I’ve got to admit, this is the one time I could have broken news before Chris Forsberg. I’ve been playing pickup basketball with some kids who play for my old high school team, and one of them was stuttering a couple weeks ago: “I… I… I just p-p-played p-p-pickup with P-P-Paul H-H-Harris.”
I responded, “Okay, now calm down. He’s not THAT good. You don’t have to stutter like you just saw Michael Jordan. I mean, you’re blessed with ’the privilege’ of playing pickup against me twice a week and I haven’t seen you go gaga like that yet.”
The kid took three (very) deep breaths, took himself down a couple notches, and started speaking regular English.
“I just played against Paul Harris, man,” he said. “He’s been working out at L.A. Fitness for weeks now. He signed with the Red Claws.”
I nodded, replied “oh, I see,” and wondered to myself, why in the world did seeing Paul Harris, of all people, make this kid drool? Then I remembered myself in high school, the one time I played pickup basketball against someone noteworthy. And I use the word “noteworthy” loosely.
Long story short, Kenyon Martin’s half brother Richard Roby (or at least someone who claimed to be Kenyon Martin’s half brother Richard Roby, and I can’t imagine anyone who isn’t Roby would do that) came to my local park. We played a couple games. He was playing at Colorado at the time and was considered a first-round prospect, so he was pretty damn good. Good enough to murder me, at least. But I finished playing the games, walked home, and immediately called everyone I knew.
“Guess what I did today?”
“Played basketball against Richardy Roby at Bliss Park!”
“Who the hell is Richard Roby?”
Anyway, I remembered why this kid was so hyped about playing Paul Harris. As for the Red Claws? Lasme could be a Celtic within a month, whenever the Celtics get rid of Von Wafer. (I kid, I kid… but seriously.) Harris and Tiny Gallon are both intriguing prospects for the future. Harris is only a 6’2″ (or so) bruiser with limited guard skills, but he’s tough and super-athletic. And Gallon has a lot of talent, to go with his soft shooting touch in a big man’s body. If he can work himself into good shape, Gallon could become a real player.
I don’t see Mario West as a future Celtics call-up (even though I’d hate to have him defend me), and I know very little about Lamonte Ulmer (6’6″, 215-lb. wing from URI; averaged 12.1 ppg and 7.4 rpg in senior season) or Jamar Smith (6’3″ shooting guard from the University of Southern Indiana; D2 Player of the Year by at least one publication, averaging 21.6 ppg).
But damn it!, I could have broken news before Chris Forsberg. If only my stuttering, salivating source had been a little more reliable.