Yaletown 61, Wildcats 53
Enter The Tiger
|January 30, 2008 – New York, NY (DL) – This website has extolled the virtues of Asian-Am basketball on the West Coast before and it will do so again and again and again.|
Today, it’s one of those times again.
While there has been no scientific study as to why, it would take an absolute idiot not to recognize that Asian basketball as it’s played in North America, is ruled by the West.
Teams and players raised on the West Coast rule the roost when it comes to our sport and much of it has to be attributed to the fact that:
a) There are more Asian people on the West Coast than the East – a bigger pool to draw from.
b) The weather out West is way better – allowing for year round playing both indoors and outdoors – whereas out here, during the winters, only someone more idiotic than the aforementioned idiot would be found playing outside.
c) The style amongst our scene mirrors that of the pros – the East has long been known as that of a bruiser conference (think Knicks) while the West has always been associated with Showtime, run-n-gun, the wild wild west.
Another reason AA ball on the West has a distinct advantage to that of the East is because of a better infrastructure.
Leagues and tournaments have been around far longer and for it, youth are exposed to the sport at an earlier age and able to excel at it far faster.
Take for example the San Jose Zebras, a Japanese-American organization in Northern California that former NBA player Rex Walters went through.
The Zebras have been around for over 60 years, and today boast several boys’ and girls’ teams that are demarcated by what grade level they’re in. They have a 9th grade team, 10th grade team, and so on and so forth.
Each team is composed of a core of players who grow together and play together, keeping them consistent over the years until they eventually graduate, go onto college, and recall how those were the fondest times of their lives that taught them the most fundamentals about basketball.
One such organization to the South of San Jose by about 400 miles, the LA Tigers, is similar to the Zebras in that they are a JA organization that carries several different teams who grow up and play together.
One of these players recently ruled the East Coast circuit for a short while as he lived in NYC for a year, helping his team pick up 2 tournament chips and a DL NL title.
That player was Nic Echevestre, who starred at UC Santa Cruz in college before moving here for a pit stop before going back to law school in San Diego.
Another descendant of the Tigers has been sourced out of the New York scene and all too appropriately, Yaletown, a team anchored by a commissioner who grew up on the West Coast and played against and amongst the Zebras/Tigers etc. while growing up, has picked him up.
This player is Derik Kumagai who is but a junior at NYU and friends to Eden Chuang who found him at the Palladium.
No one is comparing Kumagai to Echevestre just yet, but after Yaletown’s season opening win over the expansion Wildcats, one thing is clear to anyone who is in the know.
DK is gonna be Yaletown’s secret weapon. Any player born and bred from the LA Tigers is akin to having a pedigree from John Wooden’s UCLA teams. He’ll just know the right way to play.
You didn’t come here to read a history lesson on Asian American basketball though, so the only history you’ll be reading from here on out is about what took place on January 30, 2008.
A new look Yaletown (new uniforms, new players) came out razor sharp against a wily Wildcat team that, although new, features many familiar faces of the past: Young Yu, Yusik Choi, and Brian Sun.
On 52.2% shooting in the 1st half, Yaletown used a hot start by their player coach Sung-Mo Cho and Nelson Wong (10 pts, 5 rbs, 3 stls) as well as pinpoint passing by the entire team to take a commanding 34-15 lead as the 1st half wound down.
Yu and Choi couldn’t get their motors going and as the team struggled in the half-court set, looking like they were just running around playing jungle ball (which they were), this game appeared to be going towards that of a laugher.
Well, in two blinks of an eye, the game was as funny as an episode of Friday Night Lights (my point is that it’s not, but that’s a damn good show.)
Choi hit a couple free throws and Sun converted a careless inbounds pass into a quick score right away and Yale went into the half steamin’ having given up 4 straight that ate into their large lead.
Anyone who knows Yu knows that no matter how far down his teams are, he’ll never stop competing, so giving up cheap points here and there are the last thing you want to do.
Sure ‘nuff, in the 2nd half, the game shifted and while maintaining a lead, it seemed that Yale was the ones on their heels, playing not to lose.
Gone was the sublime shooting, tentative was the offense whereas once it was crisp.
On the other side, Choi got a couple of post-up turnarounds to drop and Min Park (who shot 28 shots in his AAA debut on Sunday and 22 in this game – 50 shots in 2 games, wow) scored 7 to keep the ‘Cats creepin’.
Finally Yu (11 pts, 4 assts) heated up, dropped 8 in the 4th, Choi (15 pts, 7 rbs, 3 stls) kept putting the hammer down while yelling, “Only 4 more stops!” and Park (18 pts, 3 stls) continued to put it up and at one point, Yale only led by 10 with plenty of time to go.
Enter the DK.
Quickly realizing what Yale’s strongest line-up was, Coach Cho (9 pts, 2 assts) sent in DK (5 dimes, 3 stls) to tag team with Chuang (9 pts, 3 stls) to regain control of the offense and provide a hellacious defensive backcourt.
They were able to help Yale maintain their composure and hold on for a 61-53 win as a turnover created by them led to a Brian Yang hoop (12 pts, 9 rbs) and harm to seal the deal.
Not bad, considering DK and Chuang are far and away the youngest of this slowly aging bunch.
But also not surprising given one of these kids was a Tiger.
Score by Quarters
|Wildcats - 53|
|Player||FG||3PT||FT||REB||AST||STL||BLK||TO|| F ||PTS|
|Choi, Yusik||4 / 9 [0.444]||0 / 2 [0.000]||7 / 8 [0.875]||7||2||3||0||2||3||15
|Lo, Sam||0 / 2 [0.000]||0 / 0 [0.000]||0 / 0 [0.000]||7||2||0||0||2||1||0
|Park, Min||8 / 22 [0.364]||1 / 7 [0.143]||1 / 1 [1.000]||4||0||3||1||4||0||18
|Shim, Brian||1 / 4 [0.250]||1 / 2 [0.500]||0 / 0 [0.000]||8||0||3||0||2||4||3
|Sun, Brian||3 / 10 [0.300]||0 / 4 [0.000]||0 / 0 [0.000]||6||2||2||0||5||4||6
|Yu, Young ||4 / 13 [0.308]||1 / 4 [0.250]||2 / 4 [0.500]||5||4||0||0||5||3||11
| ||20 / 60 [0.333]||3 / 19 [0.158]||10 / 13 [0.769]||37||10||11||1||20||15||53|
|Yaletown - 61|
|Player||FG||3PT||FT||REB||AST||STL||BLK||TO|| F ||PTS|
|Chen, Johnny||3 / 6 [0.500]||0 / 1 [0.000]||0 / 0 [0.000]||1||2||0||0||2||1||6
|Cho, Sung-Mo||3 / 10 [0.300]||1 / 4 [0.250]||2 / 2 [1.000]||2||2||1||1||0||0||9
|Chuang, Eden||2 / 8 [0.250]||0 / 1 [0.000]||5 / 6 [0.833]||1||1||3||0||4||0||9
|Ho, Willis||1 / 4 [0.250]||0 / 0 [0.000]||1 / 1 [1.000]||5||0||0||0||0||3||3
|Keh, Seung Jae||0 / 0 [0.000]||0 / 0 [0.000]||0 / 0 [0.000]||1||0||0||0||0||1||0
|Kumagai, Derik||1 / 4 [0.250]||1 / 2 [0.500]||3 / 4 [0.750]||2||5||3||0||2||3||6
|Lee, Fred ||2 / 7 [0.286]||1 / 3 [0.333]||1 / 2 [0.500]||0||1||1||0||2||2||6
|Wong, Nelson||4 / 6 [0.667]||1 / 1 [1.000]||1 / 2 [0.500]||5||1||3||0||3||1||10
|Yang, Brian||5 / 8 [0.625]||0 / 0 [0.000]||2 / 3 [0.667]||9||1||0||0||2||0||12
| ||21 / 53 [0.396]||4 / 12 [0.333]||15 / 20 [0.750]||26||13||11||1||15||11||61|