Warm-up for winter with league

Published 8:43 pm Saturday, June 15, 2013

The King’s Fork Summer League will commence tomorrow, gathering high school basketball teams from all over the Eastern Region and giving coaches and players the opportunity to see what possibilities exist for the 2013-14 winter regular season.

Thirteen teams will participate, including all three Suffolk public high schools, and King’s Fork will open up both of its courts to allow for two games to be played simultaneously. The entry fee for spectators is $2 a night.

Rising freshman Deshaun Wethington will help represent the Bulldogs along with a group of newcomers in the 2013 King's Fork Summer League starting tomorrow night at the school. Lakeland High School and Nansemond River High School will also field teams of new and returning players to prepare for the 2013-14 winter regular season.

Rising freshman Deshaun Wethington will help represent the Bulldogs along with a group of newcomers in the 2013 King’s Fork Summer League starting tomorrow night at the school. Lakeland High School and Nansemond River High School will also field teams of new and returning players to prepare for the 2013-14 winter regular season.

Bulldogs head coach Josh Worrell summed up what he thought was the main purpose of the league.

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“Just giving the kids the opportunity in a real game setting to see how they’ll respond and see — are they going to meet the challenges that are going to come up on them in the upcoming season?” he said.

Lakeland High School head coach Clint Wright agreed and also touched on another great benefit.

“I think the summer league is just another opportunity to see how my student-athletes compete versus stiff competition, and the great thing is that if there’s a loss that it doesn’t count towards the (regular) season,” he said.

Last season was Wright’s first with Lakeland, and he frequently noted the challenge of his players learning his philosophy and style during the season itself, as opposed to having a full offseason to learn it. He hopes this summer opportunity will help his players’ learning process.

“We’ve been training a touch for the summer league, and I do feel that if a guy is on the court thinking (then) he’s going to be a step slow,” he said. “And so gradually, we want the play to be instinctive.”

Nansemond River High School head coach Ed Young hopes that the summer league will be a tone-setter for his players, and he commented on its ability to approximate a regular-season game situation.

“It gives them a chance to work on the skills that hopefully they’re going to work on throughout the summer,” he said. “It has real referees, a little bit of a crowd, as close to a game setting as we can get.”

Wright commented on the impact of keeping the team together outside of basketball season.

“To bring them together for the summer league, it builds a real strong camaraderie so that come the regular season, you would know where certain low-post players like to receive the basketball, you know what type of shots that your guards can actually make or can’t make,” he said.

Young said it helps him learn how newer players can function in the Warriors’ unique system.

“With a program like us, we’re really heavily predicated on a lot of substituting, a lot of up-and-down play, more so than most other programs, so we need to see if kids can play long periods, and then also, since we do sub for situationals, who can do what,” he said. “What situations can a kid be able to show his best side?”

Worrell said that while most opposing teams will not show their primary game plans for the regular season, Suffolk can still get a sense of what other teams have, “like if there’s a guy that’s blossomed that you haven’t really seen lately or a new person that’s coming around.”

Familiar faces will be present for Suffolk, like rising sophomores Deshaun Wethington of the Bulldogs and Deonta Knight of the Cavaliers and rising seniors Devon Oakley of the Warriors.

Other new Suffolk stars could emerge, as well.

“Seeing what kids are stepping up and what kids are getting better, we’ll find out starting Monday,” Worrell said.

Summer league 2013 schedule

June 17
Court 1
6 p.m.  Oscar Smith  vs.  Tallwood
7 p.m.  Heritage  vs.  Denbigh
8 p.m.  KFHS  vs.  Maury
9 p.m.  Warwick   vs.    NRHS
Court 2
6 p.m.  Maury  vs.  Norcom
7 p.m.  NRHS  vs.  Deep Creek
8 p.m.  W. Branch vs. Tallwood
9 p.m.  LHS  vs.  Menchville

June 18
Court 1
6 p.m.  Warwick  vs.  Maury
7 p.m.  KFHS  vs.  Denbigh
8 p.m. Oscar Smith  vs.  Deep Creek
9 p.m.  Warwick vs.  Tallwood
Court 2
6 P.m.  LHS  vs.  Western Branch
7 P.m.  Heritage  vs.  Menchville
8 P.m.  NRHS  vs.  Norcom
9 P.m.  LHS  vs.  Denbigh

June 20
Court 1
6 p.m.  W. Branch vs.    Menchville
7 p.m.  Heritage  vs.  Maury
8 p.m.  LHS  vs.  Tallwood
9 p.m.  Heritage  vs.  Deep Creek
Court 2
6 p.m.  Norcom  vs.  Denbigh
7 p.m.  KFHS  vs.  Oscar Smith
8 p.m.  Warwick  vs.  Menchville

June 25
Court 1
6 p.m.  Tallwood  vs.  Heritage
7 p.m.  Denbigh  vs.  Maury
8 p.m.  KFHS  vs.  Warwick
9 p.m.  Heritage  vs.    Norcom
Court 2
6 p.m.  W. Branch vs.    Deep Creek
7 p.m.  LHS  vs.  Norcom
8 p.m.  Oscar Smith vs. Menchville

June 26
Court 1
6 p.m.  LHS  vs.  Deep Creek
7 p.m.  KFHS  vs.  Norcom
8 p.m.  NRHS  vs.  Tallwood
9 p.m.  Oscar Smith  vs.  Denbigh
Court 2
6 p.m.  NRHS  vs.  W. Branch
7 p.m.  Oscar Smith  vs.  Maury
8 p.m.  Heritage  vs.  Warwick

June 27
Court 1
6 p.m.  Menchville  vs.  Norcom
7 p.m.  KFHS  vs.  Tallwood
8 p.m.  W. Branch  vs.  Maury
Court 2
6 p.m.  LHS  vs.  Oscar Smith
7 p.m.  Warwick  vs.  Denbigh
8 p.m.  Menchville  vs.  NRHS

July 1
Court 1
6 p.m.  Tallwood  vs.  Norcom
7 p.m.  KFHS  vs.  W. Branch
8 p.m.  LHS  vs.  Maury
9 p.m.  Denbigh vs.  W. Branch
Court 2    
6 p.m.  Oscar Smith  vs.  NRHS
7 p.m.  Deep Creek  vs. Warwick
8 p.m.  Oscar Smith  vs.  Heritage
9 p.m.  Deep Creek  vs.  Menchville

July 2
Court 1
6 p.m.  Deep Creek  vs.  Norcom
7 p.m.  KFHS  vs.  Menchville
8 p.m.  Tallwood  vs.  Maury
9 p.m.  KFHS  vs.  Deep Creek
Court 2
6 p.m.  Heritage  vs.  W. Branch
7 p.m.  NRHS  vs.  Denbigh
8 p.m.  Warwick  vs.  LHS
9 p.m.  NRHS  vs.  Maury