Nolan Smith helps DLTR advance to Pro-Am final
NBA free agent Nolan Smith hadn’t played in the S.J.G. Greater NC Pro-Am all summer.
He’s shown up to games and has been on the bench as a coach, but Wednesday evening was his first time breaking a sweat in the summer league that includes professional, college and high school players.
And after barely warming up, Smith’s first shot attempt, a 3-pointer, snapped the nets for a shot heard around the gym at Durham School of the Arts.
A few possessions later, Smith pulled up again from distance. That one was good, too.
Smith suited up for DTLR in the semifinals of the summer league’s playoffs and helped his squad beat Hendrick of Durham 67-56.
“I just got cleared to play this week; just working out, so I wanted to come out here and play a little bit,” Smith said, rebounding from a calf strain. “Just get a good run in and help my team get to the championship game.”
Smith’s big-game experience could be useful this evening when DTLR deals with Dot’s Detailing in the pro-am’s title game.
The championship game should start around 8 p.m. at DSA, preceded by exhibition games starting at 6 p.m. featuring high school players, celebrities and wheelchair athletes. There is no admission charge for any of the games.
Dot’s made it to the championship game by beating the Dr. John Holt-Gastro team 103-95.
Holt-Gastro included Milwaukee Bucks forward John Henson, who played at North Carolina.
Dot’s head coach Tapona Champion and his team were presented with a trophy for being the champs of the regular season.
“The regular season is over with,” Champion said. “We’re here to win this championship.”
Dot’s almost missed out on a title shot, nearly blowing an 18-point lead.
“They went away with what got us there, not going to the rack,” Champion said.
Holt-Gastro grabbed a two-point lead with less than five minutes left in Game 2, but Dot’s got it done.
Darius Johnson-Odom, trying to catch on with the NBA’s Denver Nuggets after last season suiting up as a Los Angeles Lakers rookie, and Elizabeth City State University guard Miykael Faulcon played for Dot’s.
Faulcon went to the hoop in high school for Hillside, and Johnson-Odom went to Wakefield in Raleigh.
In Game 1, DTLR’s team was stacked with Smith and Nuggets forward Quincy Miller, as well as recent Raleigh Broughton High School graduate Devonte Graham, who has a penchant for aerial freak shows.
Graham is headed to Brewster Academy, a prep school in New Hampshire.
Southern High School guard Amari Hamilton was on that DTLR team, too.
The biggest name on Hendrick’s team belonged to Jon Moore, who plays for Wingate University, near Charlotte.
“It definitely was stacked,” Moore said, not making any excuses. “It’s fun, man.”
Now Moore heads to Wingate for football practice. He’s also a slot receiver for the Bulldogs.
“Two-sport athlete,” Moore explained. “Double scholarship.”
The S.J.G. Greater NC Pro-Am summer basketball league is one of the few organizations in the area that is certified to recognize individuals with The President’s Volunteer Service Award, which lauds community service, league co-founder Donyell Bryant said. For information on volunteering with the organization, go to www.ncproam.com.