4th Annual Nick Voll Memorial Gym Jam

2014 Nick Voll Memorial Gym Jam

The 4th Annual Nick Voll Memorial Gym Jam
A Charity Basketball Tournament and Birthday Celebration
Saturday, May 3rd at 12 Noon – Jim Parsley Center, Vancouver

I’ve moved the tournament to the Jim Parsley Center gym this year, as Trinity was unavailable. We’ll play full court, with a scoreboard, just like in years past. It’s $15 per player to participate.

New This Year
In order to provide the best experience for you guys, I’ve attached a survey below as part of the registration. All questions are required. I’ll adjust the tournament to suit the popular sentiment.

I will form each team, with the help of a roster committee, to ensure the fairest teams possible. The signup sheet will give you a chance to say with whom you’d like to team up, and we’ll try to honor those requests as best we can.

The cost this year is $15, and I can accept cash and checks.

IF YOU ARE WRITING A CHECK: write it out to “The Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools,” who will handle the donations.

Where the Money Goes
My charity of choice is Fort Sports, the sports broadcasting program at Fort Vancouver High School. The program is run by a teacher at Fort, and is staffed by volunteers and students. It broadcasts live football, volleyball, and basketball games to Comcast viewers in Clark County. They’re good people doing good work that benefits the community and gives kids real-life work opportunities.

Here are some links to learn more about Fort Sports:
Fort Sports News Story by Vancouver Public Schools
Fort Sports Documentary (15 minutes running time)
Fort Sports News Story by KATU

Who can play?
This is a competitive, invitation-only event. I am inviting guys with whom I play basketball regularly, as well as some friends I’d like to have at the event. If you’ve been invited, and want to bring a friend, please contact me about it. Since I’m compiling the teams based on talent, height, etc., I’ll need to let you know whether there’s room for another person.

Where? When?

Jim Parsley Center
2901 Falk Road
Vancouver, WA 98661

Saturday, May 3rd
12 Noon

Registration and Poll

All-Time Favorite (and Least Favorite) Trail Blazers

The release of Brandon Roy this week got me thinking about who my all-time favorite Blazers are. Of course, Roy is on the list. Now, I’m not saying these are the most talented players the team ever saw, and you’ll notice that none of them are before 1990 or so. I moved to Oregon in 1988, and started following basketball at the same time. Therefore, these are the guys whom I loved to watch play the most.

Terry Porter – Point Guard
Porter is, to me, the greatest shooter in Trail Blazers history. He was the kind of guy that had you standing up as he shot, because you felt like it was always going to go in (and it quite often did). He also was very smart, and his leadership was key to the two Blazers’ finals runs in the 90’s.

Brandon Roy – Shooting Guard
What more can be said about Brandon, other than that he was supremely gifted, a natural leader, and a top-ten NBA player when his knees finally gave out. He was deft around the basket, was unstoppable with his step-back jumper, and had an innate sense of time and place when it came down to the end of the game.

Clyde Drexler – Small Forward
It’s kind of a cheat, but I put Clyde at the Small Forward Spot. He can handle it. Clyde always had that incredible athleticism, and a “how’d he do that?!” kind of game. His shot was too flat, he could do nothing with his left hand, and yet he consistently made plays. He was also the kind of guy you’d love to hang out with.

Rasheed Wallace – Power Forward
Rasheed was a knucklehead, to be sure, but he was OUR knucklehead. The guy was so naturally good at basketball, that the game itself seemed to come easy to him. I always felt like no matter what, through all the technical fouls and other nonsense, that Rasheed cared about winning.

Arvydas Sabonis – Center
It’s been well documented that Arvydas was past his prime when the Blazers finally got him, but he was still mesmerizing to watch play. That flat, flip of a 3-pointer. Those no look drop passes to cutters. That scowl when he would bang against Shaq in big games.

The Bench
Wesley Matthews
Although he has the well-earned reputation as a grinder, the label belies Matthews’s impressive skill-set. I think he has grown as a player each of the years he’s been in Portland, even if his stats are fairly static. He’s a smart, witty guy, and I think that he brings that intelligence to the court.

Rod Strickland
Another polarizing figure for some, I always felt Rod Strickland was like watching lightning. He was so quick, and as a high school player, I would tape my fingers just like Strickland, and try to BE him when I played.

LaMarcus Aldridge
I love watching LaMarcus play. He gets bagged on at times for being “soft,” which is a label I’ll never understand. All the guy does is hit shots and rebound. You can’t name another player with his kind of shooting touch, who also bangs down low like Reggie Evans. It’s one or the other. I’ll take the really talented guy who can score in a wide variety of ways.

Cliff Robinson
Uncle Cliffy! Another dynamic inside-out big, Cliff Robinson was always so easy to root for, and not just for his trademark headband. When he stepped up against David Robinson in the playoffs his rookie year, without backing down, he won my heart forever.

Kevin Duckworth
With his weight struggles, it’s easy to forget that Kevin Duckworth was a two-time all-star in the 90’s, when the Western Conference was packed with talented centers. That sweet jump hook and push jump shot was automatic, and he always seemed like a guy you wanted on your side.

Ime Udoka
If you can’t cheer for a guy like Ime Udoka, then you probably have no soul. Obviously, the fact he’s from Portland helps, but he was really the glue to the transition year the Blazers had from the Jail Blazers era to the Roy-Aldridge era. He’s proof that you don’t have the be the team’s star to be the team’s leader. His corner three was deadly, and he was a lock-down defender. It’s no wonder the Spurs stole him away.

Damon Stoudamire
Another guy from Portland, Damon always got a bad rap from his hometown fans. I am not sure why they thought he’d be the same guy who averaged 20 points a game for Toronto, when he was never going to get the number of shots he did on those bad Raptors teams. I appreciated that Damon looked to be aggressive, not necessarily just for his own shot. He wanted to win more than anything else.

The Rest
Greg Anthony
Nicolas Batum
Mario Elie
Jarrett Jack
Fred Jones
Richie Frahm
Damian Lillard
Robert Pack
Martell Webster
Brian Grant
Jerome Kersey
Travis Outlaw

Least Favorite Blazers Ever
Looking over the list of past Blazers, I realized there are guys for whom I always hated to cheer. For most of them, it was their games on the court, not who they were as people.

Luke Babbitt
I’m sure he’s a nice person, but he’s useless on the court. I always feel like he’s not shooting to make the shot, but rather not to miss. The fact he can’t do anything else but shoot three-pointers makes him a liability. And let’s face it: he has kind of a punchable face.

Chris Dudley
Politically, he’s a carpet-bagging douchebag. But I disliked him long before I knew any of that. Wildly untalented, he was like watching a gangly JV center who you knew was someday going to grow into his body. The problem was, Dudley was fully-grown.

Raymond Felton
Donuts, donuts, donuts. Plus, I don’t know if you knew this, but his horrible play wasn’t his fault, or at least that’s what he’s told me.

Jeff McInnis
Another North Carolina point guard disaster. McInnis was the classic “all ability, no game” NBA player. He coasted by his whole life by being quicker than everybody else, but never worked hard to develop the skills to truly excel when faced with equally gifted players. I dreaded every missed open jumper and stupid turnover.

Darius Miles
Miles takes the cake for squandered ability. 6’9″ with a huge wingspan, Miles looked like he should have been good at basketball, but he wasn’t. He couldn’t shoot, and wasn’t smart enough to contribute in other ways. On the plus side, he did a really nice job acting in his cameo in Van Wilder, so you know, that’s nice.

What do you think? Who were your favorite and least favorite players?

Gym Jam Results

The tournament is done, and it was a big success! We raised about $330 for a good cause, and had a lot of fun playing basketball. My team was the champion of this event just 2 years ago, but came in dead last – winless – this time around.

Congrats to the winners, Heating Up, who avenged a narrow loss and defeated Wild Shot to take the title. Here’s a link to the games: Click here.

Gym Jam Rosters

3rd annual nick voll memorial gym jam. Saturday, April 27th. Noon to 4pm. Trinity Lutheran School. $15 to play.Okay, guys, no more waiting! I have the rosters for the 3rd Annual Nick Voll Memorial Gym Jam!

After some good-natured grousing about last year’s teams, I decided to consult Patrick, Eric, and Brian to make sure things were stacked up fairly, and I believe they are. If you have serious concerns, please let me know.

Because we’re combining groups of guys who have never played together, I tried to make sure we were able to get as many guys playing with their friends as possible. However, two teams are “mixed” for fairness.

Okay, enough stalling!


Heating Up

On Fire (defending champs!)

Wild Shot

From Downtown

There they are! You’ll notice that all of the team names are taken directly from the catchphrases from the announcer on NBA Jam, this year’s inspiration. I will be bringing my Super Nintendo and my copy of NBA Jam for your video game enjoyment while you’re waiting to play.

Are you ready for this?