This tells the story of Mike Smiths' journey in summer league basketball.
| Mike Smith is an average kid that loves basketball and his goal is to be the best basketball player in the world. Mike is an easy kid to spot because he is 6'7", so he really pops out in the crowd. He thinks he is the best player in the nation and so does everyone in his school. When he plays his junior high games everyone comes to watch him. Since Mike thinks he is the best he decided one day that he wanted to play the best.
Mike decided that it was time that he should join an AAU team to prove his skill to the nation. When he got there he found a gym full of kids waiting to try out, so he decided to join them in shooting. When the coach came in Mike instantly knew who he was. He was the local coaching legend Al Butler. Known for his tough practices and success at the state level Al is known all around the county. Coach Butler called everyone to the center circle and before the try out even before the try out started someone was walking so he got kicked out. Coach Butler told the guys that everyone was not going to make it but he was keeping 10 players. Mike knew he was going to be one of those. They did sprints until someone collapsed and got kicked out. Then, they did lay-ups followed by scrimaging. Mike was dead after the try out but he still made the team. The players that made it were givin a practice schedule and were told to go home and rest.
When Mike read the practice schedule he was shocked. He had never seen such a busy schedule just for basketball. It was a good thing Mike loved basketball because if he didn't he probably would have quit. The first week of practice was conditioning because AAU is so much faster then school ball. Coach Butler swore that if someone didn't puke they would run the whole practice. After 45 minutes of sprints, Will Dawkins a highly respected area player, vomited at center court and had to clean it up while everyone else shot free throws. Whem Will was done the sprints started up again. After the brutal practice Mike was exhausted and was ready to crash. When he got home it was around 10:30 at night. The next day he had a team run at 5:30 am. When everyone got there they did their calistenics and then got on their way through the woods. The rule was that you didn't stop until the coach blew the whistle. The team ran for so long until Coach Butler finally blew the whistle at about 11:15 am. Mike asked his coach why they ran so long after the team assembled around the coach. Coach Butler said:
"Suck it up! If you have enough energy to argue with me, then you can go do wall sits on those trees."
That is exactly what he did, and he did it for 3 hours and his legs felt like rubber. Coach Butler walked over to Mike when Mike was in obvious pain and said:
"I only want to make you better and you will never get better if you have a loud mouth. Remember this, Your mouth speaks words but your game tells stories. Now go home."
After conditioning, practice was still bad but it wasn't as bad as conditioning. Soon enough the first tournament was coming up. It was the Lebron James tournament in Akron, Ohio.
When the team arrived and started clearing the bus on their way to the hotel, Mike and Will got into a fight about who would get off first. Mike's idea was that since he was a better basketball player, he should get off first. Will's idea was that Mike just had a big ego and Mike wasn't as good as what he thought he was. When their ego's clashed that day, that was when they lost the tournament mentally. When they got in they started to unpack and get dressed for the game. When it was time to leave for their first game they had to travel across the city. Mike was overwhelmed by all the people because he was just from rural Iowa. When they got to the gym they were all amazed by the size of the gym. Once they got all of the big time butterflies out of their stomach they began to warm up. They knew that the other team was from North Carolina but knew nothing else. When the other team walked in Mike's jaw must have dropped, hit the floor and bounced back up because they were huge!
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