Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Greater St. Helens League Shootout!

I Tivo'd the Clippers-Raptors game tonight and boy am I glad I did. Not because I was treated to thrilling basketball, because I most assuredly was not. Rather, it was because I was treated to the sight of two basketball ghosts of Christmas past.

In their 80-77 loss to the Raptors, the Clippers brought Dan Dickau off the bench for significant minutes at point guard, as they have been doing for the last several weeks. I always take note of this because I knew Dan growing up, played against him in AAU, and used to have to wear the "Red Jersey" and pretend to be Dickau when our JV team would run Prairie High School's offense against the varsity defense. I've always kept tabs on him, which was pretty easy when he played at Gonzaga at the same time I was a student at Pepperdine (back when the Waves were good and a fierce rival of the Zags). It's been harder since he's been in the NBA, because he gets traded every other week, but I've been able to chart his career. (By the way, and this is a story for another time, but Dickau would be ideally situated as Steve Nash's backup in Pheonix.)


The thing that made tonight's game shocking is that another "Red Jersey" guy was playing for the Clippers and was actually in the starting lineup - Richie Frahm, who attended Battle Ground High School. Battle Ground is right down the road from Prairie (also the home of baseball's Richie Sexson, FYI) and as such, was - along with my high school, Mountain View - a fellow member of the Greater St. Helens League. And so I also donned a red jersey and would pretend to be Richie Frahm so that the varsity could practice accordingly. (I think I always got the red jersey duties because I loved to hoist difficult threes - the hoisting mirrored the actions of Dickau and Frahm, it was just the "making" where our games differed.)

I thought it was pretty crazy that the only two guys that I ever pretended to be while wearing a red jersey in practice where both on the court playing significant minutes tonight for the Clippers. Even crazier is the fact that in addition to being high school rivals (those guys had some classic duels), they were college teammates at Gonzaga (although Dickau was sitting out as a transfer during Frahm's senior year).

From sharing the court in Vancouver, Washington in the mid-90s as high school All-State players, to dominating the WCC as fellow Zags in Spokane, Washington in college, to valiantly battling mighty Jose Calderon and the Toronto Raptors in Los Angeles, California as professionals.

The whole thing just seems too ironic.

But it does bring back fond memories of practice sessions when all I had to do was put on a red jersey, run off screens, and jack up fadeway threes from the corner.

Thanks, Dan and Richie.

(Oh, and for the record, both guys played pretty well tonight. Dickau again showed good poise and control while running the Clips offense and finished with 7 points, 6 boards, and 2 assists in 26 minutes. Meanwhile, Frahm did his thing from long range, connecting on three of six triples and finishing with 13 points and five boards in 32 minutes.)

(Also, another weird coincidence is that Phoenix - the very team that I believe should employ Dickau - waived Frahm in the preseason.)

(Last thing - the guy that was released to make room for Frahm? That would be my boy Ruben Patterson, the Nanny Stopper, and subject of a supportive post just a few days ago. Waiter, I'll take another side order of irony, please.)

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