Jerome’s diary entry #8: Rivalry, but also friends!
Rivalry! It couldn`t be better than having a home game at 7:30pm on a Saturday night. You got to love it, that is what our assistant coach Ademola Olatunde told us. I met up with my fomrer team-, classmate and friend Andi Kronhardt. We had a nice pregame talk. Also a lot of trash talking was going on like basketball players always do. I’m gonna dunk on you. Three pointer in your face, Block the s§§t outta you etc.
Well, we both headed t o the locker room at the same time. I could feel a little bit nerovsity today. The gym was much more crowded than yesterday. I guess a thousand people. Well, it was the first test for us and me against a 1.Bundesliga team. Former Ulmer player Romeo Travis got booed very badly at the players presentation.
The gym started with an high intensity on both ends. It was very rough, but we and Tübingen gave up a lot of points. I checked in with 2minutes to go in the first quarter. I had to guard Romeo. He had a horrible game. Missed a 2 on 1 fastbreak lay up. Grabbed the board, but i was right there to contest his second shot and he missed it badly.
Don`t know if he was nervous or something. He seemed very relaxed. He was posting me up one time on the right block. I was waiting for his tunraround fadeaway. But he was trying to finish off with his left hand to the middle. I fouled him in the air. Tübingen finished us a little bit of with 25-20. Michael Jenkins did an outstanding job in shooting the ball beyond the arc.
We were able to bounce back and where able to capture the lead. I checked back in the middle of the second quarter. I was guarding Romeo travis again. He didn`t score against me. It seemed impossible for me to get any offensive boards. I really tried hard to get one, but I am rebounding above the rim. Not yet!
Tübingen was running a fast brerak on the next possession. I guess Hudson or Jenkins pulled up for three. I was just putting my body on somebody and tried to box somebody out close to the freethrow line. Romeo thought he could probably tip dunk the missed shot or something. But I was right there, trying to box him out. He was all over me sitting on my shoulders with his hips. He flipped over in the air and hit the gropund hard with his back. It took him a while to get up. Probably a minute. It seemed like he had problems with breathing I felt bad for him and apologized a billion times. He got up though. He wasn`t mad at me and we shock hands. We entered the half with an narrow 44-42 lead.
The game was very close all the time. Christian was playing very well. Aleksandar Nadjfeji, Dane Watts and Kenny Wiliams looked a little bit helpless against him. Matter fact, Wiliams picked up his fifth foul in the third. I had an open look on the top of the key in the third, but couldn`t sink it. I was pissed, but Mike told me that it was an excellent shot.
Ratkovica did hit a lucky three of the bank at the next possession. It was also a buzzer beater and the third period was done. Horrible foul calls in the fourth made Kevin sit down with plenty of time left. We were leading by two, but Tübingen took advantage of us not having a real PG and they started a 7-0 run. Chris helped us to get back and we were in striking distance again trailing by three with 1 minute left. We were missing two opprtunities to tie the game and were forced to foul.
Ratkovice showed a lot of nerves and did only sink 2 FT out of 4. Rocky picked up his 5th foul, while he was fouling Ratkovica again with 12.7 seconds to go down by 1. Mike didn`t hesitate at all and said: “Jerome! Get in!”
We were down by one. A lot of pressure for an unexperienced player like me. This time Ratkovica was able to hit both. We inbounded it quickly to Lee. He was trying to get rid of the ball in a hurry to avoid a tactical foul of Tübingen. He passed it to me though. Now it was me on half court with the ball running a 3 on two break. There were so many options. Just 8 seconds left on the game clock. What should I do?
I was thinking just one short second to take the shot or attack to the basket. Well, did not have the confidence to do it, plus there was plenty of time left too look for a better opening and a better shooter, so i swung the ball to Coleman, who was trailing. He swung it to Chris. And he did pull up for a three. I could tell the ball was not going in although the shot looked very good and it was just and it went in and out. I tried to tip it back in, but Aleksandar Nadjfeji, was just too big for me and I could just tip it out of his hands out of bounds.
We were fouling Daryll Hudson this time with 1.8 seconds to go. Not enough time to get a decent shot of and he had to miss both. I was trash talking so much to Hudson while he was on the foul line. Pretty stupid for a rookie. I did not expect that this would affect him at all. I mean come on. I am a Rookie. He should not even care. He seemed so ice cold on the line and comfortable like he would knock down those shots with ease. But he didn`t. He missed both.
Coleman was trying an hail mary. But the ball did hit the top of the ceiling and the game was over. Tübingen won – and we won.
was a game where both teams deserved to win. Mike was very proud of our progress during the game and the last weeks. I am pretty sure we will beat those guys during the regular season with everybody healthy. Coleman told me afterwards that I should just pull up the three next time. And that I shouldn`t be afraid of shooting. Nobody is going to be mad at me for missing a shot.
I went to the hotel where Tübingen was staying after the game to visit my friend Andi Kronhardt. Just want to hang out with an old friend talking about the past, present and future. It is nice to see that he is doing good. He did not play today thou. It is hard for him, having Aleksandar Nadjfeji and Dane Watts on his position in front of him. but he will also learn and get better by watching these guys. he said Nadjfeji is a good role model. We will both stay in contact and have a deep eye on each other.