Summer League attracts crowds

ElmCor Youth and Adult Center, an indoor facility, is a very popular venue located on Northern Boulevard between 107th and 108th Streets, a short distance from Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.

However, ElmCor every year used the PS 127 site for its outdoor summer basketball league. However, for this year the outdoor facility has been moved to the ElmCor Center indoors during the week and to St. Michael’s Park in Jackson Heights on weekends. All this moving around has been caused by construction during the summer of the PS 127 Parks Department facility.

During the hottest months of the year, action in its hoop circuit in various age classifications is coming to a close with playoffs and championship games in August.

William Mayers who has been at ElmCor since 2003 is its recreation coordinator. He also coaches teams.

Mayers played his basketball at Flushing High School. His father was a soccer player on the island of Dominica, in the Caribbean, and also in Puerto Rico during his time of indulging in sports.

His father did not understand basketball but tried to talk to William about soccer; however, the latter sport just did not work for him.

Getting back to the present summer league, the games have been going very well, according to the Corona resident.

“Indoors we have a Pro League on Mondays and a High School division on Wednesday evenings,” said Will. “So far they have been very competitive with some exciting games.”

In one case, last week, there were two scheduled games for one night, but a terrible rain and thunder storm coupled with lightning forced the postponement of action.

“Since we had a water leak in the gym, we had to postpone the games,” he added. “We (the players) waited around and were looking forward to play them. We were disappointed that we couldn’t play.”

In this competitive league, some of the teams are sponsored. Some of the sponsors include Rennisance, Positive Direction, Riverside Hawks and ElmCor, with many players looking very good-the upcoming and stars of the future.

“Usually we get a decent crowd depending on the weather,” Mayers recently said.”The summer time gives a good chance for the high school players to continue to play and get experience competing on a high level. We work hard and practice with drills.”

“During the summer we have the best coach in AAU history in Will,” said Mohammed Shuaid. “We have great competition out here.”

Gregory Paros, who also attends Bryant High School, feels that the boys play with good competition and the team has a good coach.

“We come here every day,” Paros added. “We practice with the weights as they help us better play together as a team.”

Summer ball prepares these players for the high school season. It’s the toughness that counts in this 18 and under league. When these players return to school, they seem to get tougher than they were over the previous year.

Players come from all over the metropolitan area, and for the most part they come in teams. They had played together on the same team as before.

The ElmCor League teams have regular coaches, who are not affiliated with any high school varsity squads.

Take Lindsey Brooks, who coaches a team in the high school or 18 and under division in the circuit, for example. He is helping out by giving ‘something back to the community,’ which he has been doing for the past 30 years.

Brooks, who attended Boys High School in Brooklyn, had one of the greatest experiences that he has ever had in coaching; for he did not even play varsity basketball while at Boys High.

“I like to give something to these young men that they can take with them,” he said. When I coach kids I have to be some kind of guardian, mentor and professor…”

Meanwhile, the Pro Division comprises an unlimited group of young men who are former professionals and men who aspire to be pros. James Ryan is a coach in the league.

He has many good connections with good players who played for the Wizzards and Harlem Globetrotters. The Pro Division uses a 24-second clock. It’s a pro atmosphere. There are six teams in this division and eight in the high school league for 18 and under. Seating capacity is about 900.