I spent the last 2 and half hours at Candyland Park in Longwood. Bryson had futsal practice. The futsal court is adjacent to a basketball court and when properly motivated, I have been known to pick up a game. Not tonight.
Tonight I sat on the bleachers and watched Pick Up Tom. He is a white guy about 6′ 2″ and 220 lbs that would not fall anywhere near the description of sculpted. He has a vague swagger and talks easily, almost condescendingly with the crowd. His sense of self-importance natural.
As a player, he has good hands, an above average jump shot for outdoor play and a knack for rebounding. The knack is aided by the fact, regardless of defensive scheme, Pick Up Tom stands in the lane just right of the basket unburdened by the traditional responsibilities of defense such as pressuring the ball or tracking his man. He will on occaision body a post player in his well-defined area or squat and lunge, without actually jumping at a player penetrating the lane. He generously handles the inbounding of the ball and is a slightly above average outlet passer, a sort of homeless man’s Kevin Love.
He does not actually run by any standard. It is rare that Pick Up Tom makes it into the offensive half of the floor more than 25 percent of his team’s possessions. When he does his foray generally stops on the deep wing from whence he will cast up his aforementioned above average jumper for outdoor play, or execute a head fake and charge into the lane for a floater. The mere fact that Pick Up Tom performs this move at a pace quicker than an old man’s walk in the park represents a disorienting change of pace for defenders, and makes it his go to move.
The beauty of all this is that Pick Up Tom will leave the park tonight, like so many others in his “career”, firm in the belief that he is a basketball player.
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