Drew Piazza, founder and league official of the first intramural league at San Quentin, explains the significance of creating a competitive league where men can come together and be a part of a team.
Piazza, a former sports editor of the San Quentin News, expresses what was the idea behind starting the intramural league:
“With the influx of new people here, I noticed there was a need for something for them to do. The San Quentin Kings and Warriors Basketball program could only facilitate about 40 or so guys. But, there were a 1,000 or so new arrivals. This is what I’ve done at other facilities. I just thought it was the right thing to do.”
“San Quentin never has had an intramural basketball league because programs here were basically set up to play outside teams.”
After the first games began he said, “The fact that San Quentin has never had an intramural basketball league because programs here were basically set up to play outside teams, I was a little optimistic. But, I knew the energy was there; the need was there; and I had the mindset of making it work. So I was pleased.
“We’re starting from scratch of course. There’s no set patterns or programs so we’re using a league format where each team plays each team twice. At mid season we will have an ‘All Star Game’ with the coaches that have the two best records. They will coach the All Star teams and after the 16th week, we’ll have an ‘All League Team’ that will challenge the Kings and the Warriors” said Piazza.
He said that the league will be split into two divisions. There will be four teams in the east and four teams in the west. The top three teams in each division will make the play-offs.
Piazza emphasized that the league helps the incarcerated men at San Quentin. He said, “I think the league helps facilitates everything the population needs. I don’t think the facility is ready to take in so many people. It helps with the adaptation, the energy. The participation for the staff has been great. I would like to thank Mr. Di Nevi for allowing us to put this league together.”
As the league official, he also discussed the importance of calling a good game. “I always noticed that when sports were being played there was a lot of cheating and favoritism involved, so I kind of felt compelled to step in and do the best I could to make it good and clean,” he said.
JulianGlenn Padgett contributed to this story