The YMCA Capital City League (YCCL) is a different kind of summer basketball league. Yes it has everything from the Euro-League stars to the NBA Draft picks… just a few years earlier.
The league gives Iowa State and Drake basketball players the opportunity to play against soon-to-be and established college players from around the area. Players are divided evenly with only two and no more (per NCAA Rule) players from the same college on each team.
However, the league serves another purpose for the players that are new to the Valley Southwoods bleachers.
One of the unique characteristics of the YCCL is how relaxed the league is. The players (who have already been at ISU) get away from the fast-paced, action-packed practice and get to play without coaches watching over their every move.
“[I enjoy] just coming out their and just playing freely,” graduate transfer Darrell Bowie said.
Because of free admission, families are always a big part of the crowd in the YCCL on any given night.
“Its pretty cool, we all just come down here really for the fans, and just play in front of them to give them something for the summertime and how were doing,” Bowie said. “The fans come out and support and cheer for you rather you do something good or bad they are there to see.”
However, the league is not just pickup basketball, like stated earlier, NBA Draft picks like Georges Niang and Abdel Nader have played in the YCCL. Not to mention some Euro-Stars like Tyrus McGee or Nick Babb‘s brother, Chris Babb.
“It was a good kind of test to see where you were at compared to the other guys,” Nick Babb, a will-be redshirt sophomore said. “It did kind of calm you down just getting you in the flow of things.”
“[The YCCL] definitely [helped me get along with teammates], to kind of get to play against some players I normally would not get to play against,” Babb said. “It made me kind of learn how to meet new people and get along with everyone on your team even if you don’t know their background or who they are.”
Chemistry will be a big key to victory for the trio of freshman coming into Ames this summer of Solomon Young, Jakolby Long, and Cameron Lard.
“Its pretty fun, its pretty exciting to go out and have fun and just play with everybody. I’ve built relationships with everybody from different schools so its just fun to be here,” Long said. “I think it’ll help the chemistry a lot, if we just keep on staying focused for the season we’ll be fine.”
That’s what the YMCA Capital City League is all about, and Solomon Young summed it right up.
“It was cool, I did better than I thought it would, it was fun,” Young said. “We haven’t played any preseason games, we haven’t started practice yet or doing individual workouts, so I think doing this helps us get some more chemistry with each other.”