June 23, 2006
While Santa Clara basketball might not be in season right now, Broncos fans still have an opportunity to see their favorite men's and women's players in action right now. A total of 10 current players are participating in the San Francisco ProCity league from June - August at Kezar Pavilion. The league has just started its 27th year on the men's side and 12th year on the women's side.
Playing in the men's summer league are forwards Okechukwu Mbanugo (Bay Pride) and Tristan Parham (East Bay), centers Sean Denison (South Bay Spartans) and John Bryant (SF City), guards Calvin Johnson (East Bay) and Danny Pariseau (South Bay Spartans), along with incoming freshman Cedric Latimer (South Bay Spartans).
On the women's side, veterans Tracey Walker (Golden State), Anna Martin (East Bay) and Yasemin Kimyacioglu (TBD) will take to the courts, as will Jenni Gottschalk (TBD), who will be returning to the team in 2006-07 after a two-year absence.
The league will again be full of talented players, as a number of Bay Area collegiate players are participating, along with pro players who are back from Europe for the summer. Some NBA and WNBA players may even stop by from time to time to show off their skills. Drew Gooden of the Cleveland Cavaliers is scheduled to make some appearances in the league this summer.
One of the Broncos bright lights in 2005-06, Bryant is looking at the league as a place where he can continue to take his game to the next level. After a strong freshman season, the 6-11 center believes that the league will have him ready for an even stronger sophomore year.
"I think that the league will be very helpful for me," said Bryant. "There are so many talented players out there and I have already learned a lot that will help me next year. A lot of the players have experience in pro basketball, so they are passing down that experience to me."
For Walker, the SF ProCity is a great way to stay in shape and keep her competitive edge through the summer months.
"I really think that this is the best competition that I can get over the summer," said Walker. "There are a lot of college players from the West Coast that I know, so it almost feels like you are in season and that keeps me playing at a high level."
She combines her play in the summer league with her summer workouts and youth coaching, so basketball is never far from her mind.
"I work out every day but Friday and I am doing some coaching with my sister," said Walker. "Doing that stuff along with playing in the league keeps me focused and in shape, so I can be ready once we get back to practicing in the fall."
While all the players see the league as a great summer experience, the league takes on added importance for Tristan Parham as he attempts to recover from a knee injury that sidelined him for nearly all of last season. The league should provide a good test for him against strong competition as he prepares for his senior season.
"My knees are feeling better than ever right now," said Parham. "It is great to get some game experience over the summer so I can continue to build my game up. There is good competition up there and I think it will definitely help me be ready for next year."
Parham also wants to duplicate the championship he won last year in the league.
"Last year, we took home the title and I definitely want to do it again this summer. There are a lot of good players and teams up here, so we will see what happens."
The games have already started, as Bryant's SF City squad earned an opening night 104-88 win over the South Bay Spartans, which includes Denison, Pariseau and Latimer. Admission is free to all games at Kezar Pavilion. To find out more information on the league, go to http://www.sanfranciscoproam.com/.