Rod Strickland’s summer basketball league kicks of its 20th season

Vincent Davis | 6/22/2017, 11:03 a.m.
Coaches scream at players and referees at a high volume from the sidelines.

Coaches scream at players and referees at a high volume from the sidelines. “Timeout, timeout, timeout. Rebound! Rebound! Stack up! Stack up! On the foul line, the foul line. What are you looking at ref? You’re missing the call. Foul! Foul! Ref, where’s the foul?”

The unofficial summer league youth basketball has begun. Young Athletes, Inc., a youth development organization co-founded by former NBA prodigy, now a highly respected college basketball coach, Rod Strickland, and longtime friend LaMarre Dyson in 1997, kicked it off Saturday and Sunday, Father’s Day weekend, as they’ve done in their South Bronx locations for the past 20 years.

Strickland, there for the opening weekend, talked to the children, their parents, coaches and old friends that visit there and enjoyed the interaction. “I try to come as much as I can,” said Strickland, who fits visits in between his offseason college duties and recruiting schedules. Dyson, as he always has, keeps things running. “I love basketball. To sit here and watch these kids play and see some of the talent, for me, it’s a win-win. It keeps me engaged, and it keeps me motivated,” said Strickland, who recently was able to add Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving from across the bridge in West Orange, N.J., to the program.

Sponsored by Nike, the Kyrie Irving/Rod Strickland Summer Basketball League games are played on weekends on the outdoor courts of JHS 162 at St. Ann’s Avenue and East 149th Street until Saturday, Aug. 19, championship day. In the event of rain, the school’s gym is used.