Pick-up basketball brings the community together

Jul 14, 2020

Sunday pick-up basketball in Onset has since been cancelled by town officials for the time being, due to concerns about large crowds during the coronavirus pandemic. Organizers have expressed interest in continuing Onset Sunday Pick-Up once it is deemed safe to do so.

For the past seven Sundays, dozens of people of all ages have gathered at the basketball courts near the Hammond School in Onset for pick-up games, dunk contests, and tournaments -- all for free and with no referees.

“Just come here and play,” said Jordan Rezendes, one of the organizers of the new Onset Sunday Pick-Up program that aims to bring elite basketball and a good time to the community.

“This is about giving back to the community, giving kids something to look up to, and something to look forward to,” said co-creator Aaron Strothers.

Rezendes grew up in Onset and was a part of Wareham High School’s 2010 State Championship team. Since graduation, he has played for UMass Dartmouth and teams in both Germany and Hong Kong. Most recently, he played on the FAP Basketball team in Cameroon.

Strothers has also played professional basketball around the world. After graduating Wareham High School in 2007, he played for Merrimack College. Then, he played for the Cape Verde National Team and for Escazu in Costa Rica.

Strothers also has significant coaching experience. He started coaching Wareham JBA before moving up to the Bay State Jaguars. Now, he is an assistant coach at UMass Dartmouth.

Rezendes and Strothers spread the word about the event, which has been weekly, and the crowds quickly grew.

Through their connections in the basketball world, Rezendes and Strothers invited a number of Division I and II players from across New England, along with a few professionals, who participated in the pick-up team tournament on Sunday.

The events also feature free water and food, along with a professional DJ and several professional photographers and videographers.

“Everyone’s coming together from the community,” Rezendes said, adding that families and players pitch in what they can: some bags of ice, snacks, or bottles of water. The Trey Strong Foundation and Scotty Monteiro Jr. Foundation are also pitching in at the events.

One first-time participant described the event as “the neighborhood cook-out, with elite basketball,” which both Rezendes and Strothers thought summed up the atmosphere perfectly.

For information about future events, go to Aaron Strothers’ Facebook page by searching for “Village Hoops” or his Instagram @villagehoops, or to Jordan Rezendes’ Instagram @j_rezbasketball.

For the time being, pick-up games in Onset have been canceled due to concerns regarding the spread of coronavirus. Basketball hoops around town have also been taken down.

For more information, see the related article.