by Devon Jeffreys
The Greater NC Pro Am wrapped this week in Durham and it was only appropriate that Jerry Stackhouse, one of the league's founders, would help bring his team the title.
Stack's Team Jamison defeated his former North Carolina teammate Rasheed Wallace's Sheraton Imperial 102-91 on Thursday night to win the 2011 S.J.G Greater N.C. Pro-Am.
Stack had the hot hand early, but Shearton raced out to an 11-point halftime lead. But paced by the veteran leadership of Jerry and teammate Raymond Felton, Jamison pulled back even at 61 with 13 minutes to go. After a myriad of lead changes, Jamison took a 92-91 lead and finished the game on an 11-0 run thanks to a pair of trey's and a couple free throws from Stack. With their lead scorer in a groove, the cruised to the nine-point win.
Though he created the league and continues to run it to help younger players get competitive experience and stay fresh, Jerry wasn't about to let the kids have all the fun.
"It's about having a good place to play. A good place to develop and play competitive basketball," Stack told the News and Observer. It's [also] a good chance to get out here and show these young boys the old man can still play a bit."
Other stars of the tournament included Wallace, who shared league MVP honors with Dominique Sutton, a senior at North Carolina Central, Emmanuel Chapman, an NC Central sophomore, Washington Wizards point guard John Wall and Hawks big man Josh Powell.
In it's third year, the Greater N.C. Pro-Am earned a reputation for competitive play and top of the line talent not seen in tournaments across the country. Former Duke star Jay Williams admitted to Ben Cohen of Grantland.com that the Greater N.C. has raised the bar for Pro-Am's across the nation.
"It's like no other Pro-Am I've seen in a while," Jay Williams told me the morning after he had strutted into the gym as a spectator in big sunglasses. Williams was familiar with pro-ams like this. Last August, he earned the nickname "The Bourne Supremacy" in New York City's famed Dyckman League. But even last week, when he brought Brandon Jennings with him, he refused to take the court until he had ample time to practice. "I'm gonna get in the gym and get up shots before I come out here and jeopardize my reputation," he said.
The new reputation of the Great N.C. Pro Am is one that Stack can be proud of. As Phillip Hoover and Brook Darrah Shuman of indyWeek.com write, nothing epitomized that more than Stack's play in the last two minutes of the championship game.
"At the two-minute mark of the game, the PA announcer exclaimed, "Two minutes remaining, this is winning time!" As if on cue, Stackhouse drained a corner three to seal the game for Team Jamison. While his former counterparts drag out the billion-dollar impasse with the owners, Stackhouse can take solace in the fact that the league he helped create brought basketball back to its roots this summer."
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Stackhouse stands out at NC Pro-Am (News and Observer, August 12, 2011)
NC Pro-Am Final Four Recap (SLAMOnline, August 12, 2011)
At the NC Pro-Am: The Rucker of the South (Grantland.com, August 11, 2011)
John Wall comes up short in Pro-Am (News and Observer, August 11, 2011)
As the NBA lockout dragged on, players kept fit in Durham (IndyWeek, August 23, 2011)
With NBA locked out, Summer League is best show in town (All Headline News, August 8, 2011)