For the fourth consecutive preseason, the Wine & Gold traveled to the Detroit Pistons’ practice facility in Auburn Hills for a three-way scrimmage with division rivals Grand Rapids and Fort Wayne.
“This is a great event,” says Brendon Yu, director of G League Operations for the Charge. “We’re a week into camp and you’re not entirely sure how good you are offensively or defensively when you are your own competition. It’s great to see us against other teams and see where we are as we head into the regular season.”
To begin the festivities, the Charge took on the Fort Wayne Mad Ants for a half’s worth of play. The Charge jumped to a 26-24 lead after the first quarter. John Holland, a familiar face to everyone in the gym, showcased his offensive versatility, scoring inside-and-out to spark the Charge.
The Wine & Gold kept up the solid play, outscoring the Mad Ants 328-24 in the second quarter. A lineup of Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Kevin Olekaibe, Bonzie Colson, Levi Randolph and Akolda Manyang staved off a late Fort Wayne Push to see help the Charge win the first half session, 54-48.
“It felt good to get out there with the guys and play against other competition,” guard Levi Randolph said. “It’s only been a week but it’s felt like we’ve been practicing for three months against one another.”
Following the next session between the Drive and Mad Ants, the Charge took the floor to take on the hosts. Local tryout invitee Akolda Manyang brought serious energy to the second session, making an impact in the paint on both ends of the floor and draftee guard ShawnDre’ Jones engineered the offense to take a 33-24 lead after a quarter of play. Grand Rapids battled back, but timely buckets for the Charge preserved the lead late and the Charge won the second session 61-52.
“One through 17, our guys came ready to play today,” head coach Nate Reinking said. “We’ve had a long and tough week and these guys played hard for two halves. We’re definitely happy with our results.”
Prior to Saturday afternoon’s three-way dance, Charge players and front-office staff toured various properties of the Quicken Loans family of companies. The team stopped by StockX, the world’s first stock market for things such as shoes and designer bags.
Following the tour of StockX and a stroll through downtown, the team met with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Gilbert has been instrumental in the revitalization of the Motor City. Dan’s Rock Ventures includes more than 100 businesses and is the city’s largest employer, providing jobs for more than 17,000 teammates.
“We are very appreciative of the time that Dan took out of his schedule to spend with our team,” says Mike Levy, Senior VP and COO of the Charge. “Our players are very interested in all aspects of business and life after basketball. Dan took great interest in their stories and was a fountain of information and guidance.”
Following a roundtable discussion, players and coaches enjoyed an impromptu magic show on behalf of the Cavs owner.
“Being from Detroit myself, it was really cool to meet Mr. Gilbert,” says guard Sir’Dominic Pointer. “We learned so much from him about being in business and it was awesome to see a different side to him. That was definitely a highlight so far.”