The onset of spring tends to give basketball enthusiasts the itch to get on the court. Adult leagues at local high schools, YMCAs or pop up neighborhood hoops may satisfy some dunk junkies, but those looking for a little something more will appreciate these tip offs to the best pick-up games in Connecticut.
Ramon Qurious Park
354-380 Hudson St.
Hartford, CT 06106
Located just south of Bushnell Park in Hartford, the courts at Ramon Qurious Park provides the quintessential urban basketball environment complete with murals, spectators and of course, legitimate talent. Hudson Street is well known in the city for real street ball competition. Games are spontaneous and prevalent throughout the year, especially when the weather is cooperative. Show up with more than your high-tops — to play here, you need serious game.
L.P. Wilson Community Center
599 Matianuck Ave.
Windsor, CT 06095
Hours: Tues and Thurs – 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Sun – 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Price: $35 season passes/$2 at the door
Windsor is a basketball town, plain and simple. Windsor High School is consistently ranked as of the top five basketball schools. Just three years ago, when it was the number one team in Connecticut, it was also ranked 105 in the country. The other high school in town, prep school Loomis Chafee, is considered one of the best basketball prep schools in New England. The post high school crowd in and around town share an equal passion, dedication and talent for the sport. This is very evident with the level of play at L.P. Wilson Community Center where old hoop lovers unite with the area’s youngest talent for tough games daily.
Madison Surf Club
87 Surf Club Rd.
Madison, CT 06443
Price: $10 daily rate for residents/$25 daily rate for non-residents
Hours: Mon to Fri – 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sat – 6 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Sun – 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The Surf Club in Madison is an absolutely gorgeous venue. This town-owned, 45-acre park is situated right on Long Island sound. It is hard to imagine a better place in Connecticut to play outdoors on a summer day. A cool breeze off the water, vibrant beach vibe and outdoor lights make it a terrific place to play at night too. Pick-up games in varying formats are available at most times of the day and throughout the week during the summer. In other seasons, competition still exists, but is more sporadic. The courts are frequented by a younger crowd and the quality of talent fluctuates from day to day. The view and the atmosphere remain daily, though, and are spectacular.
Corner of Richmond Hill Ave. and Ann St.
Stamford, CT 06902
There is a good chance that you may have never heard of the Friendship courts in Stamford, even if you are from the area. That may not always be the case, however. The newly renovated courts recently played host to the first annual New York versus Connecticut Pro Am. This ongoing event is sure to drive more attention and better competition to this neighborhood park. If you have the skills to step on the court here, do not be surprised to find yourself playing against some of the best streetballers in New England. Also, do not be surprised if you get dunked on. Repeatedly.
Colchester Recreation Complex
215 Old Hebron Rd.
Colchester, CT 06415
Hours: daily – 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Colchester is a small town in east central Connecticut. It is not necessarily known for its street ball cred or fancy courts, but what it does have is accessibility. The location makes it an easy place to meet for friends coming from different towns. The courts here are free, in good shape and are lighted. There is rarely a long wait to get a game and the players are typically very friendly. It is also a great place to go if you have a group of people who want to play with and/or against each other.
Charles Daniels grew up in Connecticut and after several years working and traveling around the country and world he has returned home for good. He lives in Hebron with his wife and daughter. While he wears many hats, he considers “part-time stay-at-home dad” his primary and favorite job title. His work can be found at Examiner.com.