The opening tip for the Basketball Alumni Legends League, or The-BALL, is quickly approaching. The first showcase for the new professional league will be held in Washington, D.C on Aug. 4, before it is brought to Philadelphia the following day. With each team consisting of previous college basketball stars from the D.C. and Philadelphia areas, the individual players on both sides once again have the opportunity to not only represent their schools, but their cities as well.
Among these players is former Saint Joseph’s University standout Pat Carroll, who believes the model of The-BALL is a winning one.
“When I first heard about The-BALL I thought it was a great concept,” said Carroll. “It gives college basketball fans a whole new league when basketball is not going on. It’s during the offseason, and it’s a time when basketball junkies can have another opportunity to see some good basketball.”
Carroll spent four years as a Hawk, going as far as the Elite Eight in 2004 as an essential piece of the historic 27-0 regular-season team. Along the way Carroll collected a multitude of accolades and awards; he scored over 1,000 points in his college career while becoming the all-time Atlantic 10 3-point percentage leader. In 2005, he led the NCAA in 3-point field goals made as he went on to become the all-time Saint Joe’s leader is 3-pointers. After spending years playing professionally in Europe, Carroll is coming home to play in a professional basketball league that is unlike any he’s ever seen.
“I think the main thing that separates The-BALL from other leagues is that it’s a lot of college basketball players that you know,” said Carroll enthusiastically. “For example, in Philadelphia you see these guys playing in the Big 5 for four years throughout college, and if they’re not playing in the NBA you kind of lose track of them. It gives the players an opportunity to come back and play in front of Philadelphia basketball fans and stay connected with Philadelphia basketball, which is a great thing. It’s a great thing for the fans too to be able to see these college basketball players that they may have lost touch with over the years.”
The showcase on Aug. 5 is largely a homecoming for all players on the Philadelphia team, as they journey back to the city where they enjoyed the successes of their college careers. For Carroll, though, the homecoming means much more, being that the game will be played at the Hagan Arena on the campus of Saint Joseph’s University.
“It’s going to be awesome to come back and play in front of the Saint Joe’s fans, and also the Philly basketball fans,” he said. “In my opinion, Philadelphia is the best college basketball city in America. It has a special feel with college basketball, and it’s just an awesome opportunity to play in front of these fans again.”
In addition to preparing for his return to Saint Joe’s, Carroll is also preparing for his final professional basketball game. After years of journeying the globe playing basketball at its highest level, Carroll has made the decision to retire at the conclusion of the second BALL showcase. As Carroll’s basketball career comes full circle, ending on the exact Saint Joseph’s floor that it began, he could not feel more fulfilled.
“It’s something I’ve never imagined,” said Carroll as he envisioned his last professional game being played at his alma mater. “To now to be finishing my professional career at Saint Joe’s, after having a sort of disconnect for years, it couldn’t be any better.”
-BALL info: Sunday’s The-BALL showcase game is scheduled to tip off at 8 p.m. Click HERE for tickets. … College students who show a valid ID and wear team colors will be admitted for free. … The-BALL is soliciting a team name for the Philadelphia contingent, with the winner receiving courtside seats for 10 people to Sunday’s game. Tweet your suggestions to @TheBALLHoops.
Related story: The-BALL CEO Michael Wranovics talks to Philahoops about the league’s concept.
-Matt Schultz covers St. Joe’s for Philahoops. Reach him at email@example.com.
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