As mentioned in the earlier posts, I was the most nervous for this part of my basketball life. I was starting to mix it up with the city's best and I didn't know where I stacked up against them. However, I was excited at the opportunity to possibly play middle schools in other cities and see if we were the best in the county.
The PA system goes off during 7th period announcing a reminder that boys basketball tryouts were being held after school this week. This was the most nervous I can remember being. 2 days of putting my skills on showcase with hopes the coach will find something he could use in me. Day 1 got off to a great start and I seemed to be one of the better fundamentally-sound kids there. Then came the actual scrimmaging... I held my own! I played within myself and got the ball to the people who were clearly better than me. Day 2 was more scrimmaging and more of the same results from Day 1 - good passes, with the occasion shot sprinkled in. My thoughts - I hope I did enough to stand out and make the team. I DID!!! Probably one of the most thrilling moments in my life. We were a good team that year and only lost to 1 damn (sorry! still hate them!) team (our rival Washington Middle School). 7th grade years = success!
8th grade was more of the same... I had more confidence this time and developed into one of the better all-around players. It didn't hurt that we had a kid on our team who averaged like 40 ppg (seriously!). I got better and started developing this confidence that I never had before. I starting believing I belonged on the court and was no longer content with sitting in the passenger seat. Just for the record, we lost to the same DAMN team again in my 8th grade year (Washington). Not a shabby middle school career... 30 something and 4 record. Those 4 losses were all to Washington... once in the regular season and once in the championship, both years.
Following my 8th grade season, I had some thinking to do. What, you may be asking??? It was time for high school... that's not the thinking part. I had to choose between going to the city school (where all my friends for the last 8 years were going) or changing school districts and attending a predominantly white school (at the time, I thought they were all preppy and stuck up - remember, I was a city boy w/ classmates from the "ghetto"). Immediately I thought about basketball!!! No shocker there! How would this affect my path for basketball? Is basketball worth the relationships it would cost me changing schools? Will I even enjoy basketball anymore without my friends in the mix? All these questions put pressure on my decision about which high school I would attend.
Next comes High School Ball...