It's a playground tradition, the start-up game before the half or full court run. It's called "21" in Manhattan and "Omaha" in the Brooklyn. Players that go at it hard have a chance to work on scoring, ball handling, defense and foul shooting. In NYC, the game consists of scoring a basket and then making 3 consecutive free throws. If you do, be ready to get quick, because everyone on the court usually comes out to guard and you have to be creative with sharp ball fakes and quick handle to score again.
If there are a lot of players on the court (10 or more), then "elimination 21" is played where the first person to 7 points and everyone else who scores a basket stays on the court. Then, a second elimination round comes when a player reaches 14 and anyone with 7 or more stays on. The first player to 21 points wins the game.
Six of the brightest and best players in the city got together to show the moves they use in "21" situations to stay on the court.
5-4, RISING JUNIOR / SCHOOL: Christ The King High School / ACADEMIC AVERAGE: 93
HIGHLIGHTS: 2010 New York State H.S. Championship MVP 1st Team All-City
BEING RECRUITED BY: Louisville, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Villanova / PLAYGROUND HIGH: 53 in Nike Swoosh League
- Hesitate and then use a back cross, looking to get to the 45-degree angle. - Jump stop at the angle and rise up focusing on the sweetspot of the backboard (the upper side perforated box right over the side lip of the rim or the high right angle of the painted box on the backboard). - Follow through and hear the cla-dap of the metal as the ball goes in.
5-7, RISING EIGHTH GRADER / SCHOOL: Intermediate School 227 / ACADEMIC AVERAGE: 86
HIGHLIGHTS: Most Outstanding Player at 2010 NYC Nike Junior Elite Camp
PLAYGROUND HIGH: 38 at CYO Queens Tournament
- Dribble and hesitate looking to raise up your defender. - When they relax and stand straight, place ball low and look to extend body like a sprinter coming out the blocks through the trap.
- Catch up with the ball and look to score or pass.
5-Б, SENIOR / SCHOOL: St. Michael Academy High School / ACADEMIC AVERAGE: 83
HIGHLIGHTS: McDonald's All-American, 2009 State New York State Championship MVP 1st Team All-City
SIGNED BY: Kentucky / PLAYGROUND HIGH: 32 at Conrad McCrae Tournament
- Dribble hard to the high elbow areas of the court and get close to your defender getting his/her feet moving. - Suddenly, step back pushing off your inside foot to create separation. - Rise up and shoot.
Б-2, RISING FRESHMAN / SCHOOL: Lincoln High School / ACADEMIC AVERAGE: 80
HIGHLIGHTS: Top-Ranked Eighth Grader in New York City, MVP of Funsport Junior Pro Junior H.S. League
PLAYGROUND HIGH: 42 at Boo Williams AAU
- Dribble around the perimeter looking and when your defender over commits... - Spin with ball high at your chin and step through the double-team hard. - Jump stop and rise to the rim.
S-3, RISING SEVENTH GRADER / SCHOOL: Delta Honors Program / ACADEMIC AVERAGE: 86
HIGHLIGHTS: Starter as a Sixth Grader in Middle School
PLAYGROUND HIGH: 26 at Junior HoopHall Classic AAU
PUMP FAKE, BODY BUMP
- Dribble towards post and try to get defender off balance with fake. - When you see him either lean forward or leave his feet, jump and position your opposite shoulder into his body. - Protect ball and take contact with head up looking to finish. - Make the basket and go to the line for the chippies.
5-7, SENIOR / SCHOOL: Thomas Jefferson High School / ACADEMIC AVERAGE: 82
HIGHLIGHTS: 1st Team All-City / SIGNED BY: Providence College
PLAYGROUND HIGH: 38 at Boo Williams AAU
- Dribble hard on baseline generating speed with head up. - Jump when you see defense expecting you to take a layup on the same side of the rim. - Glide to other side and protect the ball with your body with head up. Finish strong.