New York City, New York
Before the game, the coach of Manhattan University’s boys’ basketball team gave his team a little pep talk.
“Look here, guys. Galveston Tech is a relatively new college and new team in the world of collegiate basketball. They’re probably getting eliminated in the first round of the NCAA! But don’t slack off! Go out there and win!”
“On three! One! Two! Three! LET’S GO MANHATTAN!”
The team cheered and stepped onto the court.
“Where’s Galveston Tech? They late?” asked Odai Beckham Jr.
“They arrived barely five minutes ago. Probably getting changed.”
Galveston Tech didn’t look very intimidating at all. They walked onto the court, greeted the Manhattan University players, and started unpacking their stuff on the visitor’s bench.
Suddenly, someone caught Odai’s eye. He turned to his teammates. “Who’s that guy?”
“I don’t know, man. Never seen him before.”
“He’s probably the mascot.”
“No, he’s got a jersey on.”
The Galveston Tech player didn’t look like a basketball player at all. He was short and wiry with medium length hair. He seemed to be of Asian descent and looked to be about 5’4. Odai squinted to read his name and jersey number.
“Oh,” thought Odai. “He’s Japanese.”
A much bigger guy went over to talk to Ichikawa. The two fist-bumped each other and started to talk.
“Wait,” said Odai’ teammate. “Isn’t that Chad Brown? He almost won the All-Texas Sixth-Man (1) Award!”
“What’s he doing with Galveston Tech?”
“Alright, everyone! Let’s start the game!” yelled the referee.
Odai grunted. “Alright, guys. Let’s win!”
Things went wrong straight away.
Odai received a pass from his teammate. He looked around to see his defender but couldn’t see anyone.
“Ha!” thought Odai. “I’m wide open for a dunk!”
He charged at the basket with such ferocity, he scared the entire Galveston team. But it didn’t go to plan.
Odai’s leg hit something hard, sending it reeling to the ground.
“Offensive foul! (2) Manhattan, number three! Galveston gets possession!” yelled the ref.
Wait, offensive foul?
Odai looked down to see Ichikawa on the ground. “Wait, how did I not see him?” he thought furiously.
Suddenly, his brain clicked.
“Don’t tell me! He used his height to his advantage! He used the fact that I am 6’11 against me? He wasn’t even in my field of vision because of my height!"
Odai ran to play defense, where he found himself guarding Ichikawa. “Ha! You’re not going anywhere!” he thought.
Ichikawa had other ideas.
He threw a bullet pass between Odai’s legs with such speed that he couldn’t react. Chad Brown caught the pass and dunked the ball hard.
“Now he used my long legs against me?” thought Odai angrily.
On offense, Odai caught the ball. This time, he looked down to see Ichikawa guarding him. “Really? 5’4 against 6’11?” he mused.
He saw no open teammates and decided to shoot a three-pointer. He lauched the ball way above Ichikawa’s reach in a high arc.
The ball hit the side of the rim and Chad Brown caught it. He threw a pass to Ichikawa. Odai ran at him and tried to stop him.
Ichikawa was faster.
He raised his hands to shoot. Odai jumped in front, trying to stop him. But he didn’t shoot. He waited for Odai to land on the ground again. Then, he took a shot.
Ichikawa had scored. A three pointer, nonetheless.
“Wow,” thought Odai. “He can shoot.”
Odai once again found Ichikawa guarding him. He tried to get low for a powerful drive to the rim.
Odai’s long leg, when bent, got Ichikawa square in the abdomen with his knee. He fell to the ground in pain.
“Offensive foul! Manhattan, number three! Galveston ball!” yelled the referee.
“Another offensive foul?” cursed Odai.
Odai turned around to see Ichikawa running to the other end for a layup. “OH NO YOU DON’T!” he yelled.
Odai’s long legs covered so much ground with such speed that even his own coach was shell-shocked. He leapt at the Japanese point-guard, determined to stop him. He swung his hand at the ball.
Ichikawa cleverly twisted his arm to let his own hand come in contact with Odai’s hand instead of the ball. “Ref!” he yelled.
“Foul! Manhattan, number three! Two free-throws!” yelled the ref.
Odai’s coach leapt off the bench. “Player substitution! For number three!”
Odai went back to the bench with three fouls in the first five minutes.
“God, that guy!” he fumed.
After Odai left, the game got worse for his team.
Galveston Tech led 67-51 at halftime.
“Oh no,” thought Odai. “We’re in trouble!”
1. Sixth-Man: The sixth man in basketball is a player who is not a starter but comes off the bench much more often than other reserves, often being the first player to be substituted in.
2. Offensive Foul: An offensive foul in basketball is a foul committed by an offensive player whose team is in possession of the ball. No free throws are awarded after an offensive foul; instead, the ball is awarded to the offended team out of bounds near wherever the foul was committed.
Manhattan Number Three is basically Odai's team and jersey number. Referees normally refer to players like this during a game.
There won’t be any chapters for the next two days as I have exams to study for. Hope everyone likes the story. I’ll be back in two days with a new chapter. Until then, stay tuned!