Saturday, April 14, 2007


****From the ALBANY TIMES-UNION****

Patroons' situation is a comedy
Albany wins subplot extravaganza

By TIM WILKIN, Staff writer
Click byline for more stories by writer.
First published: Saturday, April 14, 2007

ALBANY -- A half-hour before game time, the Albany Patroons' uniforms hadn't arrived at Washington Avenue Armory.

Their opponents for the United States Basketball League opener, the New Jersey Meteors, didn't have enough players. Oh, they also didn't have a coach.

Before the game started, the Patroons allowed the Meteors to borrow one of their players, Darius Mattear. But only for the night.

The Patroons' USBL debut could have been a pilot for a situation comedy.

With so many crazy subplots, the outcome was predictable.

The Patroons rolled over the Meteors 128-70 in front of about 350 people. The Patroons did not release a crowd figure nor did they supply a full box score.

"I don't think it was bad at all considering everything," said Jim Coyne, the Patroons' general manager. "This was a good workout for us."

Marvin Phillips led the Patroons with 21 points and Shamon Antrum had 19 points. Former Siena standout Antoine Jordan had 17 and former Syracuse center Craig Forth from East Greenbush had nine points.

The New Jersey franchise originally was supposed to play in Boston but the ownership pulled out at the last minute. Their new home is Monmouth, N.J., but they came to Albany without a coach and without enough players.

The Patroons not only lent them Mattear but also gave the Meteors three players they cut from their roster on Thursday night: A.J. Danzy, Prince Jackson of Schenectady and Aquawasi St. Hillaire, who played at the University at Albany.

"We wanted to help them out," said Albany coach Patrick O'Herron.

If he hadn't, there would have been no game.

Right after the game started, the Meteors' roster swelled to eight when two former Albany High players, Lloyd Johnson and Makael Brace, came running out of the New Jersey locker room to join their team for the night.

And to make things even more bizarre, the coach of the Meteors was Dennis Truax, the director of operations for the Continental Basketball Association. Truax said he wasn't coaching, just doing a favor for USBL commissioner Dan Meisenheimer. Truax worked for the USBL from 1999-2004.

Walter Brand, who was acting assistant coach, said Truax was the head coach for the night.

"I was just on the bench after a request from the USBL," Truax said. "I'm just going to sit there and make sure chaos doesn't break out."

With the ragtag bunch the New Jersey team assembled, it might not have mattered if Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach and Adolph Rupp were coaching the Meteors.

Despite looking more like a preseason scrimmage, there were die-hard Patroons fans at the Armory who said they enjoyed themselves and would come back.

"I'll be back," said Tracy Moroney of Latham, who has season tickets. "This is still good basketball. They all want to play."

Albany's Tom Towsley, who has had courtside seats since the early 1980s when the Patroons first played here, considers himself a rabid fan of the CBA Patroons.

He was not going to pass judgment on the quality of play in one game. He'll be in his same seat Saturday night when the Patroons play their second of 15 USBL home games. The opponent is the Brooklyn Kings.

"This was a game between the Patroons we kept against the team we didn't keep," Towsley said. "This team is a work in progress. They'll be all right."

You Got Served

Keith Closs lead the country in blocked shots while at Central Connecticut State University. He left school after only two years, played in the tiny Atlantic Basketball Association and was later brought into the NBA with the Los Angeles Clippers via the FILA Summer League. Here, on a fast break, Closs gets caught trying to block a fierce leaper in Antonio Daniels. If anything, this dunk says something about Antonio, Closs is clearly trying.

Keith Mitchell Closs (born April 3, 1976 in Hartford, Connecticut) is notorious for his assorted hairstyles. The 7-foot 3-inch Closs played three years with the Los Angeles Clippers from 1997 to 2000. He averaged 3.9 points and 2.9 rebounds per game during his career. After logging career highs in points, rebounds, assists and steals during the 1999-2000 NBA season, Closs's NBA career ended as unassumingly as it began.

He's moved around, joining for the Pennsylvania Valley Dawgs of the USBL in 2003, the Gary Stealheads, Rockford Lightining and Detroit, SoCal, and Orange Country in the ABA. He has also played in Italy, Mexico and the old-IBL. As of January 14, 2007 Closs was the leading shot blocker in the CBA at 2.9 blocks per game with the Butte Daredevils.In January 2007, He signed with the Buffalo Silverbacks of the ABA. Above Antonio Daniels makes him look real silly and below an angry mob beats his ass.

* Closs was once caught on film participating in a violent fistfight after an altercation at a Los Angeles-area nightclub. [1]

* Closs led the nation in blocks his first two years in college. After his second year, he left Central Connecticut State for the NBA.

* Holds the Clippers' record for most Blocked Shots per 48 minutes (4.7505).

Gets Dunked On By Everyone

This highlight video shows my favorite Morman, Shawn Bradley, being dunked on by some of the best dunkers in the league. Oh yeah, George Muresan too. What a waste of height.

*I can't totally hate on him.



Homicide hit me on the text tonight. He's got a full line of gear coming from K1X, the Homicide Collection. Here are the ballers who have been behind their ads for a few years now.