Ime: Yo Fred, where's the concession stand at?
Fred: Man, I was just wondering that same thing.
Both Mr. Udoka and Mr. Jones were on hand at the Rose City Exchange this afternoon, watching their AAU teams battle on day 2 of the 3 day tournament.
It should be noted that both men not only put up the sponsorship money for their teams, but also took the time to show up, cheer on their teams, and make themselves accessible to fans and well-wishers.
The NBA Cares... and, even if it doesn't... at least these two genuinely do. And for that we should salute them.
Looking for something to do on Father's Day? Might I suggest making your way out to Grant to catch the final day of this AAU action. I spent nearly 5 hours today marvelling at how quick and well-coached these young kids are and how much they love the game of hoops. What a great antidote to the NBA's recent scandal.
For tournament coverage that cannot be beat, check out Oregonlive.com's High School Blog, where Tim Brown and team are just killing it.
Also, if you haven't checked out the Tribune's excellent profile of 13 year old prodigy Nigel Williams-Goss, it's well-worth your time. Mr. Williams-Goss started at point guard for Udoka's team and held his own, despite playing against players 3 and 4 years his senior. Although he wasn't in the game during crunch time, it's clear that the experience of playing against older, more mature competition is invaluable for his basketball IQ and skills development.
To my eye, it seems that the U17 division of this tournament is just about the highest level of ball Oregon kids can experience during the off-season. Perhaps we will see Ms. Nared competing in this tournament sometime in the near future?
I leave you with this video that I've wanted to share for a while now. It's Grant's Mike Moser (who also plays for Team Udoka) participating in a slam dunk contest earlier this year. Watching Mr. Moser and watching the crowd's reaction (especially the bouncing kid wearing jorts at the 38 second mark who simply cannot control his joy), I see a MUCH BETTER basketball than the one marred by Mr. Donaghy's corruption and Mr. Stern's pomposity. Enjoy.
-- Ben (firstname.lastname@example.org)