River City Summer League returns to Vicksburg

Published 9:23 am Thursday, June 9, 2016

Players from area colleges, overseas and the NBA Development League will flock to Vicksburg to extend their hoop dreams.

The third annual River City Summer League will tip off at the Jackson Street Community Center beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. Grant Worsley, general manager and coach of the American Basketball Association’s Jackson Showboats, puts on the showcase to help players find their next hardwood adventure.

“You have a lot of (Amateur Athletic Union) travel ball for young kids, you have a lot of different camps for exposure, but this is something for the big boys,” Worsley said. “A lot of people get out of college and they don’t have any place to play. They need somewhere to stay in shape, need some exposure.”

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Most importantly, Worsley is excited about getting the players to play in a controlled environment and work on their craft.

Worsley invited players with remaining eligibility to the summer league, which is different from previous years when players were in the post-NCAA, professional phase of their careers.

He extended an invite to those players because he’s seen athletes who have the talent to play ball but their grades kept them from attending a mid-major or power-five conference school.

“They have to go through some growing pains in regard to finishing up their classes, getting their transcripts together that want to play college ball,” Worsley said. “That gives them an opportunity to get their education, back in the system of playing at a collegiate level and get seen as well.”

Last year, Vicksburg natives Mychal Ammons, Dino Harris and Jonathan Phelps returned to the Jackson Street Community Center to stay in playing shape. Ammons went on to have two stints for the NBA D-league’s Idaho Stampede. He now plays with the Tijuana Zonkeys of the Basketball Circuit of the Pacific Coast, which is a Mexican league based in the northwestern part of the country.

The other major change in the format of the Summer League is the time has been limited to one day as opposed to a full weekend. This was done to allow players’ bodies to recover or spend more time with their families.

Friday, Worsley will conduct a series of scrimmages with 12-minute halves and five to six players per team. The league will continue throughout the summer.

“We’re going to have a round robin of teams,” Worsley said. “That way everybody plays, everybody gets seen and everyone has to get out there and get on their horse.”