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Sports & Recreation

Best Serious Pickup Basketball Game 

Contra Costa College

2600 Mission Bell (at El Portal), San Pablo

During the summer, from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, Contra Costa College hosts a pickup basketball game that's a cut above a street game but not so serious that a guy can't walk in off the street, call "Next," and run with some of the best players around. On a typical day last year, you could find a Cal guard, a USF player, a local semipro, a 7-foot NBA hopeful, and a playground legend, Demetrius "Hook" Mitchell. Beware: These guys aren't here for a little cardio and a game of Horse. Last summer, for example, early arrivals spent an hour wheezing through high-level drills, then played two hours of up-and-down basketball. This is pickup basketball the way it should be played -- as if something were at stake.

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