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July 5, 2011

Pro City Catchup: Day 2

Going forward, while understood Nike Pro City is commonly known as the Jabbo Kenner League, the latter name will not be used to describe this summer league. This is done for accuracy's sake.

July 5, 2011 - On the second day of 2011 Nike Pro City play, Georgetown fans were afforded the opportunity to witness Georgetown players past and present in action, as well as others. Below chronicles some of them.

Chris Wright rebounded: That's literally and figuratively, as former Hoya standout Chris Wright did snag boards from his guard position, along with tallying steals, canning jumpers and finding teammates. It was a sea change from Saturday, where he didn't play with the same verve and effort.

But Sunday, Wright was in a word sensational, dropping 32 points in his Team Takeover's 88-86 win over a talented and veteran A. Wash/Madness crew. Early on Chris was an offensive dynamo, while to close the game you could dub him a defensive stopper, logging several takeaways, including one (plus an accompanying layup) with 40 seconds to play that put pulled Takeover to within one.

Why the difference in his play? Could it have been the specter of facing European professional Brian Chase (18 points), one of the best backcourt players presently playing for pay hailing from the Washington area?

"It's a desire to get better. I'm just out here trying to get better; just playing ball", first said Wright, who then answered specifically of playing against Chase "Right now yeah, it's all about getting better. I felt like I should have got drafted. Whoever's in front of me now, I just go at them hard".

So it wasn't specifically Chase per se, but an understanding that he's still improving and a desire to compete that fueled his bounce back. As expected, Wright's competitive juices are flowing.

Starksie shows off: Sophomore guard Markel Starks played in his first Nike Pro City game this season, and based on this very early return, the Hoyas look well situated at the point guard position. Dropping 20 points and double digit dimes, Starks dominated play in his DCX team's double digit dispatch of Town Tavern.

Playing pretty much the entire game Markel dominated, and was instrumental in Hoya senior center/forward Henry Sims (19 points) and George Mason sophomore forward Jon Arledge (18 points) doing damage on the break and in half court; Starks was finding people - delivering the rock in easy scoring position in the open floor, while also feeding the post expertly. Not surprisingly, his teammates responded, filling lanes, and remaining active. Starks was a maestro out there.

Physically its apparent Markel has hit the weight room since his freshman season ended; his 'guns' seem more pronounced. Unclear is whether he's gained much weight, but the added strength should help. Defensively Starks played adequately, though didn't seem as committed to staying in front of drivers, a point of emphasis he will surely embrace.

Last but certainly not least, Starks displayed something this year's Hoya crew will need dramatically - leadership. He routinely was seen encouraging teammates (including Sims) to run the floor, finish and compete. His attitude was infectious.

Olasewere is more than okay: Long Island University junior forward Jamal Olasewere has been on a tear during this year's Nike Pro City, showing his improvement along the way. Having dropped 12.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game - and lighting up the Northeast Conference tournament final with 31 and 11 - at the power forward position last year for Long Island U., Jamal has decided to expand his game. With the help of his coaches.

"They told me I'll be playing more of the three" this upcoming season, said the athletic and aggressive Olasewere. Previously he has relied on impressive athletic ability and aggressive play. The result was a player that rocked the rims, grabbed boards and rejected shots, many times in dramatic fashion.

But as more of a wing player, he must get to the hole off the bounce and shoot from the perimeter. While the latter is not as developed, his ball patting has improved tremendously; Jamal, who was briefly recruited by G'Town, not only sliced to the cup in half court settings, but even handled the rock in the open floor and finishing, going almost coast to coast.

Interestingly enough, Olasewere, a lefty, did much of his dribbling and attacking with the right. When asked of this, Jamal noted "People have been saying I couldn't dribble with my right, so I've been working hard on it out here".

He's also been guarding players well, including accepting the challenge of checking Memphis Grizzly guard Greivis Vasquez. Of strapping up on Vasquez, a National Basketball Association player, Jamal indicated "I enjoyed checking him. He was talking a little bit, but I went at him".

That he did. NEC, watch out.

Extras: For updates on Hoyas Sims, Jabril Trawick, Mikael Hopkins and Greg Whittington, along with Arledge, a guy that was recruited briefly by G'Town


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