Saturday, January 27, 2007

Big Games

Jamal Crawford exploded for 52 points in my sleep. The Knicks were ahead and I'd been working hard all week at my new magazine internship. I was supposed to go to the movies, but the trip to come was just too much for me and I fell into a deep slumber with the Knicks safely ahead by 20. Checking Yahoo! Sports this morning for a Woj column, I saw the box score and was psyched to see Crawford went nut on the Heat.

Sometimes that happens, someone goes nut and drops an insane amount of points. Not that 52 is the most ever scored in a game, but is surely is an insane number. Guys like Antonio Daniels, David Lee, and Jose Calderon all wish they'd get a 50+ game, just one; for sure the next contracts they sign would be triple the previous.

There are a few instances that come to mind from when I was younger and guys I knew would score a bunch of points out of the blue. The first time was a kid named Brandon McBeth, who had a twin brother Brian, when he was a senior in high school. He didn't play with me, but he was my brother's teammate through junior-high into high school where they were teammates on the varsity at Archbishop Molloy. One night a ragged Bayonne High School made the trip from North Jersey out to what is called Jack Curran Gymnasium at Molloy now, it was not yet then.

Bayonne, to their credit, played hard every minute. They did however allow the JV players who'd played in the game before come up to the varsity level to deepen their bench. It didn't matter. Brandon dropped 29 in three quarters and Bayonne left Queens winless that night and the victims of a romping at the hands of the Stanners. Macbeth just seemed to be making every shot count. I'd seen the kid play 100+ times in my life and that one night he'd really been the best player on the court. Even with all of Molloy's D1 talent that year Reggie Brown who went to Richmond, big Uka Agbai who played at Boston College, point guard Justin Wilson who played at U. Maryland-Baltimore County and a few other guys who went to D2 and 3 schools, Brandon Macbeth still scored more in one single game than anyone on the team. Brandon Macbeth went on to spend four years, with his brother, on the basketball team at Wesleyan University after high school. I hear they're doing well.

The second time, well I'll get to the second time in a minute, but the third time was rather recently. As Assistant Coach to head Coach Jimmy "Belly" Bellington of the St. Pancras Cougars CYO 7th grade team, we see a lot of good teams, but we feel like we really have some good players. We're like 9-1 and haven't lost since the first week of the season. We've got a kid, Andrew "ICE" Winters who is scoring in double figures every game and, more impressively, is scoring 10 points or more in a single quarter almost every game. If he makes the right decisions he'll be a really good player in the CHSAA in a year our two. Then there is Chris "Speedy Morman," a quick/smart point guard that already has a ton of playing time under his belt, Timmy Bellington who is a guard who has some potential, little Nicholas "Niko" Ebert a first-year back-up point guard who is really athletic and then, Chucky Meyers.

Chucky came off the bench against Ridgewood-Glendale area rival Our Lady of Miraculous Medal. Aside from an early effort by O.L.M.M. we lead the entire way en route to a nearly 30-point blowout. Chuck, a second year forward, went off like and animal making every try he throw, slapped, pushed or hammered toward the basket in the second half. He'd rarely scored 10 in the previous games, if ever, and playing out the entire second half he finished with 26 points, freezing Ice’s previous high of 20.

To leave myself for last, my best game of all time might have been against a few future college players, one D1 player who had the biggest ego I'd ever seen, the summer I was going into the 9th grade. It was Jack Curran's Basketball Camp at Molloy; I'd decided to go at the last minute, pretty much because I wasn't going there for high school, another story. Fran Leary was my coach and we were in a league that featured Kevin Hamilton, who played at Holy Cross U., Wendell Gibson who played at Hofstra if I remember right, a kid named Giles Jackson who went on to Molloy and then Bishop Loughlin who was just a killer and the MVP of camp that week, a bunch of other kids who would play high school and college ball. My team was a little less stacked in terms of future college players but in the first two camp games I scored 29 and 23 respectively. While I scored in double digits the rest of the week, I can still score too (laugh now), but even though I never really played serious organized ball again, I still chase those 52 point days.