116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The Prime Time and Game Time leagues dominate the headlines, but those high profile-gatherings are not the only ones giving opportunities to local college basketball products.
Marcus Paige starred in the Prime Time League as an eighth-grader, but the champion of the 2016 State Farm Slam Contest, spent his summers in the College Summer League.
Devan Douglas, who played at Kirkwood and Division II University of Mary in Houston, along with Jason Pershing, the boys' basketball coach at Solon High School and a Mount Mercy College alum, are the organizers and alumni of the league.
The College Summer League caters primarily to Kirkwood and local Division III players, and Pershing said the league will carry six teams in its latest iteration.
While it doesn't carry the name recognition of the PTL, which attracts Hawkeyes and Panthers, Pershing said it gives local players or Cedar Rapids preps at other Division III schools an opportunity to play.
'What it does is ... is it gives them something to look forward to,” he said.
The league uses officials and limited the number of teams in order to avoid being watered down. Some college basketball experience is required, Pershing said.
The league is the answer for small school-players looking for more reps and runs on the court, and area coaches appreciate it.
Bryan Petersen, the head coach of the Kirkwood men's basketball team, said he was unsure how many players the Eagles would have in the league this year, but that the league has undoubtedly helped his players over recent years.
'It's good to get some of those younger guys who didn't get on the floor some reps,” Petersen said. 'It's good to get some runs with time and officials.”
The league has been a success thus far, and coaches and alums hope it continues to grow and remains competitive.
'I know the Prime Time League is a big deal, but hopefully this one stays around and hopefully it gets to the level where some of those guys play in both or come and play in our league,” Petersen said.
'It's good for the community to know there's good local basketball,” Pershing said. 'Mount Mercy went to the national tournament. Kirkwood won the national tournament. Over half of their guys played in our league.”
League alum Alex Coleman, also an alumnus of Kirkwood and Mount Mercy, said the league allows the players to play at their competition level.
'It's a confidence builder, the league itself.” Coleman said. 'It's competitive, but you can teach the guys ... often, as I'm playing the game, I can give them advice.”
Coleman is now playing semiprofessional basketball in Waterloo, and said the league was competitive enough for him to remain in the College Summer League, rather than entering the Prime Time League.
Games are Wednesdays and Sundays starting this Sunday. There are three games a night starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday and 4 p.m. on Sunday at Mount Mercy.
The biggest benefit of the league, according to Pershing, is the sense of community it builds among its players and alums.
'I build relationships with these guys,” Pershing said. 'I can't tell you how many guys I see at Coe or Kirkwood games.
'It makes our local college basketball relevant.”
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