Last summer, New York City was on fire as the inaugural Nike NYC Battle of the Boroughs transformed Harlem's Rucker Park into a state of the art basketball battleground.
At stake was bragging rights of which borough is the baddest. On Monday, coaches had try-outs and started to assemble their teams for a re-do and NYCHoops.net has the inside track.
"It's more than just a game," said Bernard Bowen, one of the event's main organizers. "This is something that's all about representing your hood."
Bernard said that while last year's coaches were great, they were new to coaching. "This year, we have veteran coaches," he said. In addition to the coaching, the top 18U talent of Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens will be on display. Many of the players also participated in last year's games.
Coaching the Manhattan team will be Kimani Young (New Heights) and Kashif Pratt and will include players; Kareem Canty, Naasir Williams and Tafari Whittingham. The Bronx coaches are Artie Green and Andre' Barrett and will once again feature St. Raymond's Daniel Dingle and Iowa State bound Nkereuwem Okoro amongst others. Brooklyn's coaches are Anton Marchand (Conrad McRae Tournament) and John "Mookie" Thomas and will include Omar Calhoun, Kamari Murphy and Terrence Samuel.
The defending champion Queens squad will be coached by the charismatic Raheem "Rah" Wiggans (Sean Bell All-stars) and Cliff Clinkscales. Players will include St. John's bound Jevon Thomas and LeBrent Walker from last year's team.
The 2nd annual Battle of the Boroughs will be held in the borough of the last year's winning team, so this year's B.O.B. will be on August 6th at Corona Park (Flushing Meadow).
"We want to build a tradition and an alumnus," said Bowen. "We want players to want to come back years from now and want to coach."