Baltimore native Donte’ Greene usually stars as the high-flying forward for the Sacramento Kings. On Friday, Greene moonlighted as the high-flying, backboard-slapping star attraction at Washington, D.C.’s George Goodman Summer League.

In Greene’s second appearance at the famed street ball league, the 6-foot-11-inch swingman showed off his athleticism while mixing in some long-range shooting and some rim hanging finishes.

Greene’s H.O.B.O team went toe-to-toe with Team Ooohs & Ahhhs in a street game that resembled more of a local collegiate All-Star contest than your average pickup game.

Among the players were Bowie State alums Duke Crews (22 points) and Travis Hyman, former George Washington forward Rob Diggs (15 points) and St. Bonaventure guard Chris Matthews (27 points). Add in International hoopster Omar Weaver (28 points) and Ballou High School’s Donte Thomas, the DCIAA Player of the Year; Friday’s twilight game was a glitzy affair.

Teamed with Weaver and Diggs, Greene scored 16 points and helped provide a high-scoring front-court for Team H.O.B.O. Despite the opposing frontline, Matthews’ long-range shooting, including eight three-pointers, and the inside dominance of Crews and Hyman sparked Team Ooohs & Ahhhs to a 98-91 victory over the favorites.

Crews, the CIAA Player of the Year, and Hyman, the CIAA Defensive Player of the Year, represented Bowie State well as the two forwards made several game-changing plays during the evening.

Hyman had a series of early blocks that appeared to sway Team H.O.B.O from going inside late in the game while Crews led the team in scoring in the second half. Matthews’ flawless shooting and smooth ball-handling showcased why the 6-foot-4-inch guard will be trying out later this summer for the Milwaukee Bucks. Matthews’ shooting display was dazzling at times as the crowd braced for a score with every shot that left his fingertips.

“Someone needs to get a hand in his face he can flat-out shoot the rock,” announcer Miles Rawls warned after Matthews’ third three-pointer.

Matthews was the VIP on a night that featured an NBA star, an international star and a high school prodigy. The type of talent assembled for Friday’s headline game however is typical of the George Goodman League. NBA stars visit frequently to play with hyped-up high schoolers and international players angling for a chance to prove their worth.

A modest crowd turned out for the evening’s early game but swelled before the star-studded twilight match tipped off.

“Only at the Goodman League,” Rawls professed throughout the night.

The play-by-play announcer never said exactly what he meant, but one glance on the court at a pair of players of the year, a defensive player of the year, an NBA hopeful and a 2008 NBA first-round draft pick and the meaning was clear: only at the Goodman League.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO