A few weeks ago the Greater Hartford Pro Am was profiled here. It was important to let basketball fans in the state know about the great basketball that was about to be played in the state. That article was based on the experience of going last year and the basketball stars who were to play in the games this year. This article is based on the games played this past Saturday, the 17th of July to take a look at if the Pro Am lived up to the hype.
On Saturday two games were played. The first game between Harte Nissan and Sparks Motor All-Stars was to start at 5 p.m. It looked as if the Sparks was ready to tip off at 5. However, Harte Nissan either had a late wake up call or they were enjoying the great outdoor weather. Except for one of the players on Harte there were no other players in site until almost 5:30. As soon as his teammates showed up it was announced that the game would start in 5 minutes. Harte warmed up quickly. Even from their quick warm up it could easily be seen that they were the more athletic team.
Proving Allen Iverson right, Harte Nissan did not seem to need the practice. They were the much more athletic team. They stole the ball whenever they desired, blocked the Sparks shots whenever they wanted to intimidate, and dunked if they wanted to be photogenic. Basically whatever they wanted they did. The game was pretty entertaining even though it was a blow out. Both teams pushed the ball and there were exciting plays on both ends of the court.
The second game pitted Hot 93.7 All-Stars against the Doc Hurley All-Stars. With Doc Hurley having a lot of current UConn players you could feel that they were the team to watch that night. Hot 93.7 had a few CCSU players. Again, the action was quick with a lot of breakaway opportunities. Kemba Walker of UConn was the big draw and he didn’t dissapoint. He was the leading scorer but did not score enough as Doc Hurley lost a close game.
The results of the game really don’t matter. The games are just really fun to watch. You’re going to get a close view of the game no matter where you sit. If you get there early you’ll have a great choice of seats as the crowd tends to pile in after the action has started. Also, a bonus is that there is always commentary going on. Peter Higgins has a mic and basically speaks into it non stop. Sometimes he’ll get on the players, but usually he is congratulatory to them after a nice play. Somehow, he knows everybody on the floor as he calls out all their names.
So did the Pro Am live up to the promise it presented? Yes and more. The gym that the games are played in at the Sports & Medicine Sciences Academy is phenomenal. Although it’s not real big and fans only sit on one side of the court it seems very roomy. It’s a very clean gym as is the rest of the academy. Also, the atmosphere in the gym is very laid back. If you like basketball you should be obligated to go and see the great talent close up. It’s more than worth the cost of admission as it is free. The action on the court continues through mid August.