I had soccer practice last night with Bryson and couldn’t attend the Pro Am. Bryson’s FC America team dominated the scrimmage, but drew 1-1. In my place on the Posse bench was Kenny Kallina. The following is his report:
The last time I walked into the Smith Center was two years ago as Pedro’s Posse took home the Pro-Am Championship versus Team Tampa. That day Pedro’s Posse did the improbable with a bunch of Division II players beating some guys who flirted with the NBA. Flash forward two years later, Pedro’s Posse which used to be very mom and pop has now become big business sporting 4 NBA players and a point guard who played in the Final Four. While as mom and pop as it was with superior comedy and coaching on the bench two years ago Pedro’s Posse has now become the premier pro-am team in Central Florida and no longer plays the underdog, but now the favorite which puts all the more pressure on Pedro himself Magic Juan Bernal.
As I said it had been a solid two years since I last stepped into the Smith Center to partake in Pro-Am action and I forgot rule number one very early. Around 445 I left my Central Florida residence to head out to see the game which started at 6, unfortunately I forgot this was not some high school game that I was going to lead a pre-game speach and stretching but a pro-am game which meant running on schedule was only being 15 minutes late. Upon somewhat recalling this memory I text Magic Juan Bernal and he told me he would be showing up at 545, alas I had to kill an hour at the outlets. I arrived promptly at 545 to see the Magic one sporting a coaching bag out of the Glad collection holding some balls and jerseys. While this operation has grown its great to see Coach Juan has not forgotten where he started out, the trash ball bag is something that gives the team a down to earth sense about it. As I was pulling in, I had not read the previous blogs (shame on me) and saw Irwin Hudson or as referred to on here Mr. Orlando Hoops. Irwin had deep ties with Lake Howell which had 3 players on the Posse. More surprisingly is what Irwin had in his hand. In the area around the Smith Center you could think of a million things one would need to have to attend a game which let out after 830 PM in West Orlando but what he had could have been the most shocking of all….a coaching dry erase board (a very big one at that maybe one for visually impaired players). Somewhat being stunned by why anyone would need a coaching board in the pro (key word PRO) am I proceeded to go inside and see that Middle Tennessee Director of Operations and in his former life Lake Howell assistant coach and aau coach Mike “Scooter” Scutero was in the house. Scutero also served as our resident shoe guy at Champs in the Fashion Square Mall in high school although very thorough never really hooked us up with any deals. Scutero is big at Lake Howell (The other school in Winter Park) like Hudson.
After making it through the two legends of Central Florida Basketball I also saw Rob Fessler who is the son of the Kim Fessler (AKA the King of Score Keepers & Referees at Disney and CFOA). I knew Rob was doing college women’s ball now so my first statement from across the court to him was “This isnt a women’s game, what are you doing here”. Rob is a one line king so starting off ahead of him was important of course he knew also that I coached women so we were equally shamed in the men’s basketball world. Fessler told me he did 13 SEC women’s games last year which was pretty impressive because prior to that the most impressive thing I saw him do was 13 games in a day at Disney, kudos to him. Neither Rob or Mike Scutero brought a coaching board.
Around 6 (the designated tip off time) about half the players rolled in and the bench area was notified of a shocking development that the game would actually not start on time and would be “about 15 minutes late” because the team from Tampa was going to be late (Obviously they had never driven on I4 ever). As the who’s who started off with the Women’s Guru (Kenny Kallina), O-Hoops Irwin Hudson, Magic Juan, and Mike Scutero the who’s who of the NBA started off trickling in through the door. I knew that Juan had Chandler Parsons on the team and knew he played for the Rockets. In my mind Chandler was the OTHER guy who played with Nick Calathas at Lake Howell and the skinny guy who played at Florida. Well, Parsons is now going to be the guy who’s full time job is playing in the NBA pretty impressive turnaround. Marreese Speights was the second NBA player in the gym, I remember Speights from his days at St Pete Admiral Farragut and later played at Florida. Speights as an NBA player I remembered was people were saying he went to the league too early well he’s 4 years younger then me doing pretty well. Next up was the flash of the group in Glen “Big Baby” Davis. This was interesting I long had seen Davis even recalled him as a kid who I thought should have played football at the college level who played basketball for some reason I couldnt understand now the biggest question in my mind is …. Do I call this guy Big Baby or Glen, I figured it out just dont talk to the guy he’s going to think you’re an idiot either way. Right, got it. Well Davis clearly the comedian of the group, something I certainly can appreciate kept the humor light from the jump addressing Magic Juan as Juan Van Gundy, I couldnt really tell if that was a good or bad thing but any NBA reference to Juan is something he’s going to like, so point for “Big Baby” ehh I mean Glen. Finally I see one “Hot shot” Brock Blanchard in the door way directly across from the bench where I am lounging and I see him clearing the crowd, Brock I have known since his days at Bishop Moore and more importantly as a commissioner at Rollins Camp always is interested in some Kenny Kallina humor and aau stories. While Blanchard was clearing the way he was throwing rose petals on the floor and behind him was Mr. Winter Park (formerly Larry Gergley) Austin Rivers. I felt like when he walked in the gym I would see some makeshift stage where David Stern was about to announce with the 10th pick in the NBA Draft the New Orleans Hornets Select, well you get the idea. Being from Winter Park is somewhat like being from the United States in a foreign country, when in doubt just assume you’re better then everyone else. Austin’s success (and hopefully continued success) allows us fellows from Winter Park to continue to keep that dream alive.
Finally at 624 and several side bets between myself and Mr hot Shot Brock Blanchard on what time we would actually see some basketball the game did actually start. The game was half way interesting between Irwin Hudson and his coaching board (I think I could actually remember in 4 timeouts him actually having something drawn up and attempting to coach these guys) and Juan’s stress like he might actually lose with 4 NBA starters on his team. What was most interesting was the entourage on the bench where Pedro’s Posse takes sideline seating to a new level. Brock is a sharp guy, he has a piece of paper from Rollins with some degree on it to say it and he knew with the NBA draft lottery playing he wasnt going to play so he didnt want to waste a late shower and didnt dress so he was on the bench as a spectator/coach/commentator. Alongside this United Nations like group was sports personality and twitter guru KTA as previously mentioned in this blog. Although KTA had a much much much more important duty was on the back of some napkin Juan found to keep some stats. Its hard to tweet about a post game without stats, kudos Juan thats why this isnt some mom and pop deal anymore. Along with us was Spencer Rivers the heir to the crown currently on the campus of Winter Park. When 3 of your sibblings have been living legends in high school and college there isnt much pressure to over achieve. I have known Spencer for a while dealing with him mainly at Rollins camps and he’s a funny funny guy and gets high marks from me. As a basketball player I dont know because I havnt seen him but I would blindly invest in his future given the opportunity. There was another guy who allegedly was on the team but didnt pass the look test and got the same inference as Brock did about playing time and was well suited to hangout tell some jokes with his USC shirt and chuck taylor shoes on. He did warm up with the team which I decided not to in my sandals but did not play in the game. At half time my former player and currently East Tennessee State starting point guard Shawn Randall (female player) sat on the bench with us and I believe became the first female to occupy a seat on the bench on Pedro’s Posse. We looked for some shoes to get her a basket late but couldnt find any so history in that sense will have to be made later. All in all a pretty entertaining crew on the bench.
On the other team there were some players the two Graham brothers who were at UCF before they had a nice arena and were in Conference USA eventually ended up at Oklahoma State with Sean Sutton (quality guy) and I believe atleast one if not both have spent sometime in the NBA, I will leave the NBA history to the master Mr Juan. Both Graham brothers are from Brandon, Fl south of Tampa. Obviously had never made that 5 PM drive to Orlando on I4. Also on the “Team Tampa” was Chucky Atkins who’s lost a little since his glory days in the NBA but was in a fierce competition with Darius Washington (former Edgewater & memphis player) for who had the baggiest shorts, after some thought I think Chucky won. Atkins was also in discussion for “Best Bull Ever” the best player in USF history. While thats tough to say because no one cares about USF men’s basketball we will give him the baggy shorts title and Best Bull Title in a single day. Along with them was “beard of the day” taking a page out of the James Harden book Chris Warren. Warren played at Dr Phillips and Ole Miss and the buzz around the gym was he was playing “somewhere” in Europe now. He looked “ok” out there certainly could hang on the level but no star.
Shockingly as it happens most often despite constant attempts by Irwin and Juan to coach the NBA players they fended off each attempt to build a quick double digit win get bored in the 3rd quarter to make it somewhat interesting and then win at the end. I guess if you judge results Irwin’s dry erase board worked, kudos.
The play of the game you ask? Well about 745 mother nature made the play of the game when the power went out in a packed Smith Center gym sending both teams to the bench, about 90 seconds passed before Glenn or I mean Big Baby yelled at this lady at the table to play some music. They had religiously been playing “Cashin’ Out” all game honestly I cant recall any other song they played, must have had the single or some type of sponsorship for the game. The lady Glen …. ya Glen was yelling at quickly identified herself as the “trainer” for the event and made it clear that she didnt have some type of dual duty of DJ and Trainer (I guess 8 years of college will certify you to tape an ankle and tell someone they’re hurt but cant jam out, sacrifices people make…..I know the writers of this blog have a heart for trainers). Eventually Glen found out who the DJ was and sure enough they got “Cashin’ out” playing, which made the impending flood through the rear door a minor issue compared to how bad of a dancer Davis was.
Following the game Channel 9 news was there to interview Chandler and Austin, clearly a busy day of news considering they stuck around for 2.5 hours having not gotten the memo that the games NEVER start on time. There is something special about the guy who wears the Jordan shorts and 407 hats to get all these NBA, high school, college “players” and coaches plus the largest coaching dry erase board I have seen in recent memory to this spot on a Tuesday night in the summer. A fun night for all but no rest for the weary as Pedro Magic Juan Van Gundy Klusman Bernal is in search of another Pro-Am Championship.