Thursday, August 2, 2012

Stackhouse finishes, then Wallace teaches at NC Pro-Am

The Kinston, NC Connection: Bo Ingram and Greater NC Pro-Am founder, Jerry Stackhouse, after their win. 
On Wednesday evening, current Brooklyn Nets forward and Greater NC Pro-Am founder, Jerry Stackhouse finally made an appearance at hisown summer basketball league.  It was more than just an appearance though.  The former Tar Heel star moseyed into McLendon-McDougald Gymnasium only several minutes before lacing-up his sneakers and playing with the Banks Law Firm team against DTLR.   And like most of the UNC-affiliated players that have balled in this summer’s Pro-Am league, he showed up and showed out.  Stackhouse’s performance could have easily been overshadowed by another Kinston, N.C.-native, Bo Ingram’s exhilarating 39-point performance, but, well, he’s Stackhouse.  After all, this is his league, and what better way to drive that point home than to put on a show that included this classic reverse jam, a few convincing blocks--including one that he nearly smacked out of the gym--, and an unbelievable, game-winning three-pointer at the final buzzer that rocked the house. In this The Herald-Sun story, he says that he drew up the final play for himself, using the hot-handed, Bo Ingram as somewhat of a decoy.  

Drawing up plays, throwing shots, and wowing the crowd: NC Pro-Am is still Stack’s Summer House. 
Afterwards, in the 751 South vs. The Athletes Foot game, Durham’s, Miykael Faulcon scorched the nets with a game-high 29 points on 6-of-6 shooting from behind the arc, and led his team (The Athletes Foot) to a nail-biting win.  Somehow, he had enough energy to play again in the following Sheraton Imperial vs. DreamWorks game, where he didn’t get as many opportunities to find his stroke.   Clearly, the main attraction of the night’s final game was the Duke-UNC battle between Blue Devil freshmen, Rasheed Sulaimon and Amile Jefferson, and the Tar Heel duo, Rasheed Wallace and P.J. Hairston. 

The game started out as intense any Tobacco Road basketball showdown can get, and then climaxed in the second quarter when Wallace and Jefferson got tangled-up beneath the basket.  The two exchanged some harsh words and had to be broken up before Jefferson went to the free-throw line to miss both of his free-throw attempts.  Sulaimon could tell that his teammate was a little rattled by the whole ordeal, and he did his best to coach Jefferson back into focus as Wallace continued to talk trash to the both of them.  This back-and-forth banter went on for the length of the game, and even UNC’s Hairston got in on bullying the Duke freshmen when he forced a smaller Sulaimon out of the low-post.  Sulaimon drew the foul, but after the play, Hairston flexed his muscles at the crowd, implying that he was just too strong to be budged.

Rasheed Wallace is a retired basketball player who still enjoys the game and even more, still enjoys participating in the UNC-Duke rivalry.   However, he seizes the opportunity to not only coach and give on-the-court advice to his fellow Tar Heels, but also the younger Duke players.  In the heat of all of Wednesday night’s shouting and competiveness Wallace walked over to Sulaimon’s bench, pulled him to the side and whispered what was probably a bunch of pointers and words of encouragement.  Sulaimon listened and nodded while the teacher, SHEED, handed down some nuggets of wisdom.  Earlier in the game, Wallace yelled from the court over to the Duke players’ Pro-Am coach, “those are still my boys”.  He was referring to Sulaimon and Jefferson and the tough love he shares for his ACC pupils and future stars.  Wallace’s Sheraton Imperial team won the game, 77-70, but it was just another day of class where everyone learned a lil’ somethin’ at the school of NC Pro-Am.