Friday, April 10, 2009

Cottbus vs Halle

I realize I really set myself up for a challenge in trying to write about a game that happened almost three weeks ago, but I like challenges so......

On March 21st, we traveled over three hours west in a cramped minivan to Halle, Germany. We arrived at the opponent's arena 30 minutes before tip off, so we really had a lot of time to get warmed up and stretched.

The first half of the game wasn't host to very much excitement. They switched to a zone 2 minutes into the game and we played a very methodical and rigid zone offense. That combination that led to us being down 3 at halftime.

The second half was a bit better. Even though we didn't execute against their zone well, we rebounded better offensively so we clung to a ten point lead late in the game. The officials tried their best to give the home team every possible chance to get points by calling phantom fouls, but in the end we made enough free throws to seal the victory.

Not only did we win, but the 1st place team in the league did as well. That meant the last game of the season would determine the champion.

I believe I finished with 15ish and 10ish.

That's all I got.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Auf wiedersehen, Deutschland

Seven and a half months later...

So my first professional basketball season has come to an end and I'd like to do a recapitulation of sorts; but, I am not sure that's possible in one post. If the sheer volume of of things to share in the last 10 days wasn't enough to make this post difficult, the roller coaster of emotions surely pushes this into multi-post territory.

It is with this in mind that I've decided to provide a table of contents for my next few entries:

1.) Cottbus vs Halle

2.) Thanksgiving...again!

3.) Cottbus vs Zehlensdorf

4.) Club Sound

5.) Thanksgiving the Third

6.) Last trip to Berlin

Hopefully this will help me cover everything important that happened with enough detail. Stay on the lookout!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Rocky IV

I won't even attempt to match Goldy's latest post. From perfectly describing the tension between not wanting to offend your host and actually wanting to enjoy eating to his alter ego bursting out in all its glory, his last entry is...I can't resist...pure Gold.

Much like the battle Mateo described ( of which I am anxiously awaiting the video ), my last game could bore many similarities to a Rocky movie. We weren't the underdog, really, but there was enough punching and blood to make a watchable movie.

I don't think I've gotten a technical foul in my career, and I still haven't, but I did manage to get a warning. This probably wouldn't surprise my former roommates because they think I'm a little crazy, but I assure you I am not. I am typically very patient, but I must admit I don't have much tolerance for disrespect.

All I know, is that guy guarding me decided it was a good idea to try to sterilize me. After he realized his first attempt was unsuccessful, he tried again. The choice between children and the offensive rebound is a no-brainer, obviously, so I continued to maneuver past him. He didn't like that very much so he elbowed me in the neck and tripped me.

I got up barking at him to never, ever, do that again, but the officials stopped before I could finish the ultimatum.

Anyway the game was close the entire contest. In a crucial possession where I was not-at-all fouled ( just randomly started bleeding and lost the ball ) on an offensive rebound, there was a tussle for possession on the ground. Not only didn't the official call a jump ball, he watched as I took a left hook to the chin from the same guy who had hit me earlier. Did the official blow his whistle? Yes! But to call a travel on me. That was cool.

Anywho, to make a long story short, I hit a step back, banked, three (would you believe me if I said it was on purpose?) to twist a dagger in their chests late in the game.

Twasn't my best scoring output ( 14 ) but I rebounded well ( 12ish) and we clinched 2nd place and kept out championships hope alive.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Pop Quiz: What's my favorite letter?

...think about it...think about it.

While you cogitate on that, let me update you on this past weekend.

Numero Uno: Congratulations to the 'Herst boys on another successful season. Truth be told, only two teams that make the tournament can end on a win and only one of them is happy. I know the season didn't end as you would have hoped but you still have a lot of things of which to be proud. Special Congratulations to the '09's for being the third winningest class in the Amherst history. Even special-er congratulations to Brian Baskauskas for making the 1st-Team all 'CAC .

T.I. (Terras Irradient)

Zwei: We had a game on Saturday. We won by about 20. I was pretty bad. I think the highlight of my badness was missing a jumper that barely skimmed the backboard, getting the offensive rebound, passing it out, getting it back at the high post, hearing "SHOOOT" from my coach (who obviously thought I shot an airball), and pulling a 360 degree-in-the-air-jumpshot. The best part was that the shot just lipped out- story of the first half. The second half was better, I decided that since I wasn't really getting quality jumpshot looks against their zone, I would try dunk everything I could. That method worked decently. I got a few trips to the line out of it along with a pretty ugly posterization of a defender who tried to block my dunk. Ultimately, I was able to crawl into the double digit point plateau (11 points). I was a little embarrassed about my personal performance, but I was happy that we won (what's my favorite letter again?) and that some younger guys played the best they had played all year.

Three: We thought we would have a tougher game on Sunday, but that turned out to be false. We only scored 86 points, but we had 38 in the first quarter and just under 60 at the half. This team also played a zone, so I decided to stick with the strategy from the previous game. That worked out well. I only ended up with 15 points, but I played much less than usual and 6 of those points were dunks. Never have I ever had more than 2 dunks in a game until yesterday. The "best" part came in the fourth quarter when I got a steal and outran my opponents for a break-away finish. Can you guess what happened? Yes, I flubbed it straight off the back rim. Not that it matters or that anyone cares, but I was trying to figure out which dunk I wanted to do and paid for my indecision. When I told my dad, he responded, "You have to plan ahead for these kinds of things." I think he's right.

Immediately after the game, all of my teammates and the fans chanted for me to do pushups for missing an open dunk. I've never done them in front of a crowd before, that was an experience. C'est le vie.

The one thing I did well in both games was rebound. I think had 40 rebounds this weekend. That's another first.

Could you think of my favorite letter?

Tschuss, Adios, Ciao, Bye, Aloha, and Fair thee well.

Friday, March 6, 2009

... another update

Last week we grabbed another victory. We played Aschersleben; a team that beat us earlier in the year (yeah up 11 with 2:30 to go).

Neither team played great defense to begin the game and as a result I had 9 points by the end of the first frame. That would be the end of that, though. For the rest of the game I saw waves of double teams (even the occasional triple team) when ever I got the ball. Naturally, I was frustrated, but I don't think I've been more proud of my teammates this year.

Our starting point guard was out with the flu and a few other reserves were injured, so we went in a bit thinner than we usually do. I was worried that Nick and I would have to put up surreal numbers; but thankfully, that wasn't the case.

Our back up shooting guard, who averages around 6 points/game, had a season best 22 points. He was really efficient and took what was given to him. The starting shooting guard, who got moved to point guard because of injury, had 19, and Nick had 18. Our "utility" player had his season best of 10 points also. All around it was great stuff.

I finished with my second worst point output of the season with 9 points (14 rebounds); but I'll take that every time if we get the same result.

This coming weekend, we have a NESCAC-esque situation because we play back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday.

Speaking of which, Amherst plays Gwenydd-Mercy tonight in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Let's Go Jeffs! Terras Irradient!

Oh yeah. Current Amherst Senior, Ben Kaplan, is going to chronicle this year's quest for the Walnut and Bronze. Give it a gander!

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Knee

This morning I went to the doctor to have my knee examined. As you may recall, I came down funny off of a rebound and it just gave way. I finished the game, but I was noticeably favoring it. There wasn't any swelling until the next morning; but once it happened, well, it happened. 

The doctor is always a special experience, but it is especially so over here.  I wish there was a hidden camera because I am sure our attempts to break through language barrier were entertaining. I know the nurses who were sitting in had a good time. 

The Doc twisted, pressed, pulled, poked, prodded, and pushed on everything conceiveable in, on, and around my knee. I guess the best way to check ligaments is to see if you can rip them with your bare hands. Turns out I had no damage there...other than the bruising he may have caused himself. 

He prescribed some kind of cream stuff and some kind of pill; both to help with the inflammation. When I asked him what the pill was for, he responded, "I hope you don't have stomach problems." That's cool, right? I had to look up the name of the medicine online before I took that one, haha. 

Wellps, that's about it. I am out of commision until my checkup on Friday. Hopefully it goes well and I will get cleared to play. 

P.S.- anyone see Slumdog Millionaire? I guess I should put that on my list.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Battle for #1

So, this past weekend was "the big game". We played the first place team for sole possession of the top league spot. Usually, there isn't great fan support when we play in Berlin; but yesterday roughly 100 fans made the 2 hour trek to support us. Between the drums, chants, and horns this was the most exciting atmosphere that I've played in since Amherst/Williams and the NCAA playoffs. 

The game started in exciting fashion as both teams put up 10 or so points in the first minute. In the first 5 minutes, I had 7 points off of a pull up jumper, a layup, and an "and 1" step back jumper- then I got hurt. I am not sure how I landed exactly, but my knee gave out and I had to ask for a substitution. There was no trainor on hand, so I had to do my best self-assessment. I went out into the hallway and figured out the most effective way to mask my gimp and returned back to the gym. My coach let me play for about a minute, but he subbed me out to stay safe. It was the worst sitting there and seeing the opponents' lead swell. They were up as many as 16, but we cut it to 10 by halftime.

I was allowed to start the second half but I could tell I was on a tight leash. Fortunately, I made two quick 3's so my coach was too distracted to be worried about my knee. We really came out strong in the third quarter. I think Nick and I scored around 20 points combined to cut the lead down to 1 heading into the fourth. 

The game's intensity didn't waiver. We actually took the lead on a monstrous leaning tomohawk dunk by Nick. We ballooned the margin to as many as 6, but back-to-back threes quickly knotted the score. With 19 seconds to go, we had the ball for last shot. One dribble. Two dribbles. Then our shooting guard dribbles the ball off his foot and it rolls straight out of bounds. They have ball for last shot with 9 seconds to go but we played good defense and forced overtime. 

Much like the beginning of the game, the beginning of OT was a crazy scoring fest. I think I had 8 or 10 points in the first 5 minutes but so did the other team's guards. A banked elbow jumpshot by some donkey on the other team tied the game with around 3 minutes to go. Both teams struggled to find a rhythm in the end. Though I am trying hard not to be bitter, I don't know why my coach stopped giving me the ball towards the end of OT. Nevertheless, we have the ball with 10 seconds to go, game tied, for the last shot. Obvioulsy we lose the ball, because things never go right at the end of close games, and our point guard tries to recover it with 4 seconds left. 

He realizes that he can't get the ball, and decides to karate chop the guy. Let me make a few things clear. Not only were we on our side of the court, and  had guys sprinting back to defend  with 3.1 seconds left, but we were also in the double bonus. That means every non-offensive foul gets two free throws. The very last thing to do in that situation is foul. 

The story gets a little better. We have one timeout left, and the rule is if youuse one in the 4th quarter or later, you can advance the ball to half court. Instead of doing that, our coach calls it before the guy shoots any freethrows. The player makes both freethrows and we have to take a shot just over half court. It doesn't go in and we lose.  Cool. 

We now need Hermsdorf to lose two out of the 5 games they have left, in order to win the league. It could happen, but beating them would have made things much simpler. I finished with 30 points and 15ish rebounds.