Sunday, June 30, 2013

Of Men Both Young & Old

We have reached 2013's halfway point.  This year has gotten pretty damn old all of a sudden....
....and speaking of old all of a sudden - Happy Birthday to my old, great friend Mark Bowman.  I have been an albatross of a friend around Bowinkle's neck for approximately three and one half decades.  That poor son of a bitch.  He must be pretty damn old to know me for that long.  I hope his birthday is a great one.  He certainly deserves it.
Kudos to a young man who is - by all accounts - an even better player than he is a basketball player.  Andre Roberson spent three seasons on the CU-Boulder campus, working his way towards his degree and helping the Buffs return to the World of the Relevant in men's college basketball.  He was the very first high school player to sign a Letter of Intent to come play for Tad Boyle when Coach Boyle was hired at CU in the Spring of 2010.  In Roberson's three seasons on the hardwood in Boulder he helped lead the Buffs to the Semi-Finals of the NIT as a freshman before spearheading their back-to-back NCAA Tournament bids.  When the 2013 season ended in March, Dre defied conventional wisdom and declared himself an entrant in the 2013 NBA Draft.  In the days leading up to the Draft, most draftniks projected him NOT being drafted.  Or at best - being taken late in the 2nd Round of what is only a two-round affair.  His decision to give up his senior season seemed to have been a bad one.
Until Thursday night.  The twenty-sixth player who heard his name called - comfortably in the final quarter of the First Round I might add - was Andre Roberson, University of Colorado.   While his choice of attire was a bit shall we say "Yikes"-inducing the smile on his face was indelible.  And it likely grew larger by evening's end when he learned that although it was Minnesota who had drafted him it shall be Oklahoma City for whom he shall play as the Thunder ended up trading for him.  He is from Texas so he will play for pay relatively close to home.  And he shall do it on a team that has Kevin Durant as its focal point.  Not too shabby.
For the past couple of months one of the adults in Andre Roberson's life who had been having the most sleep-interrupted nights over whether his decision to leave CU was the right one was the man he had accompanied to Boulder:  Coach Boyle.  He had read all of the projections about Andre and knew that while every NBA first-round draft pick's initial contract is guaranteed, those of second-round picks and free agents are not.  Coach was worried.  When Commissioner David Stern called "Andre Roberson" as the twenty-sixth pick in the First Round on Thursday night, Boyle immediately sent this text message to him: “What the hell do I know? Congratulations."
Actually, Tad Boyle knows a hell of a lot.  He knew three-plus years ago when he accepted the job to coach the Buffs he needed to recruit young men who would mold the future of the program.  He knew he needed young men who are leaders - foundation players.  He knew what he had in one such player from Texas.  Together they did great things. 
I have a feeling that although they shall be doing them in two different places next season, they shall continue to do great things. 

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