CRUCIAL UPDATE (4:40 PM)
Brian Hendrickson waited Brandon Roy out and got a great story about the dunk last night. Must read. Here's a link and here's your teaser...
"My freshman, sophomore year ... all I wanted to do was dunk. I loved dunking," Roy said. "I got labeled as a slasher. People started saying, 'He can't really shoot. He can't really handle the ball. He's a high-flier.' But people would say, 'Those come a dime a dozen.' And I said, 'Well, let me try to add something that people don't have.' And that's when I started to develop the whole all-around thing. Because I said, 'Well, not many players are all-around.'"
The team scattered pretty quickly after practice so not much doing in this report. A few things of note but nothing extraordinary.
Blake looks doubtful for tomorrow. He came out and talked to the media for a minute. He said that he ran into a clean pick, that he was in too much pain to play through it, and that he's not sure where he's at in terms of a timeline.
[Update: Sean at Oregonlive has video of Blake discussing the injury.]
I think Monty Williams got my page. He was spending extra time working with Nic after practice, working on his jumper but also, it seemed, just working to develop his confidence.
Nic seemed in good spirits after the session and he ended it with another attempt at a free throw line dunk (just missed). Monty was enthusiastically pointing out on the floor to him where he had taken off from, clearly impressed. The dunk attempt caused me to whip out the camera but I wasn't quick enough, so I asked Nic to take another run at it, this time on video.
Monty interjected on his way to the locker room, joking, "Oh no. That's the kind of thing that gets someone injured. You'll get the video but I'll get in trouble." Nic smiled sheepishly (that's his default reaction to all situations). Maybe next time I'll be more johnny-on-the-spot.
I waited awhile to see if Brandon would come out to talk about his dunk but left at around 2 o'clock, roughly 30 minutes after the rest of practice was over. When I left, Bayless was still working on his jumpshot. One reporter called him "maniacal." As I left, his hands were on his hips in between reps and he was taking deep breaths. Working to the point of exhaustion? His off switch remains broken.
Most of the guys (Greg, Brandon, Travis) were hiding out in the weight room and were lifting with Tupac Shakur bumping very loudly. First "Changes" and then "Hit Em Up."
You haven't lived until you've heard Travis Outlaw shout along to the extremely profane diatribe at the end of that song. Here are the PG13 lyrics if you're curious. Pick it up around "Oh yah Mobb Deep." Fair warning: eighties babies might find themselves reminiscing about high school while reading that.
-- Ben (firstname.lastname@example.org)