Intramural basketball is one of the most widely participated sports at UNCG, with games being played Sunday through Thursday. This is the first season of intramural hoops that’s been played at the Leonard J. Kaplan Center, whose new facilities have attracted a new wave of participants this year.
Most players this year opted to team up with their friends, fraternity brothers, and others they’ve previously built chemistry with, while some players signed up to play on “free-agent” teams, allowing them to play with a group of unfamiliar faces and to build a rapport starting from the ground up. Senior Jaronte Gibson of the Greensboro Playmakers from the Monday league, saw his team’s chemistry pay dividends after the Playmakers earned themselves a victory against a free agent team on Monday night; “I met most of [my teammates] through mutual friends,” Gibson remarked, “I see them all the time on the court, and we decided to play with each other because we know each other’s game.”
As far as competition goes, there is both a competitive league and a non-competitive league. This has allowed players of different playing backgrounds and experience levels to play with and against one another, and has kept things fresh for the players and spectators alike. Some teams like The Monstars of the Monday division have reached up to 75 points in a single game, highlighted by their fast-paced style that features a few slam dunks from time to time, while other teams have struggled to put points on the scoreboard, and try to play the game at a slower pace. Despite the deviation in styles, one of the appeals of these leagues for many students is playing basketball in traditional fashion, complete with trained student referees, a game clock, and an incentive to win. “[Intramural basketball] shows me where I’m at, and I enjoy playing the game,” Gibson explained, “I like going against the best competition, and I feel like the best play intramurals.”
Thus far, 22 games in total have been played between the two leagues, and according to the campus recreation website, the winning teams have on average, scored about 16 more points than the losing teams. Intramural basketball has a “mercy rule” where a team automatically wins the game when they lead by 30 points, and there have been four games of this nature. While the average win margin hasn’t been very small, it certainly hasn’t discouraged teams from continuing to play hard. “We’ve only played two games, but it’s been pretty good,” Jaronte said of the competition, “Our first game we got 30’d, so that was a wake up call right there. We don’t want that to happen ever again.”
Competition aside, the games have also provided students an outlet to escape from the stress that comes with being a college student. For those who play regularly, there are times where it can be hard to find a few hours for some basketball, but it’s hard to not play when your group of friends are involved as well. In addition, leaving the gym with a hard-fought win or having a good individual performance can provide a confidence boost that translates to the classroom, which can be a nice academic benefit that can be achieved without having to have your nose constantly stuck in the books.
There are two weeks of games remaining for each league before the playoffs arrive. All of the basketball games are held on the bottom floor of the Kaplan Center, and are played on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings. The teams will be competing for commemorative championship t-shirts and bragging rights, so be sure to catch a game or two of your fellow Spartans giving it their all on the court, as there’s bound to be some compelling matchups in the coming weeks.