Drew League 2013: Top Video Highlights from Playoff Action
The Drew League is unlike any basketball exhibition you've ever seen.
Where else can you see NBA superstars such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Paul George and John Wall grace the same court as college and international stars, budding high school kids and well-known street ballers?
Where else can you see Metta World Peace and The Game team up in an organized game?
Where else can you see Dijon Thompson dunk on Nick Young?
And the word "exhibition" might be a little inaccurate. Even with some of these hilarious matchups, it's an extremely competitive league that features 28 teams playing an 11-game schedule before 16 squads journey to the postseason.
That's where we currently reside—you can find a playoff bracket and schedule here.
Let's take a look at some of the early-round action.
Brandon Jennings Leads Hank's A1 All-Stars to the Semifinals
Much like he will soon do in the NBA, Brandon Jennings made his debut with a new team during the Drew League quarterfinals.
After playing two regular season games with Tradition, "Black Jesus," as he's known at the Drew League, stepped in for Hank's A1 All-Stars amid a little bit of controversy.
Usually it's against the rules for players to make their debuts during the playoffs, but Jennings was made an exception because he was traded to the Pistons during the last week of the Drew League regular season and unable to free up enough time to play.
Pistons fans will be hoping his debut for Hank's All-Stars is a preview of what his debut with them will be like, because he poured in 26 points to lead his squad to a fairly dominant 92-83 victory over Cheaters 2.
Casper Ware Jr., who dropped 45 in Cheaters' Round 1 upset win, had 25, but it wasn't enough to fuel a late comeback attempt by his squad.
Jennings—who grew up near Los Angeles—will lead Hank's All-Stars against The Kings of L.A. for a spot in the final.
Amir Johnson and Kings of L.A. Knock off Stephon Marbury and Hard Times
Amir Johnson received the biggest role of his career last season with the Toronto Raptors—a deserved role, too, as he has become one of the toughest, hard-working big men in the league.
The Los Angeles native proved his worth once again, this time in the quarterfinals, leading Kings of LA to a 100-85 win over Hard Times to earn a spot in the semis. Drew League's Twitter account called the Raptors big man the "top performer:"
He finished with a ridiculously efficient 26 points on 10-of-12 shooting, while new Portland Trail Blazer Dorell Wright and current NBA D-Leaguer Mike Taylor combined with him to tally 72 of LA's 100 points.
That proved to be far too much for Hard Times, which was led by former NBA standout Stephon Marbury, who is currently playing in China and showed that he still has some juice left in the tank at 36 years old.
James Harden and Metta World Peace Upset in First Round
You've got so much going on in this highlight, which features James Harden, Metta World Peace and The Game's No. 1 seed Money Gang going up against No. 8 Hank's Cheaters 2, a team that had to win a play-in game just to make it there.
You've got World Peace throwing elbows, ironically enough, in a game where he is teamed up with the guy he hit with one of the most infamous elbows of all time and James Harden looking as smooth as ever. He even hit his patented Euro Step, which isn't seen in the video. You've also got some rim-rattling throwdowns and 2011 Drew League MVP Casper Ware Jr. going off.
Throw in the overtime drama and a massive upset, and you have all of the ingredients for an instant classic.
In the end, Ware, a former Long Beach State standout and current A.S. Junior Casale star in Italy, poured in 45 points to lead his team to the shocking win.
Even the Milwaukee Bucks' Ekpe Udoh was enthralled:
Casper Ware show— Ekpe Udoh (@EkpeUdoh) August 11, 2013
And that's why this league is awesome.
Nick Young and Gilbert Arenas Continue the Run of Upsets
Apparently seeding doesn't matter all that much in the Drew League.
Harden and World Peace's No. 1 seed lost. The No. 1 seed on the other side of the bracket, LA Loop, lost. No. 2 seed, NWA, lost. The other No. 2 seed, MHP (Most Hated Players), led by new Los Angeles Laker Nick Young and former Washington Wizard Gilbert Arenas, lost to the seventh-seeded LAUNFD.
In fact, the worst-seeded teams went 8-0 (!) in the first round.
But back to MHP vs. LAUNFD.
The former Wizards backcourt combo of Young and Arenas started off strong and put on a good performance, but with time running down, Agent Zero missed on a game-tying three, and LAUNFD advanced with an absolutely thrilling 81-78 win.
LAUNFD got help from some guy named Kevin Durant earlier in the Drew League season, but it was all Marcus Williams and Bobby Brown, who both helped the team to a title last year, in this one.
Kwame Alexander Is Mean to the Rim
Kwame Alexander is turning into somewhat of a rim-attacking legend.
We've seen him put on a show at the Drew League before this year. We've seen him in college dunk contests. We've seen him literally tear the hoop down when playing for Cal State Bernardino. We've seen him fly through the air on the fast break.
As such, it's not exactly surprising to see him throwing down some monster jams this summer. But that doesn't make them any less impressive.
Alexander has put on a show at this year's Drew League, and these are just a few of his many put-the-crowd-into-a-frenzy dunks, but they are ferocious nonetheless.
Alexander will likely remind a lot of people of Kenneth Faried because of his hair, his propensity to play with lots of energy and his ability to attack the hoop.
Really, though, he is a unique player who can do some special things in the air, and we have once again been given some jaw-dropping proof of that.
Guys like Kwame Alexander (and dunks like his) are just another reason why the Drew League is such a spectacular, unique event.