While I've been running the boards of Leigh-on-Sea, my fellow Brit, Luol Deng has been wowing US coaches, through averaging 16.0 points and 7.3 rebounds this season playing for the world famous Chicago Bulls in the NBA's Eastern conference. His performances have earned him a vote onto this month's Allstar game in Orlando, Florida. I earned eight minutes on the court Wednesday evening while 'my boys' (that's BBall talk y'all) battled a spirited ladies team for a 101-45 victory. I'm guessing you're equally proud of the pair of us, Great Britain.
|Luol Deng, a kindred spirit?...probably not.|
Southend led from the get go and dominated every quarter but amongst the ranks of the fairer opposition No.4 & No.5 each had skills in going up to the net, No. 10 & No.15 proved at times to have nerve with scoring shots from distance and No.7 bossed their side by example; I had to mark her during my time on court and believe me, I got little joy.
There were some real moments of maturity, composure and skill from the cool kids in black: Reece, Jordan, Dan and Brad all displayed some excellent skills while making point-scoring breaks; the highlight of the night goes to Dan for managing to bounce the ball off of his head from a pass, into his own path and coolly lift it into the hoop under pressure.
Nathan, or The Mop as I shall now name him, used his significant height advantage (dude must be 6'4'') to hoover up many of the rebounds in the first two quarters, and this surely added to the impressive points tally.
I too bagged my first competitive points; a penalty was awarded in the third quarter our way and Coach Butterworth gave instruction to the team that I was to take it - I'd have 4 shots...I fluffed the first, then the second (though this time aim was on target, just the power let me down), then miraculously after a bounce on the ring and backboard, my third sunk. A huge cheer went up, I was beaming but with the mini crowd all behind me I opted to compose myself for a final throw rather than revel in the moment. The ball arced disappointingly and we played on.
I was replaced soon after, though once again came on for the final few minutes, Jordan netted the final basket and we saw out the match having just made the ton mark.
I've now played in my third match, and scored 1 point which means I'm averaging 0.33 points per game. By my reckoning this makes me 0.02% the player that Luol Deng is, after just two training sessions ever, the Allstar team selectors may have to rethink the British allocation.