I assume other states do these rankings. The only one I’ve ever noticed is the Sunday Parade Magazine All-American ranking of the current sport. (BTW, what’s up with Parade Magazine these days? It’s scrawny, and I miss the guest writers on the back page). I think this group of athletes are usually high school seniors. Anyway, some Michigan group does high school basketball rankings during the season. I don’t know if they do younger than 8th grade, but Landon (Drew to the rest of the world) was ranked 40th last year.
|Northwest basketball, ranked 40th in the state, 2015…|
Landon wanted so badly to be ranked in the top ten for his freshman basketball season in the class of 2019. He came in number 16. (This gram is immensely proud) A vast improvement from 40th when you consider several of the 15 dudes ranked above him didn’t make their varsity team this winter. Holy smokes, can you imagine what Landon would have been ranked had he played junior varsity? For sure in the top 5. That’s never been the way he rolls though. Always played with older, bigger, better players. Constantly pushing himself to improve.
|Hey, we’re moving on up. Ranked 16th his freshman year, 2016…|
After being told Landon would not be playing basketball for another 4 weeks, this winter went into slow motion. He was bummed, I was morose, feeling bad for him. The worst part, his foot with the stress fracture was feeling 100%. Not good enough. He needed to finish physical therapy, thus lowering his chances of re-injury. He went to a terrific sports rehab place just for athletes. I guess they think there maybe a few sports stars in Ann Arbor. Go figure.
|Landon getting his District Championship medal, 3-2016…|
Landon was finally cleared to play with 2 regular season games left. Although he was used to his team, the plays and coaches, it was kind of like starting over for this kid. He seemed somewhat tentative. Landon’s defense was spot on, but against their biggest rival, he scored no points. Played about half the game which was typical. He had a couple rebounds, assists and fouls, but as I remember, he never attempted a shot. Huron had won the first match up while Landon was out with his foot. Pioneer won the second game though.
|Landon (Drew) against Huron, 2016…|
Our last game before tournament play wasn’t a very good team. But Pioneer looked tired, out of sync and it showed. They lost when they should have won easily. Ugh. Landon had 6 points, playing about half the game. His defense was very good. Not the way his team wanted to finish, but their record was still way above 500, at 16-4.
|Landon in white. Good D, Dude…|
Next up, district tournament. For the third time this season, Pioneer would play one of their inner city rivalry’s, Skyline. Happily, for 3rd time, Pioneer would dominate and win. Landon, for some reason plays exceptionally well against Skyline. Don’t know if it’s a player from their team (Landon was talking trash during their first meeting, and came very close to a technical foul) but he had another good game. He scored 8, with one turnover.
|Landon, 3 going for a layup, 3-2016…|
District finals would be against their other big rival, Ann Arbor Huron. They split the season with one win a piece. Huron was pumped with junk the whole game. They were itching for a fight and continued to verbally torment our guys. Their coach got tossed for a double technical. Pioneer won by 11. Landon played well, not scoring much, but great defense again. Pioneer got a very nice trophy.
|Landon and Tracey with District Champ trophy, 3-2016…|
Moving on to Regionals. Team from the Detroit area, called Woodhaven something. They managed to stay with Pioneer for the first half, but got blown away during the third quarter. Landon had 4 steals, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 points. Pioneer won by more than 20.
|An AAU tourney win last season, 2015..,|
Their next foe was Ypsilanti. (Wonder who named that crazy town?) Before the game started, I watched Pioneer warm up. Landon swished 10 of 11 three-pointers from all over the court. At one point, one of his team mate’s shots ricocheted off the rim, and landed in a trash barrel, about 6 feet out of bounds in the corner. Landon ran over to retrieve it, turned around and let it fly. Nothing but net. I just knew he was going to have a good game. That little bit of cockiness he carries most of the time (from his dad Tracey, no doubt about that) was evident.
|Big heads made for the last few games. With beautiful sis, Ari. Yes, his head is actual size…|
Ypsi’s very good. We lost to them badly the day Landon thought he would be cleared to play, but ended up wearing the boot another 2 weeks. Ypsi’s been ranked in the top 5 all year. I don’t believe Pioneer ever had the lead. At the beginning of the second half, we got within a couple of buckets, but it was never very close. Pioneer was out matched and out performed. Still, Landon had such an awesome game. My favorite freshman would account for over 25% of Pioneer’s point total, leading in the scoring department. He had three 3’s and a layup.
|Pioneer’s Big Heads. Landon, 3rd from left…|
So Landon’s freshman season of Pioneer basketball is over. I’ve moved all my purple clothes (thanks Tracey) to another closet until December. Sigh. (Alas, I may have to get them out for football season, if Landon decides to play. Why can’t he just love baseball? He’s so good). Besides the games where he was on injured reserved, I’ve missed one game this season. A no name opponent in a small holiday tourney that was about 45 minutes away. The weather was so bad, Shannon and Tracey brought along extra clothes, thinking they would have to spend the night at a hotel. Took them over 2 hours to get there. I got updates throughout their easy victory. But I’m forever grateful that we were able to move 160 miles closer before the season started. Thanks God. Most games were about half an hour away. A very good season, weather and basketball wise.
|Swishing one of his 3-pointers. Purple shoes and all…|
Rex (head coach for Pioneer) was interviewed after their Regional tourney loss. He sang praises for the seniors and optimistically looked ahead to the coming year. Here’s a snippet of what he had to say.
|Pretty complimentary of Landon’s ability. Also wrong on the points, he had 22, not 21…|
But all is not lost sports fans. To the masses of Landon inspired basketball fans, take heart. He’s about to begin his second year, playing out of Cleveland, Ohio on an AAU team. (AAU stands for Amateur Athlete Union). His team is sponsored by LeBron James and Nike. A travel league that competes all over the country. Landon will play with guys his own age in this league, so he’ll be in the 15u, meaning 15 and under. About a dozen tournaments during May and July, with the month of June off. From Las Vegas, Orlando, Nashville, South Carolina, to Georgia, he’ll pit himself against the best players in the country who are his age.
|Young Ari, loving # 3, and hoping he plays for the Hawkeyes….|
So in his semi-half off season, he’ll grow. And eat. And think about girls. He’ll get his driver’s license about Labor Day. Little bit of a scary thought. Every time I give him a ride, he wants to drive my Jeep. Yikes. Really. Yikes. I like my Jeep. A lot. Without dings and scratches. I remember teenage drivers very well. We went through 3 of them years ago. All of them had accidents or tickets within the first couple years. All of them.
|Practicing to be Landon’s biggest cheerleader since 1965…|
Don’t know if any of you caught my tricky meaning in the title, Hoop-LA’s. L A stands for Landon Andrew. Rather clever I thought…
|So this is what all the Hoop-LA is about, 2002…|