This is something I have been meaning to write since I first heard that Armon might possibly be drafted to this great organization. I held my breath until after the fact...and after he recently chose his number I felt I could go ahead and write this fanpost. Essentially, I just want to give a snapshot of Armon as a player and a person.
I played AAU basketball with him for a summer in Northern California. At the time there was talk that he might transfer to a California HS from Nevada, since he had already won the player of the year award, and seemed to be far superior to his competition.
The first time I played with him, my AAU coach picked him out of a crowd and was like "you want to play with us?" We were all like...Coach, realy? This is like the #1 ranked team in the area and you are just gonna grab some random fool from the crowd. He never practiced with us or anything. Of course Armon said yes and grabbed a jersey. We start warming up and everything is going fine. Then, some dudes on my team start doing dunks and trick dunks: Lebron Cockbacks, 360's, rock the cradle, nothing absurd. Armon decides to up the ante...he tosses the ball off the all behind the basket and does a windmill dunk, first try. The next time he takes off from like a foot or so inside the freethrow line, flushes it easily. So we are all like...we'll we know he can bash..but that doesn't mean anything. We had players on our team who were essentially useless with the ball in the hand if they weren't dunking. So, it was no big deal.
Our coach decided to start Armon, despite some protest from our longer tenured players. Tip goes, and Armon just takes over. No one could see him. Too fast, too strong, to quick, too poised. He was just getting layups. So then, he starts pulling from halfway between the three point line and half court, CASHING. He hit like 4 in a row. Obviously, we blew this team out. Everyone concluded that Armon was Raw...RAW.
Our next tournament was hosted by our rival, and Armon joined us again. Again, the top teams in the area, including the best team in San Francisco (bragging rights galore). The entire gym was full of people from different neighborhoods, etc. i had never seen this many people in this particular facility. Armon dominated the ENTIRE game. However, the most memorable play I can remember was when the best player got a run out from a long rebound. They passed the ball up to this wing player, who was a legit 6'6", 215, with bunnies. Our whole bench is like, dang he's gonna murder this rim (he was destroying them in warmups). Armon comes streaking down the opposite side of the court, on course to meet this guy at the rim. We were all like...what the heck is he doing? So he keeps running and slows down at about the freethrow line so we are like...ok that makes sense. Then BOOM he accelerates and jumps right after the other wing player. We were all like..."Armon bout to get CRAPPED on". They meet in the air and Armon gets ALL ball. No body, no arm, no wrist, no fingers....just ball, at the rim.
Just so that you can get a realistic idea of what happened it was just like this, because, if you watch the other guys eyes, thats EXACTLY what we looked like on the bench.
Aside from being a great basketball player, Armon is a great dude, helped me improve my game for no reason other than I asked him. So I know he will fit right in with the culture of the team. He's funny, so I see a bit of travis and Martel in him, in that he's got a glue guy personality. He assumes goodwill, and doesn't take things out of context. At the same time, he's like Bayless with an unrelenting, physical, at the rim game. He has the athleticism is definitely NBA caliber. So I look forward to many years of Armon on the Blazers.