Game #9-165: Appalachian State at Missouri-Kansas City KangaroosDecember 16, 2012 2:05 pm
His name is Snoop, but you only know that because a strong feminine voice behind you is screaming it on every possession. Stay with him, Snoop! Watch weakside, Snoop! There you go, Snoop! It's OK, Snoop!
When she's not yelling, the woman is explaining Snoop's life story. His brother, Skyler, has a two-year-old son named Josiah. Skyler left home to play basketball when he graduated high school, but he transferred back to a local NAIA school because he couldn't stand being away from Josiah. He would hear stories about Josiah on the phone
from his mother, and he would miss his son so much he could barely stand it.
Snoop used to have braids, but he decided to cut his hair this year. He went to high school at Wyandotte. His nickname has no affiliation to the rapper Snoop Dogg.
You have never met Snoop before, but you already feel like he's your best friend. The name on the back of Snoop's white-and-blue UMKC jersey says "Hall." As in Trinity Hall.
The woman behind me is his mother.
"Snoop is such a mama's boy," she says before the game starts.
When the public address announcer begins his pre-game introductions, you know it's Trinity Hall's turn to run on the court even before the booming voice calls his name.
"From Kansas City, Kansas..."
On the first possession of the game, the officials whistle Snoop for a foul. A few minutes later, before even the first media timeout, he picks up another foul. Hit the bench, Snoop.
"Snoop used to play with four fouls in high school because they didn't have anybody else on the bench," his mother says.
But UMKC has a lot of players on the bench, so Snoop will have to sit for the rest of the first half. His mom is disappointed. So is Snoop's sister, whose young son is roaming around the stands with an orange whistle in the shape of a basketball. When Appalachian State shoots a free throw, he blows the whistle in an attempt to disrupt the shot. He runs back and forth between his grandmother and his mom, who's wearing a sweartshirt with the words "Senior '11" on it. Snoop is sitting on the bench, but his family stays focused on the game. This is a game UMKC can win. It lost by 52 points to Louisville last Saturday and faces Iowa State on Wednesday, but as Snoop's mom explains, Appalachian State has lost its last seven games.
"They're playing all these games against these big teams this year," she says, "But they can win this one."
They didn't end up winning. Snoop played only 10 minutes and scored four points. The rest of his team fell apart midway through the second half, so his mom and sister and nephew and girlfriend and other family members will now have to wait a few anxious days for the next game.
Somewhere out there, the families of the other players and coaches involved in this game are watching. If they live nearby, some of them are probably in the Swinney Recreation Center, seeing the action with their own eyes. Others are probably listening to the radio or following some sort of Gametracker on the Internet
I thought maybe the Korvers would be the kind of people that might make a trek to their son's game, so I looked for them all over the arena. The Korvers have four sons. Kyle plays for the Atlanta Hawks
after etching his name in Creighton history as one of the best players to ever come through the program. Klayton played on a Drake team that won the Missouri Valley Conference in 2008. Kaleb played for Creighton, too.
Kirk Korver is the only kid in the family not to play in the Missouri Valley. But, as Snoop's mom points out, Kirk is just like the rest of his brothers.
"They're all the same, all three-point specialists," she says.
He missed all three of his attempts from beyond the arc, but you can tell he's a Korver just by looking at him. Shaggy hair, distinguished features and a demeanor that screams small-town Iowa basketball. The Korvers are from Pella, Iowa, and after Kirk presumably graduates after next season, they'll no longer have any reason to road-trip across the Midwest to see Mid-Majority basketball games.
Like the Korvers, the Wedels are familiar with Our Game. Near the end of the first half, Snoop's mom mentions how much she loves number four, Mason Wedel. "I don't even see him on the bench, though. I don't know where he is."
He wasn't on the bench because he was somewhere more important.
"Oh, wow, he's actually in the game. Look, he's on the court," Snoop's mom says. "Good."
I remembered a Ryan Wedel from Drake. I couldn't imagine there were many Wedels roaming around basketball courts in America, and my quick Google search confirmed that the two are in fact brothers. Ryan was a very good player in the Missouri Valley, but his brother is just a freshman. He has a long way to go.
He plays hard, though.
"He was diving all over the floor at the end of that Louisville game," Snoop's mom says.
I don't know if the Wedels were in the building on this particular afternoon (although they have been spotted by the Picket Fences already this season
) but I'm willing to bet they were hiding somewhere among the quiet, relaxed crowd.
I can say with certainty, however, that Jason Capel's brother was not at the game. Jason, the head coach of Appalachian State and a former star at North Carolina, is not the most famous Capel in his family. That title goes to his brother Jeff, the former VCU and Oklahoma coach who got booted from Above the Red Line and now works as an assistant under Coach K at Duke. Jason looks just like Jeff, except skinner, taller and more baby-faced. Duke doesn't have a game until Wednesday, so maybe Jeff was watching the game via an illegal stream on a sketchy European website.
Jason Capel may have once played in a Final Four for UNC., but the most recognizable person in the building was a college kid sitting in the fifth row of the stands.
"Am I the only person that notices that Travis Releford is sitting over there?" Snoop's sister says.
Travis and his brother, Trever, a guard at Alabama, have come out on their day off to watch some of their local buddies play. Snoop's mom says Trever used to play with Snoop, but she can't remember where he goes to school. Oklahoma, she thinks. Or maybe Oklahoma State. Doesn't matter, she says. But everyone in the building knows Travis plays at Kansas. if you didn't know, you could tell by his bright blue Jayhawk warmup jacket.
When I walked into the bathroom during halftime, I heard a father mutter to his son that Travis Releford was here.
"He plays for KU basketball. He's signing autographs."
This game was at a tiny student rec center, where popcorn cost one dollar and the guy who made a halfcourt shot at halftime won just 50 dollars. None of the players involved in the actual game were signing autographs.
But as I walked out onto the court after returning from the restroom, I noticed a young boy getting his picture taken with Travis in the stands. It looked like a proud moment for his father.
Nobody wanted any pictures with Snoop after the game, but there's no need to feel sorry for him.
"He told me once, 'Mom, I've played against a lot of great teams and I've done just fine against them. And if I can just keep playing like this for the rest of my time here, I think I'll be happy."
He just needs to stay out of foul trouble next time.APPALACHIAN STATE 81, at MISSOURI-KANSAS CITY 71
APPALACHIAN STATE 2-7 (0-1) -- N. Healy 4-7 0-0 9; T. Baskin 7-12 4-6 18; M. Neal 1-2 2-2 4; J. Canty 4-8 4-6 12; J. Trice 5-9 2-2 16; T. Hamilton 4-5 8-8 17; M. Obacha 1-4 3-6 5; C. Burgess 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-47 23-30 81.
MISSOURI-KANSAS CITY 4-6 (1-1) -- N. Kirksey 8-8 2-3 18; E. Tyler 4-6 4-4 15; N. Rogers 1-5 0-0 2; T. Staton 4-10 4-4 12; F. Chatmon 2-2 0-0 4; A. Tanner 2-5 2-2 6; C. Johnson 3-5 0-0 6; K. Korver 0-3 2-2 2; M. Wedel 0-1 0-0 0; T. Hall 1-3 2-2 4; J. Burke 0-0 0-0 0; B. Reid 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 26-51 16-17 71.
Three-point goals: APST 6-11 (J. Trice 4-5; N. Healy 1-2; J. Canty 0-1; T. Hamilton 1-2; M. Neal 0-1), UMKC 3-14 (T. Staton 0-1; N. Rogers 0-3; K. Korver 0-3; E. Tyler 3-4; C. Johnson 0-1; A. Tanner 0-1; M. Wedel 0-1); Rebounds: APST 20 (J. Canty 6), UMKC 19 (F. Chatmon 3); Assists: APST 15 (M. Neal 4), UMKC 10 (N. Rogers 4); Total Fouls -- APST 17, UMKC 20; Fouled Out: APST-None; UMKC-None.
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