About 20 students from OCDE’s alternative education program got a chance to hoop it up with former professional basketball players and college standouts on Friday.
And if that weren’t exciting enough, it all ended with a buzzer-beater.
This was, in fact, the third time OCDE paraeducator Ray Green has organized his Pro/Student Athlete Community All-Star Game, presenting local youth with the unique opportunity to team up with influential athletes who want to give back to their community. The pickup game was held at the American Sports Center in Anaheim.
“Of the five players that are on the court for each team, there must be three athletes and two students,” Green explained. “Athletes guard the athletes and students guard the students. This puts the students on the court at the same time as the athletes for interaction and a chance to play with them.”
He said Friday’s exhibition was his largest to date. It featured 18 athletes, including one-time NBA power forward Jamal Sampson, who had stints with the Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings. Other players had logged minutes in college and overseas.
We’ve got a gallery of photos above. Plus, the Orange County Register was on hand to cover the event, publishing this story over the weekend.
Meanwhile, Green, who coached one of the teams, tells us the game itself was a thriller. Here’s his recap:
My team, which was the white team, was down by 20 points at halftime. With the help from our students, we made up the deficit and the game went into overtime. Twin brothers Jason and Tyler Payne, who just finished playing college ball and who were on opposite teams, ended up guarding each other for the last possession. With 5 seconds left and the black team down by 2 points, Jason shot a 3-pointer over his brother Tyler for the game-winner at the buzzer. The ball hit nothing but net. Time expired. The students and athletes celebrated the shot together and ran onto the court, jumping on each other. Final score was 116-115. I couldn’t have drawn the game up any better. Great game. Great ending.