is where you get better, and you see the fruits of your labor in November and December.”
The BSN Elite Hoops Summer League at DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville gets under way today with games Thursday through Sunday each week through July 22, followed by playoffs and a season-ending all-star game on July 29. The league includes Prince George's County teams DeMatha, McNamara, Parkdale, Frederick Douglass, Central, Henry A. Wise, Princeton Day, Oxon Hill and Riverdale Baptist. Good Counsel, St. Albans, Woodson, Middleburg, Flint Hill, North Point, Carroll, O'Connell, Paul VI, Springbrook, Westlake, St. Mary's Ryken, Edison and Chavez also are in the league.