The Omaha Metro Summer Basketball League is in full swing. Tonight marks the midway point of the league’s regularly schedule games. Then comes the tournament to crown a champion. Through the first two weeks, a few teams have started to separate themselves from the pack. And fans have found a few favorite players.
We haven’t been shy to express our excitement over the play of Creighton’s Will Artino, although he has only been able to play one half in each of the two games he appeared. Also, it is easy to cheer for the Paragas Law team, which is more like a Creighton alumni team, featuring Kaleb Korver, Justin Carter, Darryl Ashford, and Wayne Runnels.
Last week, some potential Division I players took the court in Mike Gesell, Jalen Bradley, and Akoy Agau, to test their skills against the league’s wide range of talent. Fans have appeared to enjoy the games so far and, luckily, there are more to come.
Are all the Creighton players playing Thursday night?
As of right now, Jahenns Manigat may see limited action in Summer League play since he has class on Thursday nights. Will Artino has been trying to play each week after class, so will likely be in one of the 7:00 p.m. games.
Austin Chatman will not be participating until he gets to Omaha in July.
Doug McDermott won’t be at summer league, since he is over in Latvia competing for a gold medal for Team USA U19. Ethan Wragge and Gregory Echenique both have class through June and won’t be at summer league this Thursday. Grant Gibbs hurt his ankle slightly last week, but will still play. The rest of the team should be there to play. It continues to be a great opportunity to see the newcomers.
There are a few good matchups this week. Here is a preview of what to expect.
Game of the Night:
6:00 p.m. (Court 4) EQ School of Hair (2-0) vs. Narmi Group (1-1)
Bluejays to watch: Grant Gibbs, Avery Dingman, Josh Jones, Chad Millard
Based on records, this looks to be the best game of the 6:00 p.m. group as both teams are battling toward the top. You may know about Gibbs and his injury history. Last week at summer league he hurt his ankle a bit, but still plans to play Thursday night. He has been a key to the EQ School of Hair 2-0 start.
On the other side, Josh Jones will be sporting a new hairdo for the Narmi Group this week. However, that will likely have nothing to do with his game on the court. Narmi is coming off a loss last week to the UNO alumni and they won’t have Artino to help them out in this one due to the 6:00 p.m. start.
Another game to pay attention to:
7:00 p.m. (Court 3) Paragas Law (2-0) vs. Walentine, O’Toole, McQuillan & Gordon (1-1)
Bluejays to watch: Kaleb Korver, Wayne Runnels, Justin Carter, Darryl Ashford
It has been a lot of fun watching the former Bluejays of Paragas Law play together. In their two games, they have looked like they have been having fun. They beat around The Judd Knispel Agency last week 115-81, as all the former Creighton players were in sync scoring points and grabbing rebounds.
WOMG came back last week after starting 0-1 to beat the Bellevue Alumni pretty handily with the summer debut of former Husker Andrew Drevo. This will ultimately be a good matchup with both teams having a lot of veteran players.
6:00 p.m. (Court 2) Shanks Law (0-2) vs. Thompson Basketball Camp (0-2)
Bluejays to watch: Geoffrey Groselle, Nevin Johnson, Nick Bahe, Livan Pyfrom
It has been fun watching Groselle and Johnson on the floor together, though the results have little to show for it. Shanks struggled to score points compared to the other teams in the league. Granted, they are probably one of the younger teams in Summer League. If they can string some things together, they can have a strong finish.
One team will come out with their first league win, and it might just be Thompson Basketball Camp. They have lost their two games by a total of six points and both games came down to a last second shot with a chance to tie it at the end. I have a feeling it won’t come down to a last second shot in this one.
6:00 p.m. (Court 3) Judd Knispel Agency (0-2) vs. Bellevue Alumni (0-2)
Bluejays to watch: Antoine Young, Alex Olson
Antoine Young and the Judd Knispel Agency continue to struggle. It probably would help them if Doug McDermott was on their team, but it is very likely we will not see him on the Omaha Sports Academy courts this summer. So they will have to find a way to win. Young and Donald Jones are a couple solid players that should lead the way, but a void in the inside game is causing some struggles. It might help if Samford graduate Andy King is able to join them.
It is very uncharacteristic for a Bellevue Alumni team to start 0-2 in summer league. They are usually the ones surprising teams and show that they can play with anyone. Like the game above, one of these two teams will walk away with their first win of the summer.
6:00 p.m. (Court 1) Bellevue University (1-1) vs. Omaha Mavs (1-1)
This may be a fun game to watch as Bellevue and UNO have played some good games in the past when their full rosters went up against each other. Unfortunately, with the move to Division I, the Mavs only have a few of their current players. However the rest of the team is made up of recent graduates, so it should feel like it did last year when these two teams met. Bellevue has struggled to score, only averaging about 57 points a game.
7:00 p.m. (Court 1) Leach Camper Sales (1-1) vs. John Higgins Weatherguard (2-0)
Bluejays to watch: Taylor Stormberg, Matt Dorwart
Leach Camper Sales decimated Bellevue University last week by 21 points and seem to be on a roll after their opening loss to Zurlo’s Pizza. This is another young team that could be tough down the stretch.
The John Higgins Weatherguard team has a couple nice wins already including a 16-point victory over the Omaha Mavs last week. John Turek and Omar Bynum might be tough for Leach to stop down low.
7:00 p.m. (Court 2) Zurlo’s Pizza (2-0) vs. Barley’s (1-1)
Bluejays to watch: Ross Ferrarini, Derek Sebastian, Rodney Buford
It is always fun to see Rodney Buford take the court, even since his days on the Hilltop. Last week, Buford had a spectacular game against Thompson Basketball Camp to help win a close game. Zurlo’s has had their own adventures with close wins over Shanks Law and Leach Camper Sales. The Ferrarini brothers always work hard on the court and Bruce Chubick and Benny Valentine anchor this team, however it may be a challenge to go 3-0 against the veteran laden Barley’s.
7:00 p.m. (Court 4) Chris Carder Agency (0-2) vs. UNO Alumni (2-0)
Bluejay to watch: Brody Deren
The UNO Alumni have started out 2-0 on solid team play and have been playing together well before this summer. But this one should be a good one as the Chris Carder Agency led by Jason Dourisseau, Ben Holling and Wes Wilkinson are probably pretty eager to get a win after losing their first two games down the stretch.