Use even the most tangential connection to share an anecdote, John Bagley stories preferred

reggiecleveland

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I shared this story with Chad Finn while arguing about a different matter. He quite liked it.

So here it goes.
I was practice squad guy with an NBA affiliate summer league in the early 90s. The league abandoned its Canadian content rule before the season started or I probably play a bit, but this is about John Bagley, not me.

All these guys had been to NBA camps, most had at least preseaon NBA expereince, and all had hopes of returning. The reason to have extra guys like me around was guys were getting flown in to NBA teams for workouts, and the league existed as a place for NBA teams to scout. So these guys were always talking about the NBA. Many, many conversations revolved around how good NBA guys really were. Guys who had played against legends certainly shared their stories, Bird playing left handed until the rookies camp guys were cut loose, etc. But, most of the the talk was about guys who did not deserve to be in teh league guys that were "trash." Guys were always hoping to get calls to teams with a need. For example the shooting guard who got a bulls workout, hoped it would open eyes, but, yeah the Bulls had good players at 2. So Joh Bagley was near the end of his NBa career withj the Cs. He was the bashed endlessly. He was short, fat, slow, not a shooter, and only on the Cs because he went to Boston College, etc. We would watch games in the lockerroom, or a guys houses, and Bagley always got catcalls "fat bitch" "club foot midget" were among the cleaner more PC things said.

One guy who had played against Bagley said the most sought after adjective, Bagley was "tough". "Y'all never played the man, Bagley's tough." He would shake his head and walk out.

So one of the best guys is having a great summer and he gets the call, Celtics workout. He is being treated like he won the lottery. Some of the less sensible guys were talking about which car to buy, and that he should dump his current girlfriend and get an NBA sweety. The player, was not one of the best in the league by being an idiot, was stoic and focused. he had worked a long time for this chance. But the guys were mostly just happy for a guy a with such a great opportunity. He left amid promises to kick Bagley's ass. While he was gone guys were joking they were going to pool their money and buy John Bagley's house. They knew I was a Sox, Celtics fan, and suggested I pitch in go watch games in the summer.

Three days later the guy comes back.

“Yo was Bagley there?”

‘Yes Mr. Bagley was there.”

“Did you kick his fat little ass?”

“Mr. Bagley played very well.”

“What’s this Mr. Bagley shit?”

“When a man kicks your ass that badly, you pay respect, and call him mister.”
 

reggiecleveland

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Was told that I told that one before. This is 2nd hand maybe, a fib.

SABONIS dad was a beast maybe too ten player all time IMHO.

Anyway international hoops, ussr, like all teams high school to nba, were fucking around dunking, shooting from half court game day shoot. French coach thought they went over time was hot yelling at them to get off floor. Arvydas shoes unlaced is walking across the floor, grabs the rim and breaks it off. Other version he breaks the board.
 

reggiecleveland

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Yes, Arvidas was the father. Played his peak years for the USSR in the 80s.

To guys that played international ball in the 80s he is a legend.

Just an idea how much bigger pops was/is than the current NBA players
39308
 
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reggiecleveland

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So I have a few good hoops stories spending my life in western Canada.I am hoping to hear stories you guys experienced. Dave Cowens beat up your uncle, Patrick Ewing dunked on you in high school, etc.
 
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mwonow

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I didn't experience this one, but heard it plenty from my dad.

My Uncle Bud was playing a game against a team that included Bob Cousy. Running downcourt after a change in possession, Cooz approaches my uncle and says something like "if you get in my way again, fat boy, I'll step on (or walk on?) your face."

And Cooz always seemed so nice!
 

bigq

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I like the Bagley story. He was supposed to be the replacement for DJ but it never quite worked. I was thrilled when the Celtics drafted Dee Brown because he was an exciting young replacement for Bagley. It turned out that Brown was not much of a PG and Sherman Douglas was better in that role however the Celtics were not very good by that time. Anyway, I can imagine how Bagley was perceived as not very good but in fact NBA talent in the 90s, as it is today, was a different ballgame relative to summer league play.
 

Kliq

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When Sabonis finally came over to the NBA his knee were shot but was still a very good player. I think in his prime he would be kind of like Jokic today, but bigger and a better athlete, so maybe like some sort of Jokic/Shaq combo. Sabonis played pretty reasonable defense against Shaq when Shaq was demolishing everyone in his prime and Sabonis was at the end of the line. Sabonis on the Drexler-era Trail Blazers that went to two Finals would have been fascinating.
 

reggiecleveland

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Sabonis is Basketball Satchel Paige. A possible GOAT who never got a chance to play the best at his best.

A buddy of mine was on Team Canada and said around 85, 86 guys were drinking after the USA won by 2 over USSR. Armen Gilliam did some harmless feat of strength, not sure lift a bar table with one hand. Guys from other team started lifting shit, it was getting a bit out of hand. Canada had some big dudes and in 80s FIBA were a bit of a hockey mentality with lots of wide bodies. My friend on the team is was 6'9 260 and ridiculously strong, lift wheels of small cars off the ground, etc. He was telling this story shaking his head. At some point Sabonis arrived, was summoned, or decided to stand up. Looking around the bar or wherever they were he decided to go outside. Their was a mailbox and some guy maybe from argentina lifted it, like strong man contest, bear hug, braced on his knees, got it off the ground. Guys are begging off, looks dangerous. Guys are drinking but are all pros, not about to risk career, and humiliation by attempting this stunt. Sabonis goes over. puts one hand under it squats down lifts it easily, turns it sideways, looks like he is considering pressing it overhead, fakes like he is going to throw it the guys then gentle sets it down, said "It is over" like the terminator.

My same huge buddy was a young guy at the time, but said once he scored a couple times on future Atlanta Hawk Alexander Volkov. Sabonis switched checks, said to him "no more." My buddy said everyone thought he was doing a fake a Terminator/soviet James Bond villain voice until they talked to him a bit and realized this was his just his voice.

FWIW at the time none of the international players thought David Robinson was as good as Sabonis. Sobonis was bigger, much stronger, able to get way above the rim, comparable to the Admirable, but much tougher, and most of all just an incredible feel for the game. This guy was breaking boards, blocking everyone's shots, and still above all his passing stood out.
 
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reggiecleveland

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Interesting story about Sabonis prior to being in the NBA. He was getting rehab from the Trailblazers prior to the Olympics and John Thompson was a little upset.

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1988-06-10-sp-5242-story.html
The olympics that lead to the Dream Team. A better coach for the FIBA game the USA probably still wins and maybe no dream team. Thompson wanted to do pressure defence like Georgetown and thought he could blow out European teams. Some team Canada coaches I spoke to, said Thompson dismissed reports that the Soviets with Marčiulionis and Yugoslavia with Petrovic would shred man to man pressure and that both teams had big guys (Sabonis, Volkov, Divacs, Rada) of NBA quality. The Soviets and the USSR had beaten the USA in the goodwill games and various international competition the previous years, but Thompson thought it was the fault of previous coaches.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntVvn-H98tk

At 1:38 Sabonis blocks Robinson.
1:54 Šarūnas Marčiulionis, who would be the first Soviet athlete to play in the North American pro leagues, throws down a dunk to make the lead 9 late in 2nd half,
at 2:10 you see how poorly coached the USA players were for FIBA rules. Rather than shooting bonus, at that time, you were allowed to take the ball out of bounds. The USSR gets a layup rather than shoot the FTs. Talking to guys that were there, Thompson had no idea this was allowed and his guys were expecting Fts.
 

Kliq

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The olympics that lead to the Dream Team. A better coach for the FIBA game the USA probably still wins and maybe no dream team. Thompson wanted to do pressure defence like Georgetown and thought he could blow out European teams. Some team Canada coaches I spoke to, said Thompson dismissed reports that the Soviets with Marčiulionis and Yugoslavia with Petrovic would shred man to man pressure and that both teams had big guys (Sabonis, Volkov, Divacs, Rada) of NBA quality. The Soviets and the USSR had beaten the USA in the goodwill games and various international competition the previous years, but Thompson thought it was the fault of previous coaches.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntVvn-H98tk

At 1:38 Sabonis blocks Robinson.
1:54 Šarūnas Marčiulionis, who would be the first Soviet athlete to play in the North American pro leagues, throws down a dunk to make the lead 9 late in 2nd half,
at 2:10 you see how poorly coached the USA players were for FIBA rules. Rather than shooting bonus, at that time, you were allowed to take the ball out of bounds. The USSR gets a layup rather than shoot the FTs. Talking to guys that were there, Thompson had no idea this was allowed and his guys were expecting Fts.
Part of this was a confirmation on just how archaic the college basketball game had become. The shot clock had only been in use for a few years and the three point line had only been introduced in the 86-87 season. You could win in college with a grind-it-out, defense-first game with teams scoring in the 50s. The NCAA had become this ancient brand of basketball that the rest of the world had evolved beyond. Thompson's team actually had some guys (Dan Marjele, Hersey Hawkins) who would be good 3-point shooters in the NBA, and Hawkins actually was shooting 7 threes a game his Senior year at Bradley, but for the most part the entire system was about playing pressure defense and pounding the ball inside. By pressing, they played right into the experienced USSR hands, particularly with a player like Sabonis who was great against the press because he was so big you couldn't deny him the ball, and he would always make the right pass quickly.
 

reggiecleveland

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Part of this was a confirmation on just how archaic the college basketball game had become. The shot clock had only been in use for a few years and the three point line had only been introduced in the 86-87 season. You could win in college with a grind-it-out, defense-first game with teams scoring in the 50s. The NCAA had become this ancient brand of basketball that the rest of the world had evolved beyond. Thompson's team actually had some guys (Dan Marjele, Hersey Hawkins) who would be good 3-point shooters in the NBA, and Hawkins actually was shooting 7 threes a game his Senior year at Bradley, but for the most part the entire system was about playing pressure defense and pounding the ball inside. By pressing, they played right into the experienced USSR hands, particularly with a player like Sabonis who was great against the press because he was so big you couldn't deny him the ball, and he would always make the right pass quickly.
Well said.
When my kid went to play at the Gonzaga team camp summer of 2019, with a group of kids that had only played FIBA (24 second clock, 7 seconds to get it over half, either no ref handle or quick handle in the back court) against USA high school kids that would take 8,9 seconds to get the ball over half then hold the ball up to 45 seconds even a minute (when ahead) I was reminded of the old NCAA style.
 

Humphrey

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When Thompson hired Mary Fenlon as an assistant Olympic coach, you knew he was clueless about that level.
 

Eagle3

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When Sabonis finally came over to the NBA his knee were shot but was still a very good player. I think in his prime he would be kind of like Jokic today, but bigger and a better athlete, so maybe like some sort of Jokic/Shaq combo. Sabonis played pretty reasonable defense against Shaq when Shaq was demolishing everyone in his prime and Sabonis was at the end of the line. Sabonis on the Drexler-era Trail Blazers that went to two Finals would have been fascinating.
To me Sabonis was the Russian version of Bill Walton, right down to the bad wheels. Except bigger, and he could shoot the 3.
 

nighthob

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To me Sabonis was the Russian version of Bill Walton, right down to the bad wheels. Except bigger, and he could shoot the 3.
It’s the Portland curse, any big man drafted by them is doomed. Heck, Sabonis tried to dodge it by staying in Europe and the curse hunted him down and blew up his knee.
 

Buster Olney the Lonely

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I remember reading Pete Vescey’s column in the Post back in the mid-80s. He would routinely talk up Sabonis the Elder pre-Portland of course. And the Walton comparisons were made there too. Hard to imagine that time where there was almost zero visibility into this player.

Thanks for the Bagley stories, Reggie. He was one of those guys who flat out did not resemble an athlete in any way. Totally makes sense to me.
 

The Gray Eagle

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It always seemed to me that after Georgetown lost in the finals to Villanova, who shot like 75% or whatever it was, Thompson went all in on defense, and was determined to never lose like that again. Seemed like he focused mostly on signing shotblockers and quick, pressing defenders.
He never got back to the Final 4 either.

Edit: he was always a coach who wanted a tough, physical defense, but it seemed like he went even more in that direction after the Villanova loss.
 

Tangled Up In Red

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That Nova upset could have only happened with the old college rules. Last game ever played without a shot clock.
It may have influenced JT, but the rules changed so considerably... I can't imagine it influenced him that much (other than battle scars).
Mutombo and Mourning were legitimately great college Centers (offense/defense/regardless). Reggie Williams, David Wingate were great 2 way wings. I dunno, maybe I'm arguing your point.

edit: battle scars, not cars
 
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mwonow

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O/T, but maybe not in this thread - a buddy of mine as a TA at Georgetown and had Mutombo in a class. Said he was very bright and engaged as a student, which is probably something that isn't common to all really talented NCAA athletes.
 

Bread of Yaz

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O/T, but maybe not in this thread - a buddy of mine as a TA at Georgetown and had Mutombo in a class. Said he was very bright and engaged as a student, which is probably something that isn't common to all really talented NCAA athletes.
True dat.

Was in a class at GU with Eric Sleepy Floyd. Came to maybe 20% of them, and never had to give a required fifteen minute speech to the class at the end of the semester.

Dated a girl whose roommate dated Craig Shelton. He gave her a card for her birthday and signed it "Craig Shelton."
 

terrynever

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We had a high school hoops coach in Pawtucket who was a physical fitness nut and learned how to condition his players from top college trainers. Vern Gaskin, from Bridgeport, CT. He knew Bagley from that CT connection and when Bags signed with the Celtics, Gaskin whipped him into great shape. Bagley spent a lot of time with Vern, who coached the Davies Vocational team. Vern was short and stocky, just like Bags, but body shape can be misleading. Bags was so strong. I imagine he tortured Reggie Cleveland’s friend.
Gaskin was a helluva coach. He preferred having just seven or eight players in uniform. One season, he went with six. His theory was you played hard on defense and rested on offense. Nobody wanted to play Davies, and his kids rarely fouled out. Vern died a couple years ago. Reading these great stories, I am reminded of him.
 

HomeRunBaker

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O/T, but maybe not in this thread - a buddy of mine as a TA at Georgetown and had Mutombo in a class. Said he was very bright and engaged as a student, which is probably something that isn't common to all really talented NCAA athletes.
I’ll add my Bagley, Laimbeer, Dickie V, Huggins, etc stories when I have more time but the mention of Dikembe brought me back to a moment.

I’m out in Vegas with TonyJalePena (Rocco happened to be out there on same trip), I think Dave Stapleton was there too on this one, in around oh 2004(?) when me and TJP find a 24-hr breakfast place open at Tropicana around 4am. We had been playing poker all night but Dikembe, his boy, and (pardon the lack of PC but need to describe) two short, pale white, overweight women clearly had many cocktails as they meandered past us down an empty hallway. One of us may or may not have stood up and waved our right index finger at him.

Unrelated to DM but on way out a bunch of drunk guys physically moved one of the tall statutes in the Tropicana hallway.......and about 30 cockroaches, each 4x larger than any cockroach I’ve ever seen, all scattered quickly throughout the casino. Good times.
 
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reggiecleveland

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We had a high school hoops coach in Pawtucket who was a physical fitness nut and learned how to condition his players from top college trainers. Vern Gaskin, from Bridgeport, CT. He knew Bagley from that CT connection and when Bags signed with the Celtics, Gaskin whipped him into great shape. Bagley spent a lot of time with Vern, who coached the Davies Vocational team. Vern was short and stocky, just like Bags, but body shape can be misleading. Bags was so strong. I imagine he tortured Reggie Cleveland’s friend.
Gaskin was a helluva coach. He preferred having just seven or eight players in uniform. One season, he went with six. His theory was you played hard on defense and rested on offense. Nobody wanted to play Davies, and his kids rarely fouled out. Vern died a couple years ago. Reading these great stories, I am reminded of him.
The detail he gave was that Bagley scored on him every single time. Went by him both left and right, and picked him. Bagley was just so quick. This was the handcheck era so strength was huge deal. I learned when evaluating guards more than forwards you have to see them play against each other. Someimes one guy can't beat the other guy off the dribble, and its a bloodbath.
 

HomeRunBaker

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The detail he gave was that Bagley scored on him every single time. Went by him both left and right, and picked him. Bagley was just so quick. This was the handcheck era so strength was huge deal. I learned when evaluating guards more than forwards you have to see them play against each other. Someimes one guy can't beat the other guy off the dribble, and its a bloodbath.
Yes, Bagley was a beast load and was so deceptive as he lulls his opponent prior to attacking. Such a brilliant player. My experience with him consisted of two trips up the floor in a summer league tournament.

Plot setup: The game prior I had watched from the bench as Wes Matthews, one of the fastest PG to ever play the game, blew past whoever attempted to guard him and for one of the only times I can recall in my life I was praying for our PG not to get injured or foul out as I wanted nothing to do with the court that night. I got some 1H minutes off the ball and avoided Wes.

So I enter the game mid-1H against Bagley’s team and one trip he defending me. Unlike the night before I’m not petrified at all as his looks don’t scare you in any way. He didn’t challenge my handle or apply anything more than token pressure so when I got matched up against him on the other end a couple trips later it wasn’t a big deal.......until they cleared out a side, Bags took two back down dribbles while taking his ass, which was larger than my entire lower body, and sending me careening out of bounds as I wasn’t able to maintain position while casually laying the ball in for two. That was the last we saw of the Bagley matchup.
 

reggiecleveland

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In a different situation, after he had come down, not on the way up, I matched up with Keith Smart on the right wing. I had seen his famous game winner vs Syracuse about 100 times, left wing, one dribble left pull. I ended up on him on the left wing, and told myself if he does anything but a one dribble left pull I am screwed, but I am not getting burned on his signature move. Keith Smart in reality is less than 6 feet tall, but really jumped great. I am 6'4 and at that time I jumped pretty well, (even damn white boy! at times) anyway he went left I sold out and loaded up to block him (again if he kept going to the hoop I was screwed) and he pulled up, and I almost blocked it, he missed. I maintain if you have a time machine and sub me into the bottom of the Syracuse 23 zone for that instant, since I know what he is going to do, Syracuse wins.

At half time the coach said, 'Way to go Reggie, when you get a mismatch with a guy way quicker than you, you need to guess. Reggie knew he could, play Smart straight up, but he knew (shotblocker) was behind him (I didn't) so he guess left and made a play. 'Now let's look at our coverages so Reggie never ends up on Keith Smart ever again.'

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45ZWnRRRDNU
 

jmcc5400

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They really are. As someone who loved college hoops in the 1980s, especially the Davis-Williams era BC teams that always seemed to make the Sweet 16, these are just great. Got any Michael Adams stories? John Garris? Jay Murphy? I'm all ears.
 

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I think this is the most entertaining thread on SOSH right now. Love the Bagley and Sabonis stories.
 

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I have a Michael Adams story - well, not so much a story as an experience. Played him in High School when he was at Hartford Public. I have two inches on him and was pretty quick in my day. But he torched me and our entire team. Ran all over, around and under us. I know someone mentioned Wes Matthews (another CT HS legend) as the fastest point guard ever. But no one was faster than Adams. He had a terrible looking shot, but he got 44 against us, pre-3PT shot. I think I got whiplash watching him go by me so much.
 

terrynever

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They really are. As someone who loved college hoops in the 1980s, especially the Davis-Williams era BC teams that always seemed to make the Sweet 16, these are just great. Got any Michael Adams stories? John Garris? Jay Murphy? I'm all ears.
Is the modern game as nuanced as it was in the 1980s? Where would Bagley fit in today’s game? Is he Fred VanVleet?
 

Eagle3

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I have a Michael Adams story - well, not so much a story as an experience. Played him in High School when he was at Hartford Public. I have two inches on him and was pretty quick in my day. But he torched me and our entire team. Ran all over, around and under us. I know someone mentioned Wes Matthews (another CT HS legend) as the fastest point guard ever. But no one was faster than Adams. He had a terrible looking shot, but he got 44 against us, pre-3PT shot. I think I got whiplash watching him go by me so much.
I got to watch Michael Adams for 3 of his 4 years at BC. Those games were fun to watch. I'm not sure he was the fastest guy on the team though. A kid named Dominic Pressley may have been faster. Poor Dominic was a horrendous shooter for a D1 player though.

I would put Rocket Rod Foster in the "fastest PG from Connecticut" mix. Saw him play against my hometown HS team when he was a senior, I think it was 1979. Nobody even came close to being able to guard him. He scored over 50 and didnt play much in the second half since it was a blowout.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I got to watch Michael Adams for 3 of his 4 years at BC. Those games were fun to watch. I'm not sure he was the fastest guy on the team though. A kid named Dominic Pressley may have been faster. Poor Dominic was a horrendous shooter for a D1 player though.

I would put Rocket Rod Foster in the "fastest PG from Connecticut" mix. Saw him play against my hometown HS team when he was a senior, I think it was 1979. Nobody even came close to being able to guard him. He scored over 50 and didnt play much in the second half since it was a blowout.
I have said for awhile that the two fastest NCAA players I’ve ever seen were Foster and Ish Smith. He had some horrific leg injury similar to Jay Williams that cut his NBA career short iirc.
 

reggiecleveland

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This is not about an NBA guy but a guy named Willy Bland. Google him, quite a character. I was property of Vancouver in 1988 in the ill fated 6'4 and under league. It was a circus and the a new coach came in, and I got the sense he did not want me because he cancelled my flight on me twice. I phoned a college coach out there and he told me "stay away" and even though this seemed like the best chance for me to keep playing I did. Read link below.

Anyway the next year I got to play in the same league, and Willie Bland gets picked up by the team we were about to play. The guys on my team are worried. (this has very bad words, sorry) Another Canadian asked, 'Is WIllie Bland any good?" Our teammates snapped, "Good? He'll dunk on you with his left hand, rip your dick off with his right hand, all while fucking you up the ass!!!!!" My Canadian teammate deadpanned (maybe the funniest basketball moment of my life) "I wouldn't like that!" As if on cue, there is swearing in the corridor outside the lockeroom. "It's Willie" whispers a terrified guy on my team, and locks the door in slow motion. Soon there are many swearing voices, and the sound of trash cans, tables tipping over. We sit in silence, like the extras in horror movie. After it dies down, the head coach knocks frantically on the door, "For fuck sakes let me in!!!!" Coach was a Pat Riley wannabe, but his suit was all messed up, tie sideways, clearly he had been part of the scuffle. He walked over to the whiteboard where the starters and matchups were written, and erased Willie Bland's name. Willie had been banned from the league before playing a game. Coach who had not been in the room earlier said, "That's good he woulda ripped somebody's dick off" and I started wondering if he maybe had at least attempted said act.

Disclaimer: WIllie if you are reading this. I never saw you do anything bad and am only repeating what I was told. I heard you were a very good player, in fact a coach I really respected said you were the best guy he knew to not play in the nba, and you got a raw deal.

https://globalnews.ca/news/4258127/vancouver-nighthawks-history/
During halftime of a home game at B.C. Place, Patterson got into a heated argument with teammate Willie Bland.


“Andre started chirping at Willie,” Langley said. “Andre wanted the ball and he wasn’t getting it and he was blaming Willie so they were yapping at each other all the way down the tunnel. They were ahead of me and by the time I got there, I turned the corner and they were squared off, throwing punches.


“Willie picked up a chair and knocked Andre down. It was one of those B.C. Place chairs that was metal, heavy metal. He picked it up and whacked him right across the back with it.
 

Kliq

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I have told this story before, but when I was a freshman I went to football game between Waltham and Everett. This was the freshman football team as I had a bunch of friends on the (Waltham) team. At the game I saw a kid on the Everett team who was probably about 6'9" and 125 lbs, and I'm not exaggerating. Mind you it was a freshman team so I knew this kid had to be 14/15 years old. So he basically just stood on the sideline for the entire game as Everett beat our brains in. At one point the tall kid got in to return a punt, fielded it, and got immediately tackled at the ankles and flipped head-over-heels. I remember feeling bad because it was clear the kid wasn't any type of athlete.

Flash forward a few months and I was at another high school game, this time varsity basketball game between Waltham and Everett. The tall kid is there and he is actually starting, which was very unusual for a freshman. I remember thinking that he was tall, but he was so skinny and our best players were a couple of big football lineman, one of whom ended up eventually going to camp with the Titans. Anyway the game started and the tall kid just annihilated us. It was like watching Rudy Gobert play a bunch of middle schoolers; posterizing multiple players, blocking a dozen shots, scoring at will, it was unbelievable. Turns out the tall kid was named Nerlens Noel, and after his sophomore season at Everett he went to Tilton for two years and graduated as the #1 recruit in the country.
 

kfoss99

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This is second hand. I've become friends with someone who was a top 10 high school prospect in Pennsylvania. He went to Clifford Ray's big man camp, but blew out his knee before his college career could even start. At the same time Kobe Bryant was the #1 prospect.

He said Kobe was so good that he turned the game into a dunk contest. Literally, people would shout out dunks from the crowd and he'd perform them.

This guy's pretty good in his 40s and a bum knee. I'm terrible, but got consecutive Dirk fadeaways to fall against him playing 1 on 1. I've never made a shot against him since.
 

reggiecleveland

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I have told this story before, but when I was a freshman I went to football game between Waltham and Everett. This was the freshman football team as I had a bunch of friends on the (Waltham) team. At the game I saw a kid on the Everett team who was probably about 6'9" and 125 lbs, and I'm not exaggerating. Mind you it was a freshman team so I knew this kid had to be 14/15 years old. So he basically just stood on the sideline for the entire game as Everett beat our brains in. At one point the tall kid got in to return a punt, fielded it, and got immediately tackled at the ankles and flipped head-over-heels. I remember feeling bad because it was clear the kid wasn't any type of athlete.
As a hoops guy, a skinny hoops prodigy returning a punt scares the crap out of me.
 

Jim Ed Rice in HOF

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As a hoops guy, a skinny hoops prodigy returning a punt scares the crap out of me.
I can't believe no one put an end to his football playing, even as young as a freshman. I'm sure he was already known given how young these guys get discovered.

Speaking of football/basketball crossovers, back in the 80's I went to a NH prep school with a kid from Lowell (Scott Stapleton). He ended up going D1 to Richmond but in high school he also played on the football team as a wide receiver. He AVERAGED slightly below 50 yards per catch. Granted New England prep football isn't in the same category as basketball but he was 6'4", could jump and was pretty fast so the QB could just hurl it up there and let him go get it. He wanted to be a two sport in college but the Spiders weren't as cooperating.
 

HomeRunBaker

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As a hoops guy, a skinny hoops prodigy returning a punt scares the crap out of me.
It’s things like this that force parents to become overly involved. Like how do you trust a coach who puts Noel.......wait a minute!!! WTF is Noel doing on a football team to begin with???
 

Kliq

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The story with Noel is that both his older brothers were Everett legends and at Everett High football was so big that anyone that could play did play. So there was some obligation for him to play at least at first. No idea if he played his sophomore year or not.

Willie Cauley-Stein was a good WR in high school.

View: https://youtu.be/VjNZtUGl4Ko
 

nighthob

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Man, it's a pity he didn't stick with football. Imagine Brady having a quick, 7' 240lb receiver to throw to.
 

reggiecleveland

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This brings me to my theory that others, Lebron (football) Elway (baseball) could have done what Bo Jackson did, but he proved why they didn't because he got hurt.