Maryland and Georgetown renew Alumni Basketball League rivalry


About a week after returning home to the DC area from Turkey, where he has spent the past nine months playing professional basketball, Melo Trimble received a direct message on Instagram from a household name.

Terrell Stoglin, who played at Maryland a few years before Trimble became the face of the Terrapins in the mid-2010s, was talking about an exhibition game. Trimble, looking to stay in shape before moving to China for the upcoming season, was intrigued.

“It was my first time talking to him, actually,” Trimble said. “But the moment he mentioned a game, I said I wouldn’t mind playing in something like that.”

On Saturday, Trimble and Stoglin will team up with other recent Maryland players to take on a group of Georgetown alumni in the first competition of the Alumni Basketball League, a new summer venture built around college basketball history.

Saturday’s game, scheduled on the clubhouse grounds of Maryland’s Xfinity Center, will feature 18 former Terps and Hoyas, most of whom play overseas. The Maryland team, named “The College Park Boys”, is made up of Trimble, Stoglin, Anthony Cowan Jr., Damonte Dodd, Travis Garrison, James Gist, Ekene Ibekwe, Sean Mosley and Byron Mouton. The Georgetown team, known as “DawgTalk”, includes Aaron Bowen, Jason Clark, Greg Monroe, Jagan Mosely, Rodney Pryor, Henry Sims, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Greg Whittington and Chris Wright.

General admission tickets are priced at $15, and various other VIP options are available. The match will not be televised or broadcast live.

Garrison and Wright are the teams’ general managers, meaning they’ve put most of their respective rosters together.

“It’s an easy throw,” said Wright, who recently returned from a game in Italy. “We all had a great time playing together, so it’s basically just reaching out and saying, ‘Hey, let’s hoop.’ It gives us a chance to play together, get jobs, represent our schools, and get paid while we do it. It’s a win-win for everyone. »

Each player will receive $2,500 for their participation, according to Kareem Rush, the league’s creator. Rush, who has played in Missouri and for several NBA teams, came up with the idea when he tried out for “Big3″‘s first season and noticed the high turnout turnout. He believed there was hidden potential in all talent just outside of the NBA because most former college stars spend their pro careers away from the fanbases that rooted them.

“What we noticed was that no one was really tapping into the college market outside of the NCAA,” Rush said. “We wanted to be the first league to do this.”

In 2018, he helped organize a charity game between Missouri and Kansas, the alma mater of his brother, Brandon Rush. The success of that event inspired him to expand, but the coronavirus pandemic put those plans on the back burner until this summer, when former Tigers teammate Jake Jackson helped him tackle a bigger project.

For now, Jackson, the founder of a venture capital firm, is funding the ABL. Rush said the plan is to use a few games this year as proof of concept before expanding into a full league in 2023, as he hopes ticket sales, TV rights and merchandising can help make the league financially viable.

“If the guys come back [to the United States] and they want to stay fit, why not play in a league where you make money and play in front of your old fan base? Rush said. “It’s a good way to stay in shape.”

When another former Tiger, Jason Conley, came on board, he suggested the DC area as the perfect location to host the league’s first game. There was talent available and there was an essentially dormant rivalry between Maryland and Georgetown.

“As far as college goes, people are fans of those teams forever,” said Monroe, a former Georgetown center who was No. 7 in the 2010 NBA draft and played for four teams, including the Washington Wizards last season. “Any time players come to represent a program again, people will always be drawn to it because they have some school pride. And especially in programs like Georgetown and Maryland, you’ll always have plenty of players to draw from.

Being from New Orleans, Monroe said he didn’t really understand the potential of a Maryland-Georgetown matchup until his team faced the Terps at a season opener in Florida in 2008. It was one of only four times the teams have played since 2000, leaving the rivalry to be fueled mostly by what-if scenarios.

“You hear it all the time, guys asking what would have happened a long time ago if Maryland had played Georgetown,” Garrison said. “When we saw the guys from Georgetown, we could talk about anything we wanted because we never played. If we never got to play them, it didn’t matter.

Now players will have the ability to save that trash talk on the pitch. Their college years may be over, but the rivalry may continue.

“I know no team wants to lose,” Trimble said. “That alone will make it a good game.”

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