Chapter 6:

Drills and Tensions

Would You Paint My Dunk

The upperclassmen placed some cones in vertical grids in the Aula, which seemed like a dribble slalom drill. This was a drill I had practiced all over in my high school career. I chuckled, reminiscing about my old times.

As they finished setting the cones, the coach blew the whistle to begin the drill. I quickly dashed forward, dribbling the ball left and right, avoiding the cones.

After I set a nice time record for myself, I looked back to see other students lagging behind. But that wasn't the case for Carlos, who nailed the drill. In addition to his incredible balance, his nimble feet allowed him to zigzag around the course like a zebra.

Needless to say, my rival performed well. Despite his enormous stature, he was only slightly behind me in speed. I began to fear that he would take my place in the team.

Drills were given to us back-to-back, and fatigue started to build up, but none of us complained. We know that the moment we do, we would be put off the list, and nobody wants that.

After we were done with the drills, some people sat in fatigue, and a few of the freshmen exuded exhaustion down their throats. Feeling the same, I quickly sat, taking deep breaths while recovering my strength.

Nostalgic feelings flooded my mind as I took a break. After all, these drills were my routine back in my high school days.

After everyone sat down, the coach tapped his pen on a small coaching board and approached us.

“Okay, I have chosen the candidates.”

With the candidates already chosen, I paid close attention to him.

Who knows? Maybe my name would be called early.

“There are four people here that passed the mark. For those people, I will make a scrimmage against the benches. Since we need to play five-on-five, I will add one regular to the team to balance it out. If you are doing well, I will put you on the roster. Understood?”

Wait, we have to challenge the upperclassmen in a practice match?

I know they are benches, but as a freshman, facing them head-on is quite scary. I’m starting to get nervous. We are talking about a scrimmage here, a practice match in a real format.

The coach probably wanted to test us, to see if we could hold a candle against the current members of the team. But to face our upperclassmen right off the bat? It’s absurd. We would get demolished quickly at this rate.

“I will call your names. If your name is called, please move forward.” The coach told us.

“Carlos Steward, you will play as a Point Guard! Next, Alex Jefferson, you will play as a Shooting Guard!”

Carlos walked forward along with a guy. The guy is a beige-skinned man with yellow wavy hair, with his height around 6’2” tall.

I was nervous, wishing my name would come next. The name of the Guards has already been set, indicating it will be Forwards next.

“Please let it be me… Please let it be me….” I mumbled to myself anxiously.

“Keith Wallace!”

Upon hearing my name, I quickly dashed forward in excitement. However, my spirit soon dried down as the coach continued.

“I know you played as a Power Forward before, but I want to try you as a Small Forward here. Do you mind that?”

Damn! I got moved to Small Forward. Ah fuck! It means I lost to that Jamal guy.

Well, what did I expect? He’s more muscular and taller than me. He would be the better choice for that position. If I were the coach, I would have made the same decision.

Small Forward, huh? I hope I could perform just well in this position.

As I decided to comply, I shouted back to the coach.

“No, sir!”

“Okay, you will play as a Small Forward. Next, Jamal Stephenson, you will play as a Power Forward!”

I knew it!

Well, whatever. There’s no use crying over spilled milk. I just have to bear with it.

“And for the center, no one of you fits the category, so I will ask the Center from the starters to play with you. Sean Hammock, please come here.”

A big and muscular guy started walking toward us. He is a beige-skinned young man with yellow crew-cut hair, wearing Astro Jets’ red basketball uniform number 23.

Holy crap!

Amazed by his body build, I was left flabbergasted. As he arrived in front of us, I had to tilt my head upward to see his face. That’s how big he is.

“Everyone, say hi to Sean Hammock. He is 7 feet tall and our team’s regular center. He will join the freshman team to play against the bench team.” The coach introduced Sean to the freshmen.

No Way!

7 feet? He is a freaking giant!

Ah, well, I shouldn’t be surprised. This is a Division One university, one of the best in the U.S., and Centers are the tallest players on the team. They are responsible for picking missing shots in rebounds and pushing through with their body to the rim. To do their job, they need to be tall and strong, and he is the definition of one. He is truly a Goliath.

“Hi, everyone. I’m your senior, Sean Hammock. I’m in my fourth year playing the center position as a starter. Nice to meet you.” Sean bowed to the freshmen as he ended his introduction.

“Okay, you guys should take fifteen and group up!” The coach shouted. “Spend your time talking about strategies to go against the reserve team. In fifteen minutes, I shall start the scrimmage.”

Carlos, Sean, Alex, Jamal, and I grouped up and sat in a circle. We introduced ourselves, trying to get to know each other before the game began.

Now, the time has come to discuss our strengths and strategy for playing against the bench team.

My teammates looked more reliable than me, which made me anxious. I started to wonder if I could make the cut for the team.

As uncertainty filled my mind, I could only hope that everything would go well.

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