Houston's 'official' Pro-Am summer league tips off at historic Fonde Recreation Center

ByJoseph Gleason KTRK logo
Monday, June 10, 2024
No Excuses Pro League tips off at historic Fonde Recreation Center
ABC13's Joe Gleason visited the Fonde Recreation Center to see more about the No Excuses Pro League, which features men's and women's basketball.

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

"In Houston, there's a bunch of dogs and competitors here, so even though we say it's for 'fun,' we still want to win," former Wheatley star Ariana Taylor said.

Casey Williams and his wife Jillian kicked off the No Excuses Pro League, Houston's "official" summer Pro-Am basketball league.

"They can come out and have a great time and see some stars and celebrities and see basketball from an up-close perspective that they typically wouldn't be able to see if they were at the Toyota Center," Williams said. "You never know who's going to drop by."

The league is made up of 24 teams (16 men's, eight women's), with rosters of pro basketball, college, and overseas players, all here to continue Houston's rich basketball culture.

"I played in Greece two years ago - played in Germany last year. I have a couple of NBA opportunities and workouts coming up this week. Hopefully, I get a summer league deal and stay on this side of the water," NEPL player and Alvin High School grad Savion Flagg said.

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

"I started out in the G-League, then to the Timberwolves, played for the Bucks, had a stint with the Rockets and Spurs. Now I'm overseas in Italy and recently in Montenegro and Greece," Pearland graduate Cam Reynolds said.

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

Fonde is a legendary venue where the games are held.

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

Now, he's back where it all started, coaching a team in the league.

"I played AAU basketball here. They used to have a Wednesday league. I got discovered here playing 'hoop it up,' 3 on 3 in third grade, so this place is legendary, and I'm just glad to be back coaching and giving back to the next generation," Ford said.

On the women's side, Chasity Patterson scored over 3,000 points in her career at North Shore High School.

In the past two years in the NEPL, she's led her team, Houston Lady Flight, to back-to-back league championships and earned two-time league MVP.

"You can see excitement, high-level basketball on both ends, and just get to see the talent here in Houston," Patterson said. "This is the best of the best where you're going to find them here."

Games are played on Thursday and Friday nights and all day Sunday through mid-August. And the best part is ...it's free!