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The 12 O'Clock Rule
by: Zack Rosen - NBA Draft Prospect Blogger
February 1, 2010
No matter if you just left your agent an f-bomb filled tirade that you both know has no bearing on reality but just needed to be said, laughed about, and then forgotten, or if you just had the game of your life, the 12 o’clock rule must be enforced.

The gist of the rule is you can’t let good or bad play affect your mood or carryover to the next day. If you try to follow it you don’t get too high or too low. When you play well you will still have to go out the next day and prove that you are really that good. If you play poorly you have to prove that you weren’t really that bad.



But before I get to that, I want bring you up to speed. I went to camp with Minnesota and played well, only to be released a couple days before season after a last minute trade. Close only counts in horseshoes and grenades, so I won’t bore you with details of that experience.

To clear my mind, I took a trip up to the north shore with the better 3/4, or 3/25 as one of my coaches put on a scouting report. I won’t say if it is a current or former coach of mine that has fractional ineptness but I will admit it was a man. He really must have thought that since a quarter is 25 cents then three-quarter fronting the post must be 3/25. Seems logical I guess…

Anyway, I then stayed in shape at home for 6 weeks or so while I waited for the perfect offer in Europe. It never came, but I did turn down an unreal offer in Iran for crying out loud. I guess their money is just as green as the next club’s, but I chose the riches of the D-League and my safety instead, since I am still young and need to play and not sit at home (OK, 27 isn’t the new 19, but at least I am not 34.)

(Insert useless self-promotion here)

Now to the 12 o’clock rule. Tonight was my first game back since I tweaked my back. Even though I had been working out in the pool and had three practices to get my timing, my coach told me that he still wasn’t going to play me much. With that being said, I still felt the need to leave a hilarious voicemail or four to let off some steam since I only played 7 minutes.

It ain’t my first rodeo, but sometimes it feels good to leave a message that sounds like it came from a guy from my 803-person hometown we aptly named (first name) mfbomb *$@# (Last Name). Sounds better with the real name and real swear words but you get the picture.

Now that I am healthy, I am looking forward to the next couple days back home to get my rhythm. And since I use that rule, I won’t worry about the bad game.

For those of you who are keeping score at home, you must realize that a D-League budget doesn’t allow for chartered planes or traveling masseuses or chiropractors, so having 3 of 14 games in January at home is tough. January made me feel like Steve Martin in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

We played ping-pong in puddle jumpers while we seemingly flew everywhere but our final destination this whole month. That is just not in the best interests of a seven-footer who is trying to use his body to make a living.

I just love trying to talk 5’8” people out of their exit rows. Don’t get me wrong, I love people that are 5’8.” Hell Jen is that height, but it is ridiculous when a person of that stature tells me that they have long legs and need the extra leg room. I wish I could just barf all over them impulsively then say ‘Oh I guess I have to sit there now.’

But no, I take the high road and smile while I cram into a small seat. But it doesn’t stop there, oh no. Nine times out of ten the person across the aisle will make a ‘You just don’t fit, do you’ comment. Thank You Captain Obvious.

Perhaps I wouldn’t have tweaked my back had a Good Samaritan stepped up and relieved an ogre of his discomfort. Perhaps not. But seriously, things could be worse: I could have my main man and assistant coach Vitaly Potapenko’s thighs.

You all might remember him from his 12 or so years as a moving refrigerator in the NBA. He seriously is less built for travel than I; he isn’t fat, he is just solid Ukrainian thick.

When I see him crammed in his airplane seat his jeans look like they are going to explode. When he asks people in his thick Eastern European accent, “Cahn you pleaze have the kurtizy of moving for us cuz we owr beeg” people still get scared even though he is well spoken. It is fun to watch people cower in front him, though. The shaved assassin head doesn’t help him much either.

And just like clockwork I happen to write that sentence and look at the clock turn 12:03. I now have a clean slate and can forget the ‘ease your way back’ game. I can’t wait to get up in the morning and take a much-needed trip home to my wife for a few days for her birthday.
 


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Vitaly Potapenko
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 10"
Weight: 280 lbs.
Birthday: 03/21/1975
39 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #12 in 1996 Draft
by the Cavaliers
Positions:
Current: C,
NBA: C,
Possible: C
Quick Stats:
5.3 Pts, 2.7 Rebs, 0.7 Asts


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