New NCAA rule separates college teammates at Pro Am

Jul. 08, 2013 @ 11:17 PM

S.J.G. Greater NC Pro-Am rosters have been shuffled to accommodate an NCAA rule that will prevent the clustering of players from the same college team, league organizers said on Monday.

In past seasons of the pro-am — a summer basketball league featuring both college and professional players — fans were liable to see, for example, Duke’s returning players getting up and down the floor with the Blue Devils’ incoming freshmen and transfers.

But the said NCAA restriction means that this sixth season of the summer league will have rosters with just two players from a particular college on each pro-am team, league compliance director Chuck Jones said. 

Ever since the pro-am’s inception, a college team was allowed to have only two of its returning players on a given summer-league squad, but there was the option to fill out that pro-am roster with the college team’s incoming freshmen and transfers, Jones said.

The NCAA update could result in pro-am teams with, for instance, two returning North Carolina players; or a UNC returner could get put with a guy who’s transferring to the Tar Heels; or two incoming UNC freshmen could end up on the same summer-league team — essentially any two Tar Heels, perhaps joined by a couple of players from Duke, N.C. Central and N.C. State, Jones said.

Fans might not like all of that mixing and matching, both from an allegiance standpoint and the opportunity to see how the players from their favorite teams are jelling. But Jones said that guys from rival schools playing with each other will make an already strong league even tougher.

“It’s going to make the league a lot more competitive,” Jones said. “The teams will be a lot more competitive.”

The NCAA roster rule takes affect on Aug. 1, Jones said. By that time, pro-am teams will be making runs at the league championship, which is scheduled to be settled on Aug. 8. For the sake of continuity, league organizers decided to go ahead and adjust the rosters in time for today’s games when the league resumes at Durham School of the Arts, Jones said.

Pro-am rosters tend to be fluid, subject to player availability. The games are Tuesdays and Thursdays, with four games per evening starting at 6 p.m. Both admission and parking are free. The pro-am tipped off on June 27 and went on hiatus for the Fourth of July holiday. More information about the league is at ncproam.com.

Jones, Donyell Bryant and NBA veteran Jerry Stackhouse, a former UNC forward, co-founded the summer league as a way to positively impact the community. They’re childhood friends who graduated from Kinston High School before going their separate ways to play college ball. Bryant was a baseball player at N.C. A&T, and Jones played basketball at East Carolina and Winston-Salem State.