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A men's basketball league is starting in Flint

Michigan State forward Marquise Gray (41) dunks as Ohio State's Evan Turner (21) and Ohio State' Kosta Koufos (31) watch during the first half of a quarterfinal in the Big Ten Conference men'sbasketball tournament in Indianapolis, Friday, March 14, 2
(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

If you have basketball ambitions, and would like to see if you can still hoop this summer in Flint's new men's basketball league, you still have time to sign up. A group of former Flint area basketball stars are being recruited to start the basketball league in the “Vehicle City” where hoops is still king. Despite the skyrocketing murder and arson rate, basketball is still the main attraction in the “rustbelt city.”

Keenan Gray, is the force behind the men's summer league, located at the old Stewart Elementary School on Pingree Street on the city's southside. Gray, a former Beecher High School grad and older brother of M.S.U.'s Marquise Gray. Along with former M.S.U. standout Antonio Smith the two Spartans are said to be eager to take part in the new league which is scheduled to begin team play as early as June 22 to August 10.

Writing for Mlive.com, Eric Woodyard reports June 7 that hoopsters expected to take part in the new league include Lamar Rice, a Southwestern High School alum, who starred at South Carolina's Clemson University. Kevin Tiggs, a Mott Community College grad who left Flint for East Tennesee State, later had a tryout in 2010 with the Memphis Grizzlies, in the N.B.A.

William “Beans” Hatcher, has played in a pro-league in Israel. Thad McFadden, a 2005 Southwestern High School grad who played in the Czech Republic. Also expected to play is Corey Santee, starred at Southwestern Academy, (the former Southwestern High School). As senior he earned first team All-State honors, including runner-up for Michigan's “Mr. Basketball, and was rated the number one point guard in the 2001 class in the state of Michigan by Prep Spotlight Magazine, according to Wikipedia encyclopedia. Also JuJuan Cooley is expected to take part in the summer league. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JuJuan_Cooley) “JuJuan Laray Cooley (born January 31, 1982) is an American basketball player who played for 3 years in Romania for the BC Mures team between 2006-2009. In the 2009 off-season he decided to give it a try in the NBDL.”

Gray is making his second attempt to get the league going, after first starting the effort late in 2011. “Last year, when we tried to get it started, we began too late” said Gray. According to the Flint Journal, there has been some interest in starting up a men's league since Earl Jordan recenly lost a gym to continue men's basketball in the area.

Although team deposits were expected to be in June 8, Gray says late registrations are still being accepted. The registration fee is $800 per team with a $350 deposit. Games are to be played starting June 22, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with a single-game elimination playoff at the end of the regular season. Additionally, in order to attract collegians to the league, Gray is working with the NCAA, which will allow college athletes to participate without affecting their eligibility.

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