Disclaimer: If you're looking for play-by-play accounts of the games and a bunch of stats, you've landed in wrong place. There are a few really good sites covering metro area prep hoops in a professional and thorough manner, but this is not one of them. Don't get me wrong, I am lifelong player and fan of the game, and an Elite Basketball Mind, but this column is about looking at the game and all the peripherals in an interpersonal and sometimes comedic manner. If you want to know which team has the best jerseys, which players have cool haircuts or need tans, how basketbll makes me feel, and what I might purchase from the concessions, well then, I'm your guy.
Blake vs. DeLaSalle, DeLaSalle High School, Mpls, MN, 12/3/13
As I walk through the doors of DeLaSalle High School for the first of what will surely be several times this season, it occurs to me how ironic it is that I am listening on my iPod to a band called Broken Prayer. I am entering a private Catholic institution afterall. Aside from pausing briefly to Tweet about it, because duh, EVERYTHING MUST BE TWEETED, I don't give it much more thought. If you're into punk and you're not up on Broken Prayer yet, well geez man, what are you listening to? Their self-titled record came out early this year and has held a favorable place on my turntable and the aforementioned iPod for some time now. In case you're wondering, said iPod is a purple 16 gig Nano that's named Skol Vikings and is jam-packed with punk, rap and wrestling podcasts.
Although there have been games going on for a week or so now, real life things like hanging out with old college friends in Dundas, eating massive amounts of turkey and pie in Nashwauk, and over-imbibing on craft brews at the Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub on 38th street with my wife have not permitted me to attend any until tonight. And it's only fitting that it be at De; my father's old high school, a virtual mecca of Minneapolis basketball, and one of my favorite gyms in the city. I've gone to so many games at De over the last few years that things have become somewhat ritualistic in nature.
Part of that ritual starts when I get ready for work in the morning. I have a real life job in downtown where I am nice to people for a living. I dress sort of business-casual-meets-aging-hipster, or, basically, however I want provided I don't look like a complete slob. In other words, If I'm going to wear an old Snapcase tee shirt I should probably dress it up with a cardigan. So mostly I wear of a lot of cardigans. I also wear jeans and a wide variety of footwear. Whenever I know I will be heading to De for a game after work, I instinctively wear a pair of basketball socks and shoes. I suspect this stems from some deep-rooted thing that... Ah, I'm stuck on how to word this... Basically I think there is some part of me, a part of my youth maybe, that feels fucked-up if I'm wearing anything other that basketball shoes when I'm in a gymnasium. It's probably the same reason I won't play pickup ball against someone who's wearing jeans.
Once I clock out of work, it's time for the medium-sized walk from downtown across the Hennepin Bridge to the island. It's almost always windy, rainy and/or snowy, and biting cold. But I like it because it gives me time to listen to rad bands like Broken Prayer on Skol Vikings and think about important life things like how there's too many rappers, why people jump off of bridges, and what I might get from the concessions stand even though I know I shouldn't be eating ANY of that stuff.
A few of my dad's old friends still go to De games. So when I get there I always look for them because they will have saved me a seat in the lower bleachers near mid-court and just up from the De bench, and often times, next to the mother of De's point guard Jarvis Johnson. I forget her name right now but she's really nice. Then they say things like, "Hey kid, how ya doin'?" I really like this part because no matter how old you are, when someone calls you "kid" it's pretty damn great. And then they tell me the same stories they tell me every time, that I would never get sick of, about how they went to school at De and what the gym was like back then and how my dad was a troublemaker and a ladies man.
And then we watch the Islanders play basketball.
-Missing in action tonight was recent Stanford commit, and 2014 Minnesota "Big 3" dude, senior big Reid Travis. My sources (read: I overheard his dad talking in the hallway) say he'll be out "another week or two." Kind of a bummer that he will miss the big high profile match-up against Apple Valley this Saturday. Junior Jeffrey Daubanton started in his place, and did quite well.
-At the 15:04 mark, junior point guard Jarvis Johnson capped off an 8 - 0 run by De to start the game with a huge dunk.
-De Coach Dave Thorson got a lot of really effective play out of his bench. Realistically, he could have gotten by not playing any of his starters tonight and come up with similar results.
-At halftime the score was DeLaSalle 51, Blake 19. I went to the bathroom, where I heard a couple of De students saying the F word and talking about girls; which made me feel weird about not feeling weird about hearing Catholic high school kids say the F word and talking about girls in front of an adult.
-De senior guard and North Dakota commit Geno Crandall dazzled the audience with a plethora of flamboyant yet spot-on passes and assists. He's highly entertaining and worth every single "ooooh" and "ahhhh" that he gets.
-De appears to have gotten new unies since last year. Jordan ones. Pretty dope except for on the back of them, where a name would be, it says Islanders. I get what they're going for there but I'd just assume no words on the back. Blake's unies looked dirty. Like someone accidentally washed them with bleach and a brown sock.
-With 9:00 left on the clock, the score was DeLaSalle 79, Blake 36. For De, there were some impressive minutes from freshman Goanar Mar and junior Josh Collins. Personally, I would have liked to see more of senior guard Mike Pucci, as I think he matches up well against the Blake dudes. That and he's a senior, who's paid his dues on the JV last year; which is something the bench mob-er in me can totally identify with.
-Everytime De's senior big and South Dakota commit James Lawson hits a tre I am reminded that he can hit them.
-Final score was DeLaSalle 86, Blake 48. At some point, I think around the 5:00 mark, they went to the mercy clock. I was actually impressed how well Blake kept their collective chin up throughout the game despite taking a massive beating.
-De junior Sacar Anim lead all scores with 22 points, and all hairstyles with, well, the best one.
-I was hoping to only get by with a bottle of water, but ended up having both a hotdog and a bag of peanut M&Ms. It only cost me $4.00 but the shame and love handles will last me a lifetime.
Nathan G. O'Brien
Weather-depending, my next game will be Lakeville North at Eden Prairie on Thursday. If it's too crappy to make the drive from where I live in South Mpls, I will run over to Washburn for their match-up with the visiting Holy Family. If you feel inclined, come on out and say hi. Look for the middle-aged dude that's dressed like a twenty-something. I'll be sitting next to him; older and dressed like a teenager. Or just tweet me and we'll meet up for some popcorn and jokes.