Friday, November 11, 2011
Jennings, Stephenson star in Brooklyn
By Christopher Hunt
The question is "Are you from here?"
The answer for Brandon Jennings is no. His game is West Coast, and even when he's in Brooklyn, Jennings reps for his hometown of Compton, Calif.
But for an afternoon, Jennings made Coney Island his home, while he put on a show against alumni at Lincoln High on Friday, the likes of which included fellow NBA players Sebastian Telfair and Lance Stephenson. It was the second Brooklyn stop on Under Armour’s "Are You From Here?" tour. The UA team played at Boys & Girls Wednesday.
Jennings, point guard for the Milwaukee Bucks, teamed up with No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams of the Timberwolves and Greivis Vasquez of the Grizzlies. Bronx native and former Rice High School star Kemba Walker played at Boys & Girls on Wednesday but sat on the bench, wearing a boot, during Friday’s exhibition game because of tendinitis in his right foot.
The team also played with Jay Hernandez, a former standout at Hofstra, is who played high school ball at St. Dominic in Long Island and works as a trainer for elite ball players.
But the crowd stayed loyal to Telfair and Stephenson, especially while Stephenson was raining 3-pointers from almost 30 feet out and muscling Vasquez in the paint. Stephenson, who became the Railsplitters' all-time leading scorer in 2009, led the Lincoln alumni squad to a 101-83 win over Under Armour with 25 points.
Jennings dropped 39 points for UA and almost ended the game when he banged home an alley-oop from Vasquez in the fourth. Then, in true streetball style, he heaved the ball into a crowd of fans hanging from the track above the court. He also completely ignored the rules of free-throw shooting when he used one of his attempts in the third quarter to toss the ball off the backboard and set the crowd off with a two-hand dunk that didn’t count.
The exhibition was originally had NBA players taking on Lincoln's high school team, but a PSAL rule wouldn’t allow the student-athletes to compete against the pros. Lincoln decided to use the game to raise money for travel expenses for a tournament the team plans to attend in Hawaii. Coach Dwayne "Tiny" Morton said he wasn't sure on the amount raised but added that the game was a great opportunity for former players and other pros to touch the community.
"It was disappointing," Lincoln’s current biggest star, Isaiah Whitehead, said of not being able to play. "But once they told use who were playing against we all got excited. It's good. It shows that they remember where they came from and that they'll never forget about Lincoln."