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Summer Pro League Probably Will Move to Bren Center

April 13, 1993|ROBYN NORWOOD

IRVINE — The Southern California Summer Pro Basketball League, which provides an opportunity for NBA draft choices, free agents and some current NBA players to showcase their abilities and sharpen skills during the off-season, is likely to move to UC Irvine's Bren Center this summer.

Negotiations to bring the 23-year-old league to the Bren Center are "very close" to being completed, said Steve Neal, director of events for the facility.

"We're anxiously awaiting final confirmation," Neal said.

Larry Creger, a former president of the league who is now its consultant and director of player personnel, said it is "very likely" the league's games will be in Irvine.

"I think it's very likely the league will be in the 5,000-seat, air-conditioned Bren Center on the University of California Irvine campus, but you can't say until the contract's signed," Creger said.

Loyola Marymount's Gersten Pavilion--which is not air-conditioned--was the league's home for seven years until last summer, when games were split between facilities at Redondo High School and Inglewood High after Loyola declined to host the league.

The Loyola facility was in the running this year, but league officials instead focused on Irvine.

"It came out that the NBA people liked the idea," Creger said. "These days people are a little cautious about the inner-city, not just because of this (King civil rights) trial or the riots last spring. We had a couple of little earthquakes and a lot of people are getting shot on the streets. L.A. doesn't have the reputation it once had."

Though a number of NBA teams, including the Lakers and Clippers, sponsor teams in the league, perhaps as many as 80% of the players are free agents and many of them are trying to get a shot at making an NBA team after playing in Europe or in the Continental Basketball Assn. Many established players with local ties have played in the past, including the Lakers' Byron Scott, the Clippers' Danny Manning, the Indiana Pacers' Pooh Richardson and the Phoenix Suns' Cedric Ceballos.

The season begins in mid-July and lasts about a month. Games will be open to the public for an admission charge--$5 a day last year, with special prices for children and senior citizens.

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