Scrimmaging with the Sacramento Kings: departing players inspired, shaped CD athletes

“RIP Joe and Gavin Maloof! The city of Sacramento, including myself, is coming to get you 2!”—Tom Lincoln,`11

Sacramento (19th) will be the largest media market in the country without a professional sports team. Why, Kings, why?”—Michael Lewis, `09

Speechless. The city deserves better.”—Paul Kessler, `11.

The Kings are taking a piece of me and my childhood with them if they leave for Seattle.”—Senior Brandon Mysicka

Gonna’ have a good cry today. Bottom line: Seattle is doing to Sacramento what Oklahoma City did to Seattle four years ago.”—Case Nichols, `11.

So, maybe you’ve heard. It looks like the Kings could be leaving Sacramento, again.

While there is still no final deal, owners Joe and Gavin Maloof are reportedly in the last stages of an agreement that will send the Kings to play in Seattle’s KeyArena.

Unless an alternative buyer in Sacramento is found, the deal likely will go through.

For many students this is a heartbreaking turn of events.

Last year a similar situation arose when the Kings were reportedly about to be shipped off to Anaheim or Virginia Beach.

Kings’ fans, including many at Country Day, rallied around their team. Social movements like “Here We Stay” gained enormous popularity, petitions flew and eventually the deal was shot down and the Kings remained for another season.

A year later, the Maloofs are at it again, purportedly finding buyers in Microsoft chairman Steve Ballmer and hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen.

At SCDS, support for the Kings runs deep.

Country Day has frequently hosted Kings’ players in our own gym; I’ve shot with former King Quincy Douby a number of times, scrimmaged with current forward Jason Thompson and rebounded for forward Francisco Garcia.

Once I had one of my shots blocked so hard by former King Donte Green, it hit the emergency exit sign above the gym door.

Other members of past school teams, including Robbie Lemons, `10 (now playing varsity basketball at Stanford), and Richard Walter, `11, also have spent hours playing with Kings’ players.

The experience has been significant for everyone who has stepped on the court with the towering players, and for Walter it was especially so.

“I wanted to work harder after being on the court with them,” Walter said.

“It was a really cool experience.”

Basketball coach David Ancrum has an extensive background in professional basketball.

Ancrum played from 1987-1992 for a professional team in Greece and became the first scorer in team history with 3,500 points. He also played in Israel.

According to Ancrum, former Kings’ coach and player Reggie Theus, former Golden State Warrior Demarcus Nelson and Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks headline a long list of pros to stop by 2636 Latham Drive.

“Guys from all over come in to play knowing that it’s tough; the competition is tight. Playing with NBA players makes you better,” he said.

Until a deal goes through, Kings fans at Country Day are wondering if every game they watch at the Sleep Train Arena could be their last.

For those who have been able to play with and get to know Kings’ players, seeing them go will be all the more painful.

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