Well Landon’s (Drew to the rest of the world) sophomore season of basketball at Pioneer is done. It went much too fast and I’m not ready to give it up yet. Probably my feelings of guilt because I missed 2 games while on vacation. Some grandma I turned out to be. Slacker. Should be taking vacations during the summer like normal people. I’ve never been normal and I detest winter with a passion. Living in Michigan doesn’t help. Long winters. Very long.
|Landon taking a shot, 2017…|
The season had it’s ups and downs. On a whole, his freshman year was better with more wins. But he’s matured a lot this year. He never started last year, averaging about 16 minutes a game. Going in each quarter about the 3-4 minute mark and playing until the buzzer. Landon started every game he played this season, averaging about 28 minutes a game. Not very many minutes when he wasn’t running the floor.
|Does that new hair color job make him jump higher?|
That doesn’t mean there weren’t a few hiccups this year. He got hurt a couple of times. And almost always at practice. Landon was hit in the side of his face/neck/shoulder, knocking him out. He couldn’t break his fall thus hit his head on the court. He didn’t regain consciousness for several minutes, so a road trip to U of M Hospital via ambulance commenced. (I may have to wear a disguise during next seasons practice to find out just how rough they get. Who was that punk anyway?) Diagnosis was a concussion. Although Landon did his best after a couple of days to convince everyone he was fine, Michigan law states (and wisely so) a concussion warrants a week off, minimum.
|Awesome shot Landon…|
Plus a couple of allergy issues, so there were a couple games when he didn’t play at all. I was lost when he wasn’t on the floor. So was Pioneer. They lost every game he didn’t play in. Not saying they won all the games he did play in, but they definitely did better when Landon was playing and running the court.
His left foot foot has been troubling him again at times. Geez-oh-Pete that stinking foot. (Quite literally after a game-whew). Specialist thinks it a haywire nerve imbedded in scar tissue. Brought on by the 2 stress fractures, or did the nerve cause Landon to adjust his gait causing stress fractures? It’s not getting any worse, so the plan is getting this little issue fixed in June. Once and for all I hope.
|No problems snaking past most defenders…|
With starting, playing more minutes, his point averages have been higher too. I’m still keeping Landon’s stats in my little magnetic journal like I did last year. Now I’m afraid to make a change and use some new fangled professional stat sheet. Don’t want to jinx anything. Got to keep up my own quirky way of keeping reliable information at hand. If I get caught up in an exciting game, I may miss a foul (he doesn’t tend to foul much, but guards so close he often causes turnovers-Dude you rock!), or forget to jot down a missed shot (hate to chart those anyway, but I gotta) but I rarely (and I do mean rarely) ever miss one of his baskets or free throws. Heck, I’ve read Coach Rex’s after game summaries and he’s been wrong more often on Landon’s point total than I have. Rex dude, not rocking it.
I’ll have to wait until after the winters sports banquet when all of Landon’s stats are on a spread sheet to see just how accurate I was this year. (They’re almost impossible for this gram to read and figure out). According to Gram (ATG) I have this year’s game point average about 14. One of his best games (I didn’t know it then) that’s stuck with me all winter was kind of strange. A conference away game and about the farthest we have to travel. Maybe a little over an hour for us from our house. A farming community named Bedford-complete opposite of hip Ann Arbor. Home of the ‘Kicking Mules.’ I kid you not.
|High scorer again. Way to go Landon, 2017…|
I like arriving at games rather early, get my popcorn and pop out of the way so’s not to disrupt my efficient bookkeeping tasks. Both teams are on the floor warming up with about 10 minutes to tipoff. Coaches on either side are watching players, discussing strategy or deciding where to have a beer afterward the game. Landon jogs to the center court with a ball. Using the center court line, he dribbles between his legs, spinning, stops, pivots, twists, dribbling behind his back very fast. When he gets close to out of bounds, he repeats the same thing-but backwards. Sometimes dribbling at warp speed and bouncing the ball about an inch off the ground. So cool to watch. Reminds me of something that was said about what a fabulous dancer Fred Astaire was-leading up to the great comeback about Ginger Rogers-yeah, well, she did the same thing in heels-backwards.
|Move along folks. I got this…|
How come I’m so slow on the draw to record these moments? My phone is just idling away while I watch this super talented athlete. A cardinal sin for sure. Better yet, I should have used the camera to tape the 2 Kicking Mules coaches on the sidelines. They stopped talking, started watching and were absolutely mesmerized. Both their jaws unhinged and drop to the court with a clunk. They were unable to tear their gaze away from this ball handler extraordinaire. Yeah, I’d pay money to have that little video go viral. Ha. Landon, unfazed and unaware stopped after 2 or 3 back and forths, dribbled to the 3 point line and tossed in 4 in a row. Oh my.
|My shy little introvert…|
Ann Arbor won 77-73. Landon had 24, nearly one third of the point total. His game and year has been pretty good. Pioneer made it to the Regional finals this year-a surprise for many. Goes to show when your teams clicking, underdogs win. There was a write up about the 4 teams playing that night by Prep Hoops. It gave me a huge lump and made me cry.
|Pioneer may have the best 2019 point guard in the state in Drew Lowder…|
What’s in store? AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) is starting soon and changes there too. Landon will probably play for Detroit (his nemesis for the last few years) and not out of Cleveland (saving a lot of travel time for him and dad). He’s also toying with the idea and being a 2 sport athlete. Something the orthopedic doc recommended. Do another sport to use different muscles. He’s mulling baseball. Oh my stars!!
|Lots of talent in this kid…|
I hope I haven’t made Landon sound like he’s a perfect player. He’s not. He does possess this uncanny ability to ‘see’ the court differently than many players. Almost like a chess game and Landon has the vision of the next 6 moves. But since not all players have this unearthly blip, he can become impatient with his teammates while they catch up to move 4 when he’s already on move 8. My hope is he continues to grow, mature, learn more and hone his skills. He’s got some God given talent, no doubt about it.
|Landon dribbled right by him…|
The Iowa Hawkeyes did not make it to the big dance this year. They’re very young and will be loads better for the next couple years. It’s no secret I’d love for Landon to play for Iowa, or pretty much anyone in the Big 10. We were watching the Hawks play in the NIT tourney last weekend when I saw something very odd on the court. The game was at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and a Hawkeye was shooting free throws. On the floor in front of the Hawks bench was a large painted sign on the floor. All it said was ‘Pioneer.’ Coincidence? Nah. Very subtle. Trying to woo my boy to Iowa. Well played Fran. Well played.
|Such a subtle way to woo Landon to Iowa…|
Will Landon be good enough to play for a big time college? Don’t know, but certainly praying he will be. I hope when his high school sports career is over he is remembered fondly as a superb athlete-with a lot of heart. Admired and respected by the kids he played with and against. This picture pretty much sums it up. Until then, I’ll be in the stands, magnetic journal in hand, phone camera no where to be found, rooting for this amazing ball player…
|Showing support and good sportsmanship. Great job Landon….|