Smile Politely

SuperLegion at the O & B Scrimmage

The fabled wunderkind Alex Legion materialized Sunday afternoon. Emerging from a phone booth sans glasses and tie, Legion rained 28 points on 6 of 8 shooting from distance, dousing his teammates in the Illini Orange & Blue scrimmage.

Mysterious, fantastical reports of yore instantly accrued credibility. SuperLegion sightings had previously been limited to unreliable witnesses at Loch Ness.The fives of faithful OOHed, AHHed and finally ovated boisterously when Legion took a seat with a minute to go in the fourth quarter (8 minutes each) of Sunday’s defenseless intrasquad mash-up.

“Match-up” would be the operative term if two teams played each other. On Sunday, players changed teams at the start of each quarter, casually flipping sweaty reversible orange and blue jerseys. For example, here’s Dietrich in orange.

That made it hard to gauge team chemistry, and harder to spot tendencies and weaknesses. Maybe opaqueness was the goal. Optimistic predictions about the team reveal no wins thus far, just lots of adjectives.

It would be nice if this team showered points on opponents. I remember the days when Illini basketball teams scored. It was fun. Sunday, the team put the ball through the hoop in myriad ways. Even Alex took the ball toward the basket. It didn’t work, but he got to the free-throw line. Alex Legion at the charity stripe seems rarer than sightings of the Scottish Lake Dragon.

I was glad to see free throws included in the format. Too many scrimmages skip them these days, or save them for a soccer-style penalty phase at the end of a contest. That messes up the flow. It’s no wonder kids can’t shoot freebies anymore.

Instrasquad scrimmages should be used to hone all variety of game skills. Demetri McCamey used Sunday’s to practice arguing with referees. (Do not adjust your set, that’s Dietrich in blue this time.)

Because I was sitting directly under one of the baskets, I could hear McCamey calmly working the zebras throughout; commending here, reminding there.

Mike Davis spent much time complaining about non-calls, especially when he missed shots or got his shit thrown back at him. Let’s hope he’s got a finite and smallish amount of sass stored up for the year, and that the rest of it comes out by Thanksgiving.

Mike Tisdale, on the other hand, made no remarks to the refs that I heard. Instead he allowed his actions to show how reasonable a fellow he can be.

Afterwards, the team donned gray sweatshirts and played nice with the fans. A couple hundred stuck around to collect autographs on team posters.


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