- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 18, 2011

It’s not quite the NBA All-Star Game, but it is an East vs. West matchup that comes with almost as much fanfare.

In a first-ever contest, billed as “Capital Punishment,” the stars of Los Angeles’ Drew League are coming to D.C. to play the stars of the Goodman League on Saturday at Trinity University.

Goodman League-regular Kevin Durant will play, along with John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Gary Neal, Ty Lawson and Michael Beasley. For the Drew League, the squad will include JaVale McGee, DeMar DeRozan, Brandon Jennings and James Harden.

Both sides have been engaged in healthy doses of trash-talking for months, with the pride of a league, a city, and nationwide summer league supremacy on the line.

“When you knock on a door so many times, someone is going to answer,” said Dino Smiley, commissioner of the Drew League. “We’re coming to answer on the 20th.”

Beasley responded by calling the Goodman League the best league in the world.

“The Drew League, they play indoors. They don’t anything about this hard life. We’re from the streets out here,” Beasley said. “We’re going to get the win. We’re going to dog them. It’s guaranteed.”

Goodman League commissioner Miles Rawls called the game the biggest thing to happen in basketball in the past two decades.

Although both have made Drew League appearances this summer, neither Kobe Bryant nor LeBron James is scheduled to play. Bryant made his Drew League debut appearance Tuesday, scoring 43 points, including a game-winning shot over Harden. But he has a long way to go to catch up with Durant, who’s been frequenting the summer leagues for years.

Earlier this month, Durant enhanced his status as a summer league legend with a 66-point performance in a Rucker League game in New York.

“I’ve wanted to play in the Rucker all my life,” Durant said after helping his team to a 99-93 win.

Wizards guard Nick Young will be absent for Saturday’s contest. Originally slated to play for Drew, Young will be replaced by Derrick Williams. Young was reportedly upset over losing out on the league MVP trophy and did not confirm he would play, forcing Smiley to add Williams to the roster in his place.

In addition to showcasing NBA players, a few local stars who call the summer leagues home will get a chance to be seen by a much larger audience than those that frequent the indoor games at Spingarn High School, or come “Inside the Gates” at Barry Farms - players such as “Baby Shaq” (Hugh Jones) and “D-Nice” (Warren Jefferson).

After the Drew League faces a little “Capital Punishment” this summer, Rawls said he hopes to take his Goodman League stars to Los Angeles next year for Part 2 of the showdown.

“This is just the beginning,” Rawls said. “Next year, we’re taking it to them on their own court.”

• Carla Peay can be reached at cpeay@washingtontimes.com.

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