Before Arizona Basketball power forward Ira Lee stepped foot officially as a Wildcat, he impressively participated in a few games that got our attention.
Arizona Basketball freshman forward Ira Lee, 6-foot-8 and 225 pounds, will be a wonderful surprise for Wildcats fans. The four-star athlete, before he arrived in Tucson last week, played in the ballislife All-American game. His performance was noticed by fans more than a few five-star athletes like Trevon Duval and Brian Bowen; Lee was swarmed for selfie and autograph seekers after the game.
Lee followed that up with a short one-game stint in The Drew League in Compton.
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The Drew League has been around over 40 years and has become a league and tournament that basketball fans relish. Players from all walks of life are chosen for teams, some play for the same team each year, and others become coaches of new teams, it is one big happy family.
Here are the various groups of players who display their talents on the King Drew Nike Basketball court:
- NBA players such as Jordan Clarkson, Metta World Peace, and Stanley Johnson
- College players such as Trojans Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu
- Americans who play Internationally such as Kaimyn Pruitt (Germany – Itzehoe Eagles) and Pat Rembert (Qatar – Team: Uhud Medina) who won last year’s Drew League overall MVP award
- High school players such as Ron Artest III, OSU PG Ethan Thompson, and Ira Lee
- Former NBA Players such as Baron Davis (who also coaches)
- Drew League legends
- College graduates who want to showcase their talents to get more opportunities
- Rappers such as The Game have a team and play
Everyone attends the games for free, and sometimes you can catch an NBA Star courtside such as Demar Derozan.
Lee played the entire game at The Drew. The Clozures had only a couple of subs on the bench. He took the Drew League motto, “No Excuse, Just Produce” to heart. I, for one, could not get enough, and he had a great time. “It was a great experience!” said Lee, “Happy to be a part of something special in the city of LA.”
With that one game, Ira Lee is now part of the fabric of Los Angeles and Compton basketball history and lore that Baron Davis highlighted in his movie about the league he still coaches and plays in. Davis’s team won the Championship last season along with Arizona’s Stanley Johnson who played on his team.
As far as the ballislife All-American game, which is relatively new in LA, it is one of the biggest showcase events now on the west coast. NBA Players, college players who participated in past games, NBA Draftees and their agents, as well as YouTube sensations all, showed up. Arizona commit Shareef O’Neal, and his side kick’s Arizona target Bol Bol and little brother Shaqir O’Neal all sat courtside along with Lonzo, Liangelo, and dad LaVar Ball. O’Neal and Lee were teammates in high school at Crossroads HS in Santa Monica, California. The two are very close.
Ira was everywhere, on offense and defense (most players didn’t exert themselves on defense like Lee), dunking, rebounding, passing, he did it all. He played opposite Arizona commit Brandon Randolph who showed his skills as well.
Lee also showed up in the Dunk Contest and got a lot of folks to put their hands over their gaping mouths. He lost to UCLA point guard Jaylen Hands, but it was a tie as far as I was concerned.
Here are highlights from both games, don’t miss the reactions from the crowds!
As I said before, I believe, after watching Lee play three times so far, they are in for a pleasant surprise, give the guy a fifth star for not shying away but excelling among the competition. Bear Down LeeTime!