Well I'm back after a couple weeks feeling great and enjoying the whole Texas and D-League experience so far. This team is one of the best teams I have ever played on from top to bottom. We might not be as talented as other teams that I have been on, but just the crop of guys we have on our team is tremendous. I don't think I have ever laughed as much as I have here, which is obviously a good thing.
Some examples are Quinnas White, the point guard on the team. We call him Cool Breeze because he's always fresh. Kenny Taylor we call Kat or Big Head, because his head is so much bigger than his body. The best of all is Craig Winder, his nickname is Black Magic--because he's so dark and black, he just blends in with the sky at night. And he's usually the one that starts all the jokes. I think in the 3 or 4 weeks we have been together, we all have gotten to know each other better, and everyone gets along. But they all are cool, and I'm glad I have the chance to get to know them all and play with them.
As I stepped off the plane in good ole' McAllen, Texas (where everything is bigger as they say) on November 9th, 2007, it was just as hot here as it was in my hometown of Las Vegas, probably hotter and also very humid. Thats good, because I hate the cold weather. All I have seen have been Mexican people, so I know I will be learning a lot of Spanish, and hopefully put it to good use and become bilingual and broaden my horizons once again.
Upon walking down to the baggage claim, the Head Coach Bob Hoffman and his crew greeted me, asking how the flight went and so forth. He also told me earlier on the other flight, where like ten of the guys came in at once, they had a big band playing music, the dance team was there, and lots of fans greeted them upon their arrival. I was pretty upset when he told me that. They got lots of pretty woman greeting them, fans and music, and I got three men greeting me-- how unfair! I would've have wanted to see that
it would have been a nice precursor for my newfound Mexican heritage. They could have at least had a one man band waiting and playing for me, just so I could feel special and not left out. We are supposed to be a team-- come on coach what's up with that man!!!
One strange thing that never happened before while I was waiting for my bags was that mine were the very first ones to come out. That never happens to me, my bags are always last and I'm sitting there by myself waiting thirty minutes while everyone else is probably home already enjoying a nice meal. Or either my bags don't arrive until the next day, so maybe this is a good sign I'm wondering.
As training camp begins, I saw some faces I knew from watching basketball on TV, and some from knowing them personally and playing with them. My roommate for training camp was Stanley Asumnu. A product of Houston, Texas, Stan and I went to college together and were roommates our freshman year-- so it was like déjà vu. Stan is a good dude and a big time athlete. He is a great friend, and I'm glad I got the chance to play with him again.
Once I got dropped off at the hotel, we shared stories of the past and present and caught up with each others lives. We had some great memories on the court in our four years while at college. I'm trying to think of some, but its been so long and my memory isn't all that good. I really believe by the time I'm thirty I'm going to have Alzheimers and people are going to have to show me pictures for me to remember stuff, and probably thirty seconds later ill forget. Lets hope and pray I won't be that bad.
The other player I know is Gabe Mouneke. We were both at the Charlotte Bobcats training camp this year. We developed a good friendship in the month we were there. He is where I get all my information from about the world, food and etc. He is knowledge, LOL. Talking with him I learn something new every time.
Training camp went well for the most part, the usual, physicals and so forth. We had two practices a day for the most part. Before each of our practices our coach usually gives us an inspirational saying for the day, and to end every practice, we gather around in a circle and he says a prayer-- which I like. I've had coaches who believed in their particular religion, but none who never exactly prayed with his players. I think its good and helpful at the same time, and he's a positive example for me since he is a believer in Christ.
The early practice was a lot of shooting and defensive drills. There was a lot of enthusiasm and intensity in each practice. That was good to see throughout the entire week. Jobs are on the line and guys are fighting hard to make an impression on the coaches to keep them on the team before they make cuts to finalize the team rosters. The second practice was mostly just scrimmaging. Guys got to showcase themselves and I think our team chemistry came along as we got ready to play our first exhibition game November 20th in Bakersfield. I believe we have a good team, now we just have to go out and prove that to see how we stack up with the rest of the league.
A lot of things look good in practice, but its a different story when the game comes and those lights come on and fans start to fill the arena --then it actually counts. But it counts in practice too, because how you practice is a reflection on how you are going to play in a real game. A great man once told me that. We have at least one or two team functions a day. We usually go eat together for lunch or dinner. We have been meeting sponsors and donors of the team. They are the ones that have helped make it possible for the team to be here, so its good to build relationships with them and meet them. And hopefully get some hook ups along the way.
We won our first exhibition game against Bakersfield. I was excited to be playing and again and doing something I love. Who wouldn't? Isn't that what life is all about? Love, live, and life? The crowd wasn't that great, but I know its not going to be like it was in college, playing in front of 20,000 people. Its more that I'm playing in front of 2,000 people that just come to the game just to get out of the house and not nothing about the craft of the game that I love so much, but oh well at least they came out to support I guess.
After the game they released my man Stan Asumnu. I don't know why, but they did. I was shocked, and all the players were shocked, because Stan was a hard worker and did everything the coach asked and more. But I wish him the best and I know he will continue to work hard and accomplish a lot through basketball and other endeavors. Now, since they trimmed the roster down to 11 players we are set and ready to go for our first home game, and set for the first win in franchise history.
We beat the Austin Toros in our home opener. We played really well for the most part. Everyone is learning and knowing their roles, and the addition we got from the Houston Rockets sending Steve Novak
down really helped us out a lot giving us another scoring threat. The fans here in McAllen are great, there has been a lot of hype about the D-League coming here, and we have been exceeding expectations so far. The fans are coming out and giving us a lot of support, and we are returning the favor with great plays and wins. So I hope we can keep it up and continue to put W's in the column and people in the seats. We are about to take our 2-0 start to the season on the road for a California road trip, where we play Anaheim and LA and then come back to Texas to host Sioux Falls next Saturday.
For Thanksgiving, the coached organized a nice meal for us to have together as a team and as a "new family" together since not many of us had the chance to go home. There's so much that I know I'm thankful for, especially the little things that probably don't matter as much to other people. I know all my family back in Vegas and Tennessee had a great time, I was kind of jealous hearing them all in the background laughing and stuff, wishing I was there with them, all cracking up and being crazy like my family does.
I recently saw the movies American Gangster and Saw 4, both are must sees. American Gangster is self explanatory. Its the life of a gangster named Frank Lucas, and Denzel Washington holds it down as usual with the help of Russell Crowe, TI and Common. Its one hell of a movie and one of my favorites from here on out. You also have to watch the show American Gangster on Frank Lucas thats on BET. It shows the life of Frank Lucas and how and what he did to get caught up in the drug game. It goes good with the movie.
Saw 4 on the other hand is some crazy demented stuff. I don't know who thinks and writes these scary movies, but they are very creative and sick in the head
no offense, but I'm a fan. I've seen every saw movie and Saw 4 had to be the most hideous one of them all, with all the different ways they kill the victims in the movie, and how it all ties together with every death. The deaths are so innovative, I'm surprised none of these crazy people have ever acted it out in real life.
I recently bought the Jay-Z album American Gangster. I'm a big Jay-Z fan, how he keeps changing the game and inventing new styles, and how he keeps educating the young dudes in the game on how to venture out and start more businesses and build your clientèle just besides rapping. He's an intuitive guy. I also purchased the Chris Brown and Cassidy CD, but can't listen to them yet because my IPod wouldn't download correctly. Technology these days
you got to love it, because if you don't keep up with it, it will pass you up in a hurry. So I have to stay a step ahead of the game. I also just upgraded from the Sidekick 3 to the new and sleek Sidekick LX. Its a little different, and slimmer. Since I bought it I haven't been able to put it down. I'm always on AOL instant messenger talking to friends near and far, or sending massive amounts of text messages or emails to people.