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No Excuses Pro League, Houston’s “Official” Summer Pro-Am Basketball League, Begins at Fonde Recreation Center

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — If you like basketball, the Fonde Recreation Center is the perfect place for you.

“In Houston, there are a lot of dogs and competitors here, so even though we say it’s for fun, we still want to win,” said former Wheatley star Ariana Taylor.

Casey Williams and his wife Jillian started the No Excuses Pro League, Houston’s “official” summer Pro-Am basketball league.

“They can go out and have a good time and see stars and celebrities and see basketball from a close-up perspective that they typically wouldn’t be able to see if they were at the Toyota Center,” Williams said. “You never know who will pass.”

The league is made up of 24 teams (16 men’s and eight women’s), with rosters of professional, college and international basketball players, all here to perpetuate Houston’s rich basketball culture.

“I played in Greece two years ago and in Germany last year. I have some NBA opportunities and practices coming up this week. I’m hoping to get a Summer League contract and stay on this side of the league. ‘water,’ said the NEPL player and said Alvin High School graduate Savion Flagg.

“I just got back from Costa Rica two days ago,” said Kennard Robinson of Sam Houston High School. “I’ve traveled the world playing. I’m married now. My (twin brother Lennard) has a baby. We’re just living the dream, playing the game that I love.”

“I started in the G-League, then the Timberwolves, played for the Bucks, had a stint with the Rockets and Spurs. Now I live abroad in Italy and recently in Montenegro and Greece,” said Pearland graduate Cam Reynolds.

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“I played in the Drew League in Los Angeles, I played in the Pro-Am league in Denver. I’ve lived in 14 different countries. So now that I’m home, it’s fun to have a good atmosphere like this to play,” Jersey Village High School graduate Marcus Hall said.

Fonde is a legendary place where games take place.

Former Willowridge, University of Texas and NBA star TJ Ford was discovered there in third grade.

Today, he’s back where it all began, coaching a league team.

“I played AAU basketball here. They had a Wednesday league. I was discovered here playing “hoop it up”, 3 on 3 in third grade, so this place is legendary, and I’m just happy to be back coaching and giving back to the next generation,” Ford said.

On the women’s side, Chasity Patterson scored more than 3,000 points during her career at North Shore High School.

Over the past two years in the NEPL, she led her team, Houston Lady Flight, to back-to-back league championships and won the league MVP award twice.

“You can see the enthusiasm, the high-level basketball on both sides, and see the talent here in Houston,” Patterson said. “It’s the best of the best, where you’re going to find them here.”

Games take place on Thursday and Friday evenings and all day on Sunday until mid-August. And the best part is… it’s free!

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