Believe it or not, sometimes there’s way too many distractions in N.C. Central’s McLendon-McDougald gymnasium to focus on the basketball games. On Tuesday, between K97.5 FM’s radio personalities, Brian Dawson and Wade Banner deejaying, adorable mohawked six-year-old boys dancing to their tunes, delicious yellow cheddar cheese popcorn from Durham’s The Mad Popper, and watching newspaper reporters make bets on which of them could do the impossible and convince Rasheed Wallace to give them an interview, amazing things needed to happen on the court.
The evening opened up with the Wheelchair Bridge to Sports players battling it out in a game that came down to a tie-breaking shot in the last seconds. Disabled and restricted to wheelchairs, their combined athleticism was just as inspiring as the dozens of amateur, college and pro athletes who would later on exhibit their own breathtaking athleticism, both on foot and in the air.
So, if NC Pro-Am’s opening night was N.C. State freshman Rodney Purvis’ coming out party, then this Tuesday night’s coming out party belonged to Duke’s Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood, and Duke freshmen Amile Jefferson and Rasheed Sulaimon. But Jefferson’s stickman agility, Sulaimon’s barking enthusiasm, and Hood’s late baseline three-pointer weren’t enough to stop former NC State guard, Alex Johnson—who, in his second game of the night--spoiled the Duke newcomers’ Pro-Am debut, by following up Hood’s shot, with his own long-range, game-winning three-pointer.
NBA Rookie of the Year and USA Select Team point-guard Kyrie Irving was scheduled to play Tuesday evening, but had bigger fish to fry out in Las Vegas, crossing-over veteran Team USA players and prepping the team for the upcoming London 2012 Olympics. Duke’s Quinn Cook filled whatever void Irving’s footwork-absence might have left, showing-off a multiple-spin-move before a fast break layup. Also, during halftime, Cook spontaneously threw down a 360-degree dunk . Those that saw it were just as surprised as he was—including fellow Blue Devils, Tyler Thornton and Seth Curry, sitting on the bench in streetwear, hyping-up the guy whose main duty will probably be running next year’s Duke’s offense.
But enough about basketball. Like I said earlier; there’s too many distractions. Last year, I found myself making one-too-many trips to the concession stand for Chic-fil-a sandwiches. I ate one per game. That’s four chicken sandwiches and an extra five pounds of body fat that I don’t need. Tuesday night, I discovered that the good folks at the concession stand are selling turkey burgers. My favorite, ON DECK! But there’s absolutely no way I can eat four of those. I’d fall into a coma after the second one. Ain’t nobody got time for that—especially during Pro-Am.