Jerome’s diary entry #3: Gametime!

Today I was ready to get tested. We have had our first pre season game in Nördlingen. Fortunately it was a very close trip and we were bridgewaterteampicdriving with a couple cars to the game. I was still studying our playbook while we were travelling. We arrived almost two hours before the game, which was very nice, so everybody had enough time for himself to get dressed and get some shots or own drills off. Then we got, about 45 minutes before the game, back to the locker room.
Mike Taylor was introducing us the keys to success for today’s game and what we have to do and what we have to be good at to win our first game.
Then we did something what really surprised me for a second. Mike told us to come together for a prayer. So we huddled up and we or Mike started praying. The last time I was doing that was more than two years ago, while I was playing High School basketball in the states. I was really missing it. It is very hard to describe and to explain. What it is able to do with an individual and team. I do not know the right words now. It is just great to come together as a team and do things like that. It increases the team chemistry. I felt very warm and comfortable while we were praying. Surrounded by giants, which will protect me and help me up, when I am falling down.
After the prayer, we went out and did run our pre game warm-up. I felt very comfortable with my Jumpshot and everybody else did. I didn’t know that Lee Humphrey is able to dunk. It didn’t even seem hard for him.

Let’s talk about the game. I guess that 500 people were attending the game. We were starting with Kevin Kanaskie at the point guard position, Lee Humphrey and Roderick Trice on the wing and Christian Burns and Coleman Collins in the post. We have had a very rough start and were struggling athe first 4 minutes of the game. You could tell that this was our first game as a team.

Nördlingen couldn`t take advantage of it. They made some 3-point shots, but that was about it. The refs were very hard on Christian (Burns) and he had to sit down early with two fouls. Nemanja Kekic checked in for him and made a incredibly good job. Cole (Coleman Collins), Rocky (Roderick Trice) and Lee (Humphrey) were taking over the game offensively then and we could make a little run and were able taking the lead.

Mike told me to get ready. After a minute he told me to get Rocky. It was in the 2nd quarter 8 minutes to play. I expected some signs of nervousness. But there were none. I had to guard their 3-man Michael. Which I thought was very easy, because he was in my eyes a pure three point shooter. He faked me out two times thou and I jumped into the stratosphere. Offensively it is very hard to execute a play, because the gym is very loud and you won`t hear your PG. So you have to be focused every single second. I thought I was playing well in the first half. Made my first basket on a left hand drive and finished with a little bit traffic. Have had a turnover thou and got lost one time in our defensive rotation and they made a three pointer out of it. I left the floor a couple minutes before half time.

Nördlingen was able to go into the locker room with a 3-point lead. We were able to come back strong in the second half and have had a comfortable 10-point lead after a couple minutes. Cole has had a good game and finished the game with 22 points. But we were struggling on the glass big time. They outrebounded us 38-26 and were able to grab 16 offensive rebounds. We will get better thou.

I checked in at the end of the third quarter. Maybe I got too confident after the first half, but I really threw the ball away two times. And one time I was very lucky that I didn`t lost the ball. Nördlingen was able to cut lead into single digits. Rocky checked in for me with six minutes to go. But Rocky, Lee and Cole were able to give us a 17-point lead back. Mike subbed all young players in with two minutes to go.

Mike was drawing a play for me in the timeout before we got subbed in. That was a weird feeling. The first time a coach was drawing for me something. I really felt honoured in that moment, although the game was already won. I wanted to do the best out of it. But Jerome is Jerome. I got a charge call for trying to get open. What else.

Next possession running the same play, I got fouled while I was trying to get open. Teamfouls! 2 Free Throws. Now I got a little bit nervous. The first shot. I don`t know what I was doing. I just threw the ball away. BRICK!!! Big time! Kevin Kanaskie came to me after the first shot and said “be easy Shaq, be easy”. Luckily I was able to hit the second one.
That was the game 70-61 victory for Ulm. I think it was a good game for us to see were we do have to get better. And we were also missing 4 guys (Günther, Betz, Benzing, Bryant). I was impressed by Kevin (Kanaskie). He did a good job in bringing the ball and controlling the game. And he has had a big 3-pointer which was huge and important at this point.
I was not too happy about how I finished the game. Too many turnovers and jumped too many times on a shot fake. They didn`t really took advantage of it, but it just looks stupid and also unexperienced, if you get faked like that. Oh I forgot. I am unexperienced. Mike also told me that I did well for my first game, and I should not expect from myself to be perfect right from the beginning. Those were wise and very motivating words from him and for tomorrow. My personal goal for tomorrow is to cut down my turnovers when we will face Gmünden at Aalen. Cannot wait for the second test. I will probably meet some people I know. Now I will lie down, maybe watch a movie until I fall asleep. I am very exhausted.

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