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A trip to the Delco Pro-Am.

My schedule and the schedule of the NCAA-accredited Delaware County Pro-Am summer league finally synchronized on Sunday, so Stephen Goldsmith and I set forth on a 45 minute drive to King of Prussia, PA in hopes of seeing a few current and former Princeton players in action.

Arriving at Competitive Edge Sports for the earliest game of an all-evening, multi-court, 14 team quadrupleheader between Good AfterNoonan and Hi-Fi House, we nearly immediately learned that Tiger sophomore Tom Noonan was apologetically out of action resting a sore knee and that classmate Chris Clement had already headed home to Texas.

Back out to locate dinner.

We returned to see Noonan’s older brother John, a graduate of Ursinus, and some fellow Bear alums lead Good AfterNoonan to the 80-72 win.

The younger Noonan appears taller and more muscular than he did as a freshman and hopefully I’ll have a chance to witness him do more than clapping on the sidelines back at the DelCo Pro-Am later in the summer.

As this game was finishing a pair of familiar faces walked in to the sports complex - Princeton senior co-captain Douglas Davis and junior Will Barrett. That's the thing about summer league basketball: You never have complete assurance that anyone you're expecting to show will actually attend until they come in the door.

Davis looks as you left him in March, Barrett has filled out slightly and now sports a full head of hair.

Unfortunately, the two Tigers were not joined on team Stomp Off (named after their sponsor, a local jazz record label) by two-time Ivy League Player of the Year Kit Mueller ‘91, who missed the game nursing a pulled muscle. It would have been a real treat to watch Mueller dip into his sneaky bag of post tricks and both Davis and Barrett would certainly have benefited from his addition.

Sans Mueller, Stop Off only suited up five guys - the same number their opponents Hoops 365 brought to the gym. One of these players I believe was former Notre Dame guard Ryan Ayers.

Playing two 20 minute halves with a running clock except for during the final two minutes of each half, these games are fast-moving, free-flowing affairs. It was worth the trip and the time, but there was nothing new to learn about Davis or Barrett from watching this particular game.

Lacking Mueller inside there was limited help defense on drives, and Hoops 365 got a lot of points attacking the basket.

Davis is as fun to watch as he’s ever been, making his first two three pointers as he initially ran the offense for his team. There are simply shots he makes that other Princeton players just can’t and he can score in bunches.

Davis with a steal at center court, off for a layup the other way.

Barrett remains enigmatic. He’s added some muscle to his long frame but his game is entrenched on the perimeter. Rarely was he used posting on the baseline and he was not often able to set off on long-striding drives. It was comfortably into the first half before Barrett attempted his first field goal - a deep three try that landed well short of the target. From that point forward, he was admittedly more involved in the action.

Davis was hardly reluctant to shoot, but few of his many attempts were bad decisions. He had 13 points in the opening 20 minutes, 3-7 from three and 2-5 inside the line.

Stomp Off trailed 27-14 early and a surprisingly large crowd was delighted when Barrett faked a three pointer, got his man in the air and slammed the ball home on a drive with his right hand when no help arrived defensively.

A back cut by Barrett resulted in a layup to make it 33-25 Hoops 365 and the deficit was 10 at the intermission. Barrett finished the half with seven points on 3-7 shooting, 1-3 from three point range.

These two did not get much help from the rest of their Iron Five until Bucknell’s Bryan Cohen began to light it up. He canned a series of long distance jumpers as Stomp Off set off on their comeback.

A Barrett three from up top made it a seven point game, then Davis grabbed a rebound and on the attack went across the floor with a no look pass to Barrett for a reverse laup and two more.

Davis made three straight shots from deep and Stomp Off had caught their foe 52-52 with 14:30 to go. Barrett popped a three on the right side, followed by Davis knocking down a jumper in transition using a handoff screen.

Cohen took the lead up to 66-60 and all the momentum appeared to be Stomp Off’s.

Still, Stomp Off could not cut off Hoops 365’s penetration. Trailing 71-68, Hoops 365 went on a 14-4 run to open up a seven point lead. Davis was 9-15 from the floor but missed his final six attempts, the last four coming from three point range.

Forced to foul, Stomp Off made it a two point game on two occasions, but down 89-86 Barrett and teammate Mark Simon could not control a defensive rebound on a missed free throw giving Hoops 365 a second chance to put the game away at the line.

Unofficially Davis was 6-13 from three point range and 3-8 from two point range. 9-21, 24 points. He also had two blocked shots.

Barrett hit 4-8 outside and 4-7 inside, totaling 20 points.

Cohen, Davis and Barrett scored 75 of their team’s 86 points, with 21 coming via Cohen after the break.

There may have been no revelations and not as many players in action that I had hoped to see, but Sunday was an adequate way to bide the time and beat the heat with 83 days until practice opens for the 2011-12 season.

Also on hand to watch the action, locked out Orlando Magic guard Jameer Nelson.

Coco said,

July 25, 2011 @ 9:56 am

Jon, surely the venue was air conditioned, otherwise both you and the players were risking life and limb in the heat and humidity of balmy New Jersey.

Jon Solomon said,

July 25, 2011 @ 10:05 am

While not in New Jersey, the Delco Pro-Am has two distinct advantages over, say, the Princeton Summer League at Community Park.

1. NCAA accreditation, so current college players can suit up (just not more than two players currently enrolled at the same school on any team).

2. Indoors and nicely air-conditioned.


Daniel Mark said,

July 25, 2011 @ 11:31 pm

Nice hair, Will.

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