Ones Basketball League (OBL) — the first-ever elite competition that celebrates the most skilled one-on-one players on the planet and created by Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady — crowned its fifth Regional Champion at The St. James on Saturday and Sunday. A total of 30 top area and national-level basketball players squared off in spirited action, and it was Kevin Kuteyi (Lanham, Md.), Andrew Washington (Washington, D.C.) and Donte Wright (Jackson, S.C.) who took the top three places in a weekend filled with close contests and spirited play across the board.
Kuteyi, who came into Sunday’s play as the No. 8 seed, had to win a Play-In over Damier Pitts (Charlotte, N.C.) to advance to the quarterfinals. He then dispatched top seeded Terry Hosley (Baltimore) and upended Antonio Carter (Alexandria, Va.) with a flurry of two-pointers, 9-3, to advance to the Finals, where his hot hand from long distance erased an early 4-1 deficit to second-seeded Washington, winning going away 9-5. In the third-place contest, Wright buried two straight two-pointers to break a 6-6 tie and top Carter, 10-6. All three now advance to the OBL Finals in Las Vegas this summer (dates and location TBA).
“This world-class facility and superior level of play made the OBL DMV Regional one of our best events to date,” said McGrady. “It was great to see the guys hit so many big shots and feel the crowd’s energy and support.”
Kuteyi, who played at Chowan Univ., nicknamed “Uncle Skoob,” had one of the more vocal rooting sections at The St. James and he showed a ton of personality interacting with the crowd throughout Sunday’s play.
“I wanted to tire him out a little then turn it on,” said Kuteyi of his Championship-winning matchup with Washington. “He got the early lead on me, but I knew I could come back. I appreciate T-Mac and everyone here for the opportunity.”
Washington, also known as “Sponge Bob,” and whose quarterfinal match against Scotty Hendricks went into overtime before a hard-fought semifinal win over Wright propelled him into the final, appeared winded for parts of his matches but fought through it and promises to be ready for Las Vegas.
“I ain’t done yet,” Washington said following the final. “You’re going to see me in better shape and ready to go in Vegas.”
After a successful debut event in Houston (April 30-May 1) and follow-ups in Atlanta (May 7-8), Chicago (May 21-22), New York (May 28-29) and the DMV, OBL’s next regional event is Saturday and Sunday, June 18-19, concluding the regular season in Los Angeles (site TBA).
The winner of each regional tournament will take home a $10,000 cash prize along with an invitation to the OBL Finals, which will see 21 players (the top three from each region plus three wild cards) compete for a chance to win a $250,000 grand prize and be crowned “Ruler of the Court.”
OBL media partners include SHOWTIME Sports, SLAM Media, Playmaker, and Heart and Hustle Productions.
Follow Ones Basketball League at https://www.oblhoops.com/ and on Twitter and Instagram.