Alright so now its twice in a row that I'm recapping a single night of basketball. And for good reason. I cannot emphasize enough (because I do all the time), how cool it is as a fan to be able to interact personally with players who so directly impact my day to day happiness. Sounds like a stretch? It's not. Losing hits fans hard. Maybe not as hard as the players who actually influenced the outcome, but it's not a good feeling regardless. This can manifest in several ways. Physical sickness (my go-to). Anger (FIRE THE COACH BLAH BLAH). Disappointment (How could they do that to us!). Optimism (We'll get em next time!), and so on and so forth. Everyone deals differently, but at the end of the day, all of that is dictated by the play of those on the court/field.
So why does that all matter? Because summer league affords fans (like me) the opportunity to engage. To wit:
Talked to Keith Shamburger for the first time last night. He was there to support his UH teammates but remains uncertain about whether he's going to play for his summer league team any more. Apparently there was some…discontent about Keith's PT from some of the other players (are you effing kidding me??) and so he might just sit out the remainder of the league. Which is spectacularly unfair. In truth, as much as summer league is about helping these guys stay in shape, it's also evolved into a showcase for building hype for the upcoming UH season. Why deprive us of that? Anyway Keith was a fantastic conversationalist. Friendly and candid and, summer league trepidations aside, SUPER excited for next years team (aka NCAA's or bust!).
Also ran into the recently-departed WR Trevor Davis. I saw him and had a mild heart-attack that maybe he'd changed his mind about transferring and decided to come back. But sadly that is not the case. After deciding between Wisconsin and Cal (and ultimately choosing Cal) he's just back in Hawaii for a few weeks training with Chad Ikei (along with Manti Teo and some other guys.) As a redshirt, he can't actually participate in team activities until late August. Trevor was always one of the most articulate and approachable guys on the team, and even now that he's gone, he still is that way. He came out to watch Quincy Smith, a fellow bay-area native (who, by the way, absolutely dominated, scoring 41 points) and was happy to talk shop with me. At the end of the day, he transferred because he felt like that's what he needed to do for both himself, and his family. And Cal is a great school to boot. Wish him well!
Finally, I spoke briefly with Negus after the game. He was visibly disturbed and stated his…displeasure with Quincy scoring so much. Not because he wasn't happy for his future teammate, but because of the WAY that Quincy scored (mostly layups near the basket after breaking down his defender). He felt like if he was allowed to guard him, Quincy wouldn't have scored nearly that much. He then told me that all he wanted to do after the game, was hit the gym again; to work out some of his frustration on the court (for a fantastic breakdown of the games themselves, peep Dayton Morinaga's recap on Warrior Insider here.) And that attitude, I think, speaks for itself. Living, breathing, eating, sleeping basketball. That's a culture/program changing mentality, and ALL of these guys seem to have it. Negus has been incredibly impressive in the two games that I've seen (100000% justifying the hype) and he isn't even playing next season. NCAA transfer rules prevent it. So the core of Quincy, Sham, Nevels, Spear, Fotu, Dressler and maybe Michael Thomas (haven't seen him yet) which ALREADY looks amazing for 2013…will ALL be back in 2014 (save Spear who graduates) when Negus becomes eligible to play. The next two years (at least) will be amazing.