Interesting things happen in Union men’s basketball games that often go unnoticed. Less interesting (but perhaps more entertaining) things happen in intramural games. To help see these games more clearly, three of our writers (Michael Chapman, Caleb Lay and Logan Whaley) put together their thoughts on lower-division intramural action.
That Was… Something by Logan Whaley
Anybody who has watched the game of basketball can probably tell major differences between high school and college ball. College basketball has this pace and tempo that is way different than what you see in a high school game. In high school, you have some guys that may go on to play college basketball, but the majority of high school kids just go on with their life after their playing career is over, unless they play intramural in college.
As I sat down and watched a lower level intramural game Wednesday night, I realized that a high school team would probably beat a lower level intramural team by at least 25.
Since the only thing I am good for is a spot-up shooter on a basketball court, I was asked to coach a lower level intramural team this year. I will admit, some of the game (if you want to call it that) I saw was absolutely horrendous, but it was also cool to see how much fun the guys were having out there. The game went down to the wire, and it didn’t matter if it was an unimportant intramural game or Game 7 of the NBA Finals, there was still the cliche thrill of victory (in my team, of course) and the agony of defeat.
It doesn’t matter how bad the game may be, the competitive spirit I see out on the court will never get old. It’s something that reminds me how much I love the game of basketball.
Uncle Drew stuck in his first act by Caleb Lay
“Uncle Drew and the Nephews” won the lower division basketball championship last year and this year they added several impressive players. They include one of the best upper division players from last year, Adam Reinhard; enrollment counselor and relentless defender Bailey Bell; and former Union baseball player Cooper Thompson.
While they dominated their opponent in the Tuesday game 59-12 there was a problem. The team’s coach/captain/primary deep ball shooter “Uncle” Drew Wells, pharmacy student and Union graduate, struggled in the game scoring 7 points on 10 or 11 shots. Wells is usually a great shooter from deep, an incredibly intelligent player and knows how to anchor the middle of a zone defense.
Wells is recovering from ankle surgery after a flag football injury, so he wasn’t initially going to play in the game so he could save his legs until later in the season. When he realized the game was decided by half, he got in but would not run up and down the court—just to shoot in a game situation.
After a couple minutes of play and clearly being rusty he wanted out so he tried to intentionally foul opponents by grabbing them with both hands and even telling refs he would foul, but they didn’t blow their whistle.
When Kyrie Irving does his “Uncle Drew” thing he is bad for the first 30 seconds—air-balling shots, losing the ball and looking old— but he then turns it on and shows everyone that he’s incredible at putting the round ball through the ring of metal. Drew Wells thinks he has us fooled, but I know he’s just laying in the weeds—waiting to show us all up.
Reinhard’s Return by Caleb Lay
Adam Reinhard, Spring 2016 graduate of Union, suited up for his fifth season of intramural basketball. He works as a nurse, but is allowed to play intramurals at Union because of his recent wedding to a current Union student.
Reinhard declined to comment on getting married just to play basketball again.
Last year, as a senior he was one of the top three upper division players and now he’s playing lower division with last years champions, Uncle Drew and the Nephews. Reinhard’s addition to the team is basically like Kevin Durant signing to play with the Duke Blue Devils. That means he has certain expectations to perform.
The rust showed early in the game as Reinhard struggle to find a groove, but once he did he was unstoppable. He looked like an “earth-bound Clyde the Glide Drexler” according to my roommate. By that I mean Reinhard looked like he was skating out there, pirouetting around opponents as he went coast-to-coast multiple times.
At one point he hit a spin move so mean it looked like he put the opponent in the laundry machine, put it on the super heavy soil setting and let it spin. If I was the ref I would have let Reinhard spin 15 times before calling a travel because his spin was so quick I think I would miss the first 14.
The nephews don’t need Reinhard to win most of their games, but in crunch time during playoff games he’ll be the difference, and a lot of fun to watch as he turns lower division games to All-Star games.
SAE 3 employs “high school” tactics in lower division win by Michael Chapman
SAE’s third team came up with a controversial 38-33 win over the Bad Hombres on Tuesday night, but Hombres’ sophomore center Clark Hubbard didn’t appreciate what he called “really unethical” tactics by his opponents.
With about 7 minutes left in the first half, SAE was on the ropes. Down 18-10 and with both teams looking very frustrated on offense, freshman guard Cal Templeton knew he had to do something to get SAE back in it.
Since the Hombres were in a bit of a cold stretch offensively, Templeton decided to lay in wait near his opponent’s basket while his team was defending on the other end of the floor. The tactic worked, as the Hombres missed four straight times, SAE got the rebound four straight times, and Templeton hit an easy layup four straight times. SAE led 21-20 at halftime. In SAE’s defense, the Hombres never made the necessary adjustments to stop the opportunistic Templeton.
“I just kind of did it,” Templeton said after the game. “I saw that they weren’t back there and I just kind of did it.”
In the second half, the Hombres came out fighting. Guys were in the bleachers trying to save tipped balls, they got seven offensive rebounds on one empty possession, and the Hombre-faithful tried to will their team back in it.
In the end, Templeton’s lay-in-wait strategy combined with long offensive possessions used to milk the clock in the shotclockless intramural game was enough to get SAE the win.
“I just wanted to have a fun game,” a frustrated Hubbard said. “They seemed interested in winning at all costs, employing high school tactics instead of playing the game.”
Bailey Bell: Enrollment counselor or Steve Nash’s nephew-twice removed? by Caleb Lay
Drew Wells, captain of Uncle Drew and the Nephews, told me in January that he wanted Union enrollment counselor Bailey Bell for his “incredible endurance” and ability to hound opponents into turnovers.
What I didn’t expect was for Bell to do a Steve Nash impression. Bell would snag loose and unloose balls on defense and immediately start a fast break, looking to score or get an assist. On several occasions he threaded passes through holes so small it might as well have been nine defenders and the actual eye of a needle.
Bell’s impressive passing, relentless defense and ability to start fast breaks turns one of the most athletic teams in lower division into a modified version of the “Seven second or less” Phoenix Suns.