Pros hone their talents on the hardwood in Weekend Warriors Classic
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WILMINGTON -- Usually this time of year football grabs our attention but during the weekend the spotlight focused on basketball in Wilmington as players hit the hardwood in the Weekend Warriors Classic.
A few weeks ago, Chu Chu Maduabum was showcasing his skills in Las Vegas on the Denver Nuggets summer league team, but this weekend he dunked on the competition in the Port City at the battle of the Weekend Warriors Classic.
"It was a fun experience too, coming to North Carolina," said Maduabum. "I've never been here before. It's my first time. The games were really, really good."
The 6'9 power forward from Nigeria is spending the summer playing with the Washington, D.C. Madness, which is one of 23 pro-am teams competing in this year's event.
"It was tough, it was tougher than I expected breeze through it, but that didn't happen," said Maduabum.
The tough competition is a staple of the event Lonnie Payton created 23 years ago as a way to use basketball to give back to the city of Wilmington.
"The gratification for I get from the tournament every year is the feedback I get from the fans and the teams," said Payton. "It's been the same this year. They've told me they have really enjoyed it."
Since the battle of the Weekend Warriors Classic is a two-day double elimination tournament, teams were able to play at least four games so players like Madaubum have extra chances to improve their games.
"I'm usually not the offense guy. I'm almost always trying to block shots and get rebounds," said Maduabum. "I scored a little bit more, tried to post up. It helped my offense a little bit."
This 2011 LA Lakers second round draft pick also used this weekend to get in game-ready shape as he pursues opportunities to play in Europe later this year.
"We really stayed in shape, played two games today, that really got us but it felt real good," said Maduabum.