Yaletown Makes It Two In Three
|All-League Selections Announced: DL AL ALL-LEAGUERS.|
Yaletown’s return to the championship did not, as many will believe, start the day Eden Chuang met Derik Kumagai at the Coles Fieldhouse – NYU’s rec center where students run pickup seemingly ‘round the clock.
Sometime in 2006, Chuang, Yale’s shooting guard, starting running with Kumagai and, as anyone would immediately tell you, had an impression about DK as a player made upon him. This guy was good. And he didn't quit. Ever.
Once Chuang joined the new Yaletown team when it was formed in the 2007 Winter/Spring season by George Lai, he didn’t even think about inviting the point guard onto the team. This wasn’t his project. Lai was trying to piece it together with only guys who either were from Vancouver, where a district called Yaletown exists, or who went to Yale University. (How Brian Yang, a Californian who went to Cal wound up on the team is a good conversation starter should you ever bump into him in the streets or at a bar sometime.)
Thanks for being considerate Chuang, but even Lai will tell you now, you should of opened your mouth then! Yaletown could be sitting here as 3-peat champs instead.
They will take 2 out of the last 3, and so long as Kumagai is in New York (he’s entering his senior year this fall), and Yaletown is in existence, chips may come aplenty for the team that Lai built.
But again, this chip didn’t come the day Chuang finally piped up and suggested someone he knew from NYU that Yale could pick up prior to this season after the loss of a couple key players like Dave Wang and Jimmy Su left gaping holes in the Yaletown line-up.
Yaletown - Champions (L to R: B Yang, D Kumagai, S Cho, E Chuang, N Wong, F Lee, S Keh)
No, this chip started somewhere in the 1980’s when Derik Sam Kumagai was born. When Wes and Kathleen Kumagai started raising little DK in Southern California, enrolled him into the LA Tigers’ basketball program (his younger sister Zoe would also become a Tiger eventually), and watched over him as he grew into an exemplary young man, both on and off the court.
On the court, where Wes was a coach for the Tigers (and has coached against the likes of Rex Walters before Walters went to star at Kansas and then onto the NBA), Derik made his basketball-obsessed family proud, leading his La Canada High School team in assists and to a #3 ranking in the Division III-AA level of SoCal ball his senior season. He also led his Tigers Red team for many years in the Nissei Athletic Union (NAU) leagues and tournaments up and down the coast of California. Furthermore, when he had the time, Derik ran basketball clinics and served as a coach for teams from LA to Shanghai once at a relative’s international school.
Born and bred into a basketball family, and most importantly, embracing it for what it was, Derik was instilled into him at a very early age the value of working hard, working within a team/family/system, and competing till the end.
Off the court, these sensibilities are obvious in Derik as well as he’s volunteered himself since he got to New York to help work for the NYU basketball team as well as Dream League itself, where he often is at the scorer’s table covering games.
Dead Tired: The MVP plays all out to the end.
While his upbringing matters immensely and more and more his Yaletown compadres and the people around him appreciate him for it, as far as this season went, all that basketball background that started in LA with the Kumagais, translated into Yaletown’s hoisting another trophy.
Try this on for size.
Yale was 10-2 this season. Both of those losses, Derik was not there. DK is effectively undefeated in his DLNY career.
DK led Yaletown in scoring at 13.9 ppg, assists with 3.0, and steals with 3.6. That final stat was good enough to lead the AL and there simply is no one better at ripping the ball in the background from a player, particularly off a rebound. How many times did he do that this season?
Shocking his mom, DK also led the AL in 3-point shooting this season, knocking down 56.7% of his attempts. That’s not a typo. That’s just plain sick. Not usually known for his 3-point prowess in his days growing up, perhaps Derik has just found an area of his game that he is continuing to develop, Ma. But at a 56.7% rate? Flabbergasting.
Make no mistake, Yaletown was a complete team this season with great balance – 4 players averaged double digits – but it all began with their point guard. A point guard who sews up the MVP for the season - congratulations kid. And a point guard who becomes the second product of the LA Tiger system who leads his team to a DLNY title.
The other one?
Oh, you may have heard of him before – Nic Echevestre.
To the Kumagais, from Yaletown, thank you. Thank you for raising your son the way you did. He’s an exemplary kid and player. The championship trophy is as much their’s as it is your’s.
Echevestre & Kumagai (pictured at 2008 Memorial Day Tiger Tournament - DLNY Champs, but LA Tigers at heart.
DL Nation - A BIG thanks for all those who participated in our bone marrow drive last week at LFNY and POLY last night! We had a great turnout and hope to continue to build off of that momentum in our race to help find a match for Michelle Maykin. A couple of other NYC local drives have been organized as well for this weekend, check out the deets on the pic below. (Btw, if you are reading this and you happen to have any other good ideas (your fraternity, an Asian-American organization you work with, a church) on how to set up some drives soon in the coming weeks, please contact Chuck Leung asap!)
This comes from a player in the DL:
We have a good friend from Cal, Michelle Maykin, who was diagnosed in February 2007 with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. After undergoing chemo and several months of being cancer-free, the cancer relapsed on May 7 and she needs a bone marrow transplant by June 21, 2008 to save her life. She just turned 26 years old and there's lots of info about her at Project Michelle.
Michelle is Chinese-Vietnamese and so her chances of finding a match will most likely be someone of any or both of these ethnic backgrounds. There are about 7 million Americans in the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry but only 7% are of any Asian ethnicity and only .01% are of Vietnamese ethnicity, so the numbers are not good. Because time is running out, we'll be organizing bone marrow registry drives within the next few weeks.
To register, all you have to do is have your cheek swabbed with a q-tip. It is 0% invasive and if there's a match, 70% of all bone marrow transplants can be done via blood transfusion, which is basically not very different than getting blood drawn.
Any Chinese, Vietnamese, or any Asian players reading this, please, please spread the word out on this and please try to get out yourself to one of these drives. Let's pay it forward as we play it forward.
Order your's now!
Remember! Jerry Ma at Epic Props has brewed up a hawt Yao Tribute T that we're exclusively bring to you! They haven’t even been produced yet, but Epic offers a first time to the public peek at what the shirt looks like. If you like what you see, PREORDER your American Apparel shirt now. $25 for this limited edition tee that is based on the Chinese God of War. Email firstname.lastname@example.org today to place your order (send size and quantity.) After we take all orders it will take approximately one month for the shirts to be manufactured and they will be available for pick-up at your next game, or by special arrangement with the league so as to save on any annoying shipping costs.