Elite Basketball Club showcases some of region's top players
For the past decade, the Elite Basketball Club in Syracuse has provided amateurs and pros alike with a fun — and competitive — summer league.
Founder Mike Sugamosto, an assistant basketball coach at SUNY Morrisville and former Syracuse Stallions general manger, says he based it on a league he had with friends. But he wanted to start something more creative, and more structured, for some of Central New York’s best players.
"There's so much talent here from Syracuse that plays in different locations," said Sugamosto. "So I wanted to be able to provide something that puts everyone under one roof to showcase all the talent that we have.’’
He says it’s paid off, with audiences growing “massively” over the years. These days, Elite livestreams games on their Facebook page and Sugamosto hopes to offer recorded post-game interviews as well.
LeMoyne graduate student, and former Bryant University Bulldog, Luke Sutherland has been playing with Elite since it was founded, he says. He calls it a "no brainer for college guys like myself, when summer is coming around, to just play against the best and get you ready for the season."
There are ten teams, with names like Cuse Kings, Herkimer OG's and Man Down, which this year leads the pack and is led by point guard Symir Torrence, who just left the Orange for Binghamton.
Captains get to choose their players, some of whom go way back with Sugamosto, like Mike Henry. The former Stallions guard is on summer break from playing pro ball for La Union in Argentina, where he picked up the nickname ''Argentinian Assassin."
A Syracuse native, Henry played college ball for Buffalo State before turning pro, and joined the Elite Basketball Club in 2021. In 2022, he won the club championship with the Monie All-Stars. According to Sugamosto, this year Henry "released himself" and joined the 94 Feet team.
Henry says he enjoys playing for the club and the fact that it's run professionally — games are scheduled and start on time, players can be traded — but has a college feel.
He says that’s great for local talents that "were good enough to play college ball, for sure, [but] maybe just didn't get the opportunity. So it's nice seeing these guys kind of show off their talents and in a place that that lets them do that.’’
The Elite Basketball Club’s summer playoffs start next week, although Henry says he probably won't take part. He'll likely have to fly back to Argentina before that.