CJ Watson: the Call-up
by: CJ Watson
January 17, 2008
Our team keeps dwindling down from players leaving to go overseas, which is a good thing for them. I can't knock them for it. We are no longer the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. We are the self proclaimed Ď8 deepí. We gave ourselves the name because we only have 8 players now and we are a scrappy team, since we are smaller than everyone else. While being Ď8 deepí we won two tough road games and lost two heart breakers on the road to Austin. One of our games went to double overtime and was a thriller. We had the game won until we missed some free throws and missed some shots at the end of regulation and overtime to win it. But the game was exciting and fun to play.

Some hours after our last game at Austin I received word that I was soon to be getting a "Gatorade call up" and my dream of finally playing in the NBA would come true. I would be going to the fast paced Golden State Warriors. I can't lie, I was excited, I don't think I slept that whole night after finding out. I was just up thinking about having my dream of playing in the NBA really come true. I'm so close to accomplishing some of my goals, and still, I have many more that I want accomplish.

I have been getting calls from all my family and friends. I hope I don't let them down. I know I have a lot riding on my back, but no pressure right? I just have to go out there and perform the same way I have been in the D-League. Which I know I can do. I know I belong in the NBA, and this is my opportunity to prove all the naysayers wrong. Iíll let my play speak for itself on that aspect. But I'm overjoyed and blessed for the opportunity. I was kind of sad leaving my teammates and coaches from the D-League, though. The bond that we had the month I was there was unique and unforgettable, but I got to go fellas, sorry.

When I arrived in Golden State, the players welcomed me with open arms. The coaches just told me to do the same thing I have been doing in the D-League-- they don't want me to come here and be passive. They want me to be aggressive, because that's what got me here. I get to watch and play behind one of the best point guards in the league in Baron Davis. Some of the stuff he does is unbelievable. I was already a fan, but now I'm a believer, haha. I have already learned a lot from him just by watching for the seven games that I have been here for. He's an all-star on and off the court.

The first game I got here he handed me some bundled up twenty dollar bills and said "hey you new guy, make sure you get me two green teas in the morning before shoot-around and don't be late." Yes of course I got them, I ainít no punk though don't get it twisted, itís just all a part of the things they make rookies do. I got an extra $40 out of the deal because he let me keep the change.

I have to say, the NBA life is something I can get used to. The charter flights, the chef before and after practice, the per diem every road trip, the traveling seeing different cities and meeting different people, and oh yeah, the basketball-- the best part of all.

In my first NBA debut against the red hot Portland Trailblazers, I was excited. I finally made it to this big stage, and when the coach called me to go in, I was shocked and overzealous at the same time. I didn't know any plays, but in Coach Nelson's system you don't have to. They don't run any plays. They just get the ball and go. My first shot I missed-- I wasn't used to coming off the bench, so I didn't have my legs under me, but hey, no excuses.

One thing that shocked me was during a timeout Coach Nelson doesn't say nothing. He just sits there and rubs his head and will occasionally draw up a play every now and then. When you have been in the league as long as he has, and accomplished the things he has at a high level, you shouldn't have to. I asked one of the players ďwhy he doesn't talk during timeouts?Ē They said he just doesn't. They were like ďif that shocks you about this team, then you are in for a bunch more surprises and weird things.Ē And I have come to experience some of those things in the week I have been here.

The 2nd half rolls around, and he calls me in again, and I make the most out of if it. We were getting beat by maybe 15 or 20 points. But I had 9 points in the 2nd half. I finished with 11 points for the game and like 4 assists. I was happy to come out and play like that my very first NBA game. I didn't think I was going to play 30 minutes, but it was good to get my feet wet against a team like that.

All I have been hearing about the next day after our game against Portland was: "are you ready to play at Oracle Arena? We have the best fans in the league, itís exciting to play at home." I remember watching the playoffs last year when they beat the Dallas Mavericks and I knew just from TV that the fans were crazy. In person I knew it had to be an even better experience. So I was anxious to see for myself, and oh did they not disappointÖ. The fans were loud and enthusiastic the entire game.

When I was coming to check into the game, fans were yelling "Go CJ, we are proud of you" and when I checked into the game and the announcer said my name, everyone stood up and started cheering for me. That was the moment of my life, I can go ahead and die now. Iím just joking, but you know what I mean. I busted out a big smile while running down the court. I know, lame right? But I had to, I was happy and couldn't think of anything else, because we had the ball on offense and I didn't want to turn it over. I was so excited, I don't think I would have hit the rim if I shot the ball. But the only shots I took that game were threes, and they all went in, and were big shots for the team. So I can finally say I helped contribute to a victory for my team on the NBA level. Hopefully it won't be the last.

My phone hasn't stopped ringing for like the past week-- people congratulating me, making ticket requests already, and other stuff. But itís been a rollercoaster ride, and I'm glad it all paid off. I still have a lot of work to do. I'm not finished just yet, though, stay tuned for more from the Quiet Storm!!!

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CJ Watson: First Quarter
by: CJ Watson
December 24, 2007
Weíve had a couple days off, which I was in dire need of because we played four games in five nights. I was so sore and beat up that I could barely move. So I took it upon myself to pamper myself with an hour massage and soaking in a hot bath of Epsom salt to relieve some pain in my body.

I think the massage helped a little bit, but I think the lady messed my leg up somehow. For some reason she kept pulling my leg in all different directions-- which was very weird. Of all the massages I got since playing basketball, Iíve never had someone pull my leg in all different directions like she did. I was going to say something, but I didn't want to offend the lady because maybe that was her routine. Plus, I don't think she spoke that much English.

My trainer from Las Vegas (big ups mad moves inc.) once told me to stop driving to the basket so much and start using my pull up jumper to preserve my body so my career can last longer. I knew why he was saying it, and what he was saying is true, but I was just being stubborn because he thinks he knows everything. You can't tell him nothing, he's a "New Yorker". They think they know everything. I will surely take that advice now, but still take what the defense gives me at all times.

I went to a Mexican dance concert on one of my days off. It was a humbling experience. It was better than being in the house and watching TV and being on the computer all day I guess. Even though I didn't understand anything, because it was in Spanish. It was a whole bunch of different dances that told stories and folk tales and life experiences of the Mexican culture. I enjoyed it and it was interesting to see something new and different that I hadn't experienced before. Itís something I do I guess besides movies or walk around the mall on my days off.

We recently got another player from the Houston Rockets-- first round draft pick Aaron Brooks. He gives us another scoring threat on the team, and with me and him in the backcourt, itís going to be hard for people to stop us because we are both fast. Or let me rephrase that-- I'm quick, but he is roadrunner fast. He's like a little bullet out there. I believe it will help our team out when he gets adjusted with the system, players and coaches.

I like the D-League so faróitís actually a lot better than what I expected. Iím not saying that I love it, but itís a good option instead of going overseas and being far away from your family and friends. Even though the money is better overseas. But Iím not in it for the money; I do it for the love of the game, right? Although if my NBA dream doesn't come to reality after this season, then I have to go get that money overseas. I guess I just expected much worse and bad traveling experiences, but it hasn't been anything like that yet so far LOL. Maybe itís different with other teams and stuff. Our team owners have taken care of us and do things for us that I'm sure no other teams do. (At least that's what my coach tells us, so I guess I have to believe him).

If youíre in it for the money, then this is not the best league for you. But itís good for exposure because there are scouts at probably every game, and the scouts may be the only people in the crowd. We played in Los Angeles, and it was like we were playing an 8 AM AAU game where no one came except for a couple of parents that traveled with the team. It was only the scouts in the stands, and a handful of people. You could hear everything that was said on the court. It didn't help that we lost and our coach got two technical fouls and another one of our players got thrown out for a bogus foul call off of a rebound. But we live and learn I guess.

Our coach has received a technical foul every game we have played in --no exaggeration. Maybe thatís his thing to get us going or get the refs to actually make better calls, but I don't know. I haven't asked him yet for his reason or if he even realizes that every game he has received a technical. I know he must have money to throw away because those technical fouls aren't cheap. He has to be at least 5,000 dollars in the hole. He can give that to me instead of costing us points and getting a tech every game.

It definitely was an experience and introduction to the D-League to see some of the crowds, or lack thereof that come out to watch us. But our Rio Grande fans are the best, they come out and support like no other. I was reading on the internet that we were tied for first place in the D-League power rankings. Whatever that means. I think things like that don't mean much because teams change so much every week because of players getting called up or sent down from NBA teams or players coming back from overseas getting signed to a new team. So you can be atop of the power rankings one week than the next be at the bottom. Hopefully the Rio Grande Valley Vipers will be at the top throughout the entire season. We have been playing some good basketball and we have one of the best records in the league. Because itís not how you start, but also how you finish the season.

I have a quick funny story about my assistant coach Brian Walsh. He's a short, really short dude. He's about five feet, he doesn't take any stuff, and heís a funny dude. He doesn't think he's funny, but just the things he says and does makes him funny and weird at the same time. He does it all with a straight face though.

One day we had practice and he was taking a nap in the training room before. I went in and woke him up, and he told me he had the weirdest dream. He was playing football and he was on the field with no pads on while everyone else did. I asked him if he was on offense or defense, and he said there wasn't any offense or defense. It was just people taking turns running up to him and hitting him as hard as they possibly could. I started dying laughing and still do to this day. He also said in one of his dreams that our trainer Joe came to practice one day and just started beating him up just for no reason and no one stopped him. How and why he has these dreams still boggles my mind, but they are hilarious and I had to let the world know. But Coach Walsh is a good guy and a good coach.

I want to wish good luck to a few of my teammates who have been called back up to NBA and one who went overseas. I wish them the best of luck and many blessings on their journey and in life. And also Kevin Bookout too, he hurt his shoulder and we don't know how long he's going to be out. We are down to like eight players I think, all guards and one big man. So we will have to play scrappy and hard to win every game. All of our games are on the road the rest of December and all of January except for one home game. So things could get ugly for us if we let it. I think we will be ok, but itís going to be tough because of the number of players we have. I heard through the grapevine we are getting back one of my old teammates Stanley Asumnu. Iím so excited about that because we could really use him.

We did a team community service event at a childrenís hospital, and I believe it made their day. Quinnas White gave a kid his Jordans and a hat signed by the team. He walked out without any shoes on, but it was nice and Iím sure the kid will never forget that moment in his life. We gave out tickets to most of the people in the hospital so they could come check us out on the court. And our dance team even came out and signed autographs and performed a routine or two for the little kids. They are called the Snake Charmers by the way, I had to give them a shout out too because they help us out at our games and give the crowd something to cheer for during timeouts and stuff.

If everything goes according to plan, I will be spending Christmas in Nashville with la familia. I can't wait to see all my family (mama, daddy, brother, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, nephews, and in-laws) again to have a white Christmas --that is if it snows in Nashville while I'm there. But Merry Christmas and happy new year to all. Remember Jesus is the reason for the season!!! 2008 is the year of the storm, so get your umbrellas out and check your local forecast because the quiet storm may be hitting a major city near you soon.

P.S.-Remember to vote for me for the d-league all star game. The game is going to be in New Orleans this year, and I'm trying to get a free trip, so vote for me ASAP at: http://www.nba.com/dleague/allstar2008/asb/daily.html.

Donít worry, Iíll take pictures so everyone can feel and enjoy the experience just as if you were there. Don't let me down fans, I'm counting on you!!!

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CJ Watson-- The Good Life
by: CJ Watson
November 30, 2007
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. Thatís 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 thatÖit 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 dťjŗ 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 otherís lives. We had some great memories on the court in our four years while at college. I'm trying to think of some, but itís 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 Alzheimerís and people are going to have to show me pictures for me to remember stuff, and probably thirty seconds later ill forget. Letís 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 itís 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 itís 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 itís 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 itís not going to be like it was in college, playing in front of 20,000 people. Itís 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. Itís 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. Itís 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 thatís 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 headÖno 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 clientŤle 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 daysÖyou 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. Itís 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.

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CJ Watson: An Introduction
by: CJ Watson
November 9, 2007
CJ Watson, aka "Quiet Storm," a first round pick in last week's D-League draft and former All-SEC standout, kicks off his first blog by introducing himself to his readers with an in-depth background explaining how he got to where he is right now--McAllen, Texas, kicking off training camp with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

What's up, my fellow internet blog readers. I'm new to this blog stuff, so bear with me. The name is Charles Watson, aka CJ Watson, aka quiet storm. The nickname quiet storm came from my sister, back when I was 17. She gave me the nickname just before I was going to get it tattooed on my arm. It sounded good, so I ran with it, and it fits me well, so itís been with me ever since-- because I'm quiet by nature, but my game will hit you and have you caught up like a storm. Don't ask me, but hey it fits, if you know me well. Which many claim they do, but only few really do.

I am product of Las Vegas, aka sin city. Everyone asks what it was like growing up in Las Vegas, and I just tell them Ďjust like growing up in any other city.í Las Vegas has all the lights and things, but when you grow up there, itís not that appealing as it is to others when you have been there for so long.

I have two parents that I love with all my heart and admire. One for their toughness through the good and bad times, and also sacrificing a lot by raising me and my brother, because I know they gave up a lot and did things only to put food in our mouths and make sure we had a better life than they had. They have both done a great job raising me and building me up into the young man that I have become (you can be the judge on that one, haha). They have taught me a lot, but the most important thing they have installed in me is my belief in Jesus Christ, because without him nothing would be possible. So I thank them and thank God also for giving me parents who love and care unconditionally.

I have an older sister who lives in Nashville with her husband and two kids. My younger brother goes to school at Irvine community college, and has signed to play at San Diego State University. My brother and I are like night and day, but similar in ways. But he's a PTPer as Dick Vitale would say, and has a lot of potential so watch out for him next year.

I just recently had a beautiful baby daughter, she is just a month and four days old, and growing each and every day. And I also have a huge supporting family which consist of many aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, friends of the family, and church family, which I love and appreciate a lot for being in my corner and always giving me encouraging words.

I went to Bishop Gorman high school. I had an OK career in high school you can say. We won two state championships and I won two state player of the year awards. My jersey is also the only one retired in my schoolís history, but I'm sure not the last. [My brotherís is also retired. We wore the same number (32) in school and he won a state championship his last year in high school.]

I attended the University of Tennessee, where I had some of the best years of my life, and also some of the most difficult and frustrating. When I first walked on campus, I was nervous and excited to see what college was going to bring me, now that I look back at it, it taught me a lot of responsibilities and helped me grow as a person. One of the most frustrating times in college was when my grandma passed. It was hard on me because no one close to me that I had loved had ever passed. I knew the time would come one day, but wish it didn't. I still remember the day when my mom called and told me and the funeral and everything. I cried like a baby when I first saw her at the wake. I know she's looking down from heaven, I know one day Iíll see her again in a better place.

Basketball was tough, going from winning in high school, then coming to college with big heights and losing and having your game changed in some ways. I played for Buzz Peterson for three years. Our class came in with high expectations, but our 1st season was subpar, only ending in an NIT bid. Our 2nd and 3rd seasons went unnoticed, and our record was 16-15 and 15-16, which lead to our head coach being fired. My last year, Bruce Pearl came in with an up-tempo style, and the team and myself both flourished in it. We went to the tournament for the first time with the highest seed ever in UT history, which was a 2 seed.

I loved my time at UT, and still support the Vols in all sports. I'm thankful for both Buzz Peterson and Bruce Pearl for helping my game and learning something from both of them as great coaches. I believe the Vols are #7 in the preseason polls, and I believe they are going to take it to the Final Four this year--so you better watch out because Bruce Pearl is going to take them to national prominence. Go Vols!!!

After going undrafted in the 2006 draft, I decided to play overseas, and go for the money-- because a brother needed some money. I played for a team in Reggio Emilia, Italy. It was a different experience being all alone miles and miles from my family and friends. I had been to Italy, Greece, and the Dominican Republic before, so it wasn't like I hadn't been overseas before. But going by yourself, knowing no one, not speaking the language, and barely understanding the so called Ďpeople who spoke Englishí didn't make me feel so comfortable. But I stuck it out. Italy was tough and fun, but yet another learning experience thru good and bad.

It was tough, because 2 weeks into the season the coach got fired, and the new coach brings in a whole new system and everything, which is tough for a player and a team to get used to and find their chemistry, especially when the season had already started. I have learned nothing overseas is ever in place or guaranteed. Anything can change at any given moment, whether you like it not.

Italy was fun, because I met a lot of different people and got accustomed to a whole different culture. Basketball has taken me across the world, near and far, and it has given me the chance to go to school for free, meet players, business people, celebrities that I have looked up to, and other people that have had a huge effect on my life, not only as a basketball player, but also as a person in general.

I went from playing, to the new coach telling me that he didn't think I was good enough, which led to my demise in Italy, then moving to a team called PAOK in Thessaloniki, Greece for the remainder of the season-- which was like 2 months. I was just happy to get back to playing again, because I hadn't been playing in games or practicing for like a month. It was like a rebirth and I tried to take advantage of it as much as I could, because you never know when things can be taken from you.

After the season was over, and we lost in the playoffs in the first round, it was back to the States where I could continue to work out and get to where I want-- which is the NBA. I played summer league for the San Antonio Spurs for two years in a row. The first year I didn't play as well as I wanted to or could have. The whole game seemed faster and it was a learning experience for me.

But my second year playing for the Spurs in summer league was like night and day. Playing the year before, and all their mini camps, and other teamsí mini camps, and playing overseas, and gaining more confidence in my gameówas all nothing more than a blessing. I think I played well enough for the Spurs to sign me, but everything happens for a reason, and everything in between is a learning experience and chance for me to grow and learn from my mistakes.

Now, my journey takes me to the D-League. It was a tough decision, whether to stay and try and give it one last shot at my dream-- the NBA-- or go overseas and take an offer that would pay better. I had opinions from everyone-- friends and family about what I should do, but I choose to stay in America and play in the D-League to give it one last shot at my dream, and where I want to get, which is the NBA.

I was drafted 5th overall-- to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Itís in a city called McAllen, Texas. Where that is, I didn't even know until I Googled it and did my research on the city. It could be much worse, I could be going to a city where they have absolutely nothing.

I really didn't watch the draft because I kind of knew already from my agent where and what team I was going to, it was just a matter of when. Itís a first year franchise, so itís good to start off fresh, and I'm excited and looking forward to the season and the start of training camp.

I was with the Charlotte Bobcats for training camp, and in camp with my team in Italy as well. Those two training camps were similar, and itís going to be interesting to see how this one will compare once Iím done. My two previous training camps were a lot of conditioning and running, with the coaches getting a feel of what the players can do, and the players getting a feel for what the coach wants. Training camps are fun because you get to bond with your teammates and get to know them for who they are as people. Gaining relationships are a plus in life, and the friendships I have gained over the years thru basketball will last me a lifetime.

Since I was cut by the Charlotte Bobcats, Iíve been back in Las Vegas spending time with my family and working out. I'm excited to meet the crop of players that the team drafted, and get ready for the season to start on November 20 so we can see where we compete in the league. You can follow me and check up on me and see how I'm doing and how the team is doing at nba.com/dleague/riograndevalley.

So for now I'm off to McAllen, Texas to begin training camp and continue my quest to get to the NBA, which I believe will happen soon. So wish me luck and continue to read my blog at http://www.draftexpress.com/blogs.php?blogid=14 and send me feedback.

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