Recreational basketball league serves as outlet for local teens

Chloe Bishop

“Playing basketball with all my friends that I’ve never played with [before] is super fun. It’s interesting to see them in a different light,” junior Wilson Schwartz said, reflecting on his current recreational basketball team. 

In January, the Winter ‘23 Basketball High School Super League by Marin Social Sports, a branch of The Ranch, Belvedere Tiburon Recreation, began. According to Schwartz, one of the reasons why the league is a popular outlet for students who do not play on their high school’s official basketball team is because of its accommodating schedule. 

Scanning the court for an open teammate, Wilson Schwartz prepares to pass the ball at a recent UCBC game.

“There’s no coaches or anything. We kind of just say, ‘Oh, do you guys want to practice today?’ Sometimes we go to the Bay Club or, if it’s nice out, we’ll play outside at Redwood or in Tiburon,” Schwartz said. 

Despite the leniency of practices, games are taken more seriously, occurring every Sunday at either Tamalpais High School or Archie Williams High School. 

“[Games are] chill, but everybody’s still trying to win so they get competitive,” Schwartz said. “There’s still referees, scoreboards and people keeping the stats.”

Registration for the league opens in the fall, costing players $250 per person, plus a small fee, to enter themselves or a team into the league. Schwartz’s team, UCBC, is one of the bigger teams in the league with 13 players. Other teams include the ShotCallas, BackSeatElite, McBuckets, Whipper Snappers, The Gents, Lunchtime Squad, MD Elite and the Free Agents. The Free Agent team is an opportunity for people to register for the league as an individual player and be grouped by the league with other solo players. 

Schwartz shoots a free throw in hopes of making a comeback against The Gents.

A few weeks into the season, Schwartz has already noticed a few standout teams. 

“Backseat Elite is looking pretty strong. And McBuckets won last year. MD Elite is pretty good too,” Schwartz said. 

While UCBC doesn’t have a coach, senior Gavin Edelen, a varsity basketball player, applies his knowledge of the game to officially coach MD Elite.

“Last year, one of my players was kind of in his own head and wasn’t hitting shots when I knew he could shoot. He wasn’t playing up to himself. [As a Redwood player], I could relate to that so I gave him some tips .… I know what [the players] A) want to hear and B) need to hear,” Edelen said.  

He also takes responsibility for sub rotations and other logistical parts of the game from the sidelines. As far as standards of play go, other than two 20-minute halves instead of the typical four 8-minute quarters, many of the rules between the Marin County Athletic League and the rec league are the same, making it easy for Edelen to transfer knowledge from one basketball court to another.

“I take a lot of things from my Redwood coach, Jay [DeMaestri]. I’ve taken a few plays and I’ve taken a few things from his coaching style,” Edelen said. 

He also nods to the camaraderie his team fosters each year, noting that MD Elite is short for the Max Denney Elite, nodding to a Redwood senior. 

Senior Gavin Edelen gathers his team in a huddle to assess game strategy.

“[Max Denney] is kind of a staple on our team. He brings a lot of life and energy to our players, and I just thought it was appropriate to name the team after him,” Edelen said. 

After coming close to clinching a victory at the championship last year, Edelen is set on team domination this season. 

“Last year, in the playoffs, our best player couldn’t make [the game] so I thought we were going to get blown out but our other guys really stepped up. We came really close and only lost by a few points. So that was a bummer, but I was still really proud of them,” Edelen said. “We’re definitely coming out with a vengeance trying to grab that championship.”

To keep up to date with team standings, the game schedule and more, click here.  

For more information regarding local recreational sports like this, click here