Haven’t talked much about Landon (Drew to the rest of the world) lately. I’m in denial. For sure. But excited. Any recent newbies reading my blog, Landon is my 18 year old grandson. His middle name is Andrew. When he was 4, Landon decided he’d rather be known as Drew. Sigh. I like the name Drew, but I love the name Landon. To me, he’ll always be Landon, but I’m in a very small minority of 1.
|Landon 4, changing his name to Drew, except for me…|
Although he wasn’t born on a basketball court, if I hadn’t been there myself, I would have sworn Landon came out spinning a basketball on his index finger. He’s the epitome of slang speak, ‘Gym Rat.’ Landon’s dad Tracey was Jackson High’s basketball coach at the time, so by the time L was 2, (and still in diapers), he was a regular on the team. Landon didn’t see himself as a 34 inch mascot, he was just one of the guys. It took several serious talks, over & over to convince Landon he could not run out onto the court during games. If he wanted to sit on the bench and stand in the circle during time outs he absolutely had to stay off the court. There is no doubt in my mind, these formative years with daddy and his high school team on the court have shaped Landon into the player he is today.
|One of Landon’s first travel teams, he’s in the middle, bottom row…|
There’s no denying Landon’s got talent up the wazoo. But there’s so much more. By junior high, he’d somehow magically acquired (and was utilizing) this uncanny ability to “see or read” the court during a game. Didn’t always end well because Landon’s picture perfect, threaded passes through 4 different players were not always anticipated by the rest of the team. Still most of his teammates eventually caught on and were ready when he zip lined the ball to them. Since he hit his teens, Landon’s been in the gym by 5 am. Everyday of his life. Not just basketball season. He has played and practiced year round since middle school. He practices before practice, lifts weights, strength training, shooting copious amounts of free throws and 3 pointers, over and over. Watches hours of basketball films. Although he makes everything look easy, Landon’s certainly clocked in the hours. He’s wildly talented, smart, good looking, sure of himself, likable, charismatic plus kinda cocky. (Occasionally prone to talk trash).
|Number 3, Landon, 2017…|
Deciding which college basketball scholarship to accept is every parent’s dream. Landon had several college offers and after visiting various campuses, chose Holy Cross, near Boston. The college is run by Jesuit priests. Goodness & mercy abounds. Shannon, Tracey and Landon were all impressed with every aspect about Holy Cross. Famous, successful alumni from all walks of life, everything from CEO’s, to a Supreme Court justice. (And the alumni wholeheartedly support their alma mater, making Holy Cross one of the highest endowment donating colleges in the country) You can pretty much go anywhere, write your own ticket, do anything after graduation. Get this. His freshman year at Holy Cross is the equivalent (approximately) of what we paid for our little HUD home before extensive renovations 3 years ago. One year of education, including basketball. Oh. My. Word.
|Another 3 for number 3…|
While I’m a little bummed Holy Cross is 800 miles away, I’m happy with Landon’s choice. I’m all about playing time. Minutes matter. Is it more advantageous to play for a bigger school, sit the bench for a couple years and get minimal time on the floor? Or play for a smaller school and get the chance as a freshman to make a huge difference, be a star with some serious playing time? I think Landon’s gonna own that Patriot league.
|Racking up some points for Pioneer, 2017…|
I’m here to offer helpful suggestions for the rest of his college life. (Yeah, that’s what his gram is for). I’ve no doubt he’ll be an enormous asset and very successful on the court, but my hope is for him to be as equally successful off the court. I don’t see classes posing a problem. (Holy Cross does not recruit players with a gpa under 3.2). So we’re good on basketball and studies. I hope. Dude, study. Seriously, though in this day and age, you must remember this one thing at all times. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, rest assured someone is recording you or snapping pictures. Of you. Every time. Every. Single. Time.
Now I’m gonna advise him on charisma and cockiness. Landon draws people in. Which is great, as long as you’re attracting good people. But I hope he’s not only drawn to athletes. That’s a mighty small circle. Just be nice. To everyone. It’s really that simple. Acknowledge the kid (and mean it) from South Dakota, who at 5’5” might not know (or care) you’re a jock, but is literally studying to become a rocket scientist. Smile, say ‘hi’ and be sincere to gals and guys who aren’t in your social circles. Just be nice. Be polite. Be courteous. Being a nice guy doesn’t hurt you. It gives you enormous mass appeal. You want to leave your mark on your college years? This is how it’s done. You’ll be a rock star. Remembered fondly by everyone, from all walks of life. That’s how you’re gonna leave a mark on Holy Cross, besides on the basketball court.
|About the truth that game. My man…|
So Landon’s senior year of basketball starts Monday night. How can this be? I’m not ready. Three years ago, as a freshman, Shannon forwarded me a letter to Landon from his coach saying, congratulations, he’d made the Varsity team. (Including the sentence, ‘don’t get too cocky. You’re making great strides offensively, but you have to work harder defensively’). Which he has made a priority since. I was disappointed but not with Rex’s insight. I thought Landon would sit the bench the whole season, instead of getting some serious playing time starting on JV. While he didn’t ‘start’ his freshman year, he did get adequate minutes right off the bat. The first time Landon went into the game it was mid-way through the first half. Landon immediately nailed a 3-pointer against one of Ann Arbor Pioneer’s city rivals. The whole student section erupted with, “he’s a freshman, he’s a freshman!” (I cried). How about the time he scored 29 points, 9 three-pointers and a jumper, in the first HALF of a tournament game? (I bawled). Or winning a three point shooting contest against some of the best high school players in his age group? Landon walked off the court and handed me his trophy. (I sobbed all the way back to the hotel). These are a fraction of his high school standout moments. I truly hope and believe he’s not done making highlights (on the baskeball court and off) for this gram just yet…
|My notebook to keep Landon’s stats. Senior year for # 3. Sob….|