One day a Stampeder, now playing in Australia
It's just winter time here, so it's freezing and rainy - like 40-45 degrees everyday. But my teammates are cool and we won our first game, giving us an 8-9 record and currently in 5th place in the conference with 10 games left. The top 4 teams of the two conferences make playoffs.
The style of play seemed really fast to me, which I'm used to - it has a very college basketball-style of play, but just with pro athletes. In the first game I had 8 points and 3 rebounds in just 13 minutes. I didn't know many of the plays, so coach is just fitting me in slowly but I see things are getting better. I'm learning now this week and fully understanding the plays.
We have got two big games this weekend on Saturday and Sunday and then next week from July 2-4. I have a try-out with one of the teams in the first division here in Australia; they're called the "Wollongong Hawk." That will be big for me because it's a great league - and it even pays well! If everything goes well and I'm able to play for a team in the first division, I might just play year-round here but I would still love to come back to the Stampede next season and become The Most Improved Player of the Year and get that call-up!
For many pro basketball players, whether they're in the NBA, NBA D-League, in Spain, Russia or Latvia, the last game of the season ends time in their host city. For 2011-12 Idaho Stampeder Reggie Larry, the end of the season was not the end of his time in Boise.
Reggie Larry has been a legend of sorts in the Treasure Valley since the late 2000s - in 2008, he led Boise State to an NCAA Tournament bid, just the team's fifth ever appearance and first in 14 years. So, when his name popped up at an Idaho Stampede open tryout before the 2011-12 season, he caught the eye of observers, prospective players and coaches.
"I was honestly waiting on a really good offer from someone overseas," Larry said of his plans before the 2011-12 season. "But with the NBA lockout, and how many of the NBA guys all took jobs overseas, it left me here in Boise until October. I hadn't been in Boise past the first of September, so it kept me here until then, and when the tryout with the Stampede came, I didn't want that to pass me by."
Nothing passed by Larry, especially after he was added to the pre-season roster, and then made the opening day cut. Larry ended out starting the fourth game of the season, helping the Stampede win its first game of the year with 28 minutes of energy. Two weeks later, he would string together three straight games of double-figure points and three more of double-digit rebounds, notching two double-doubles in that streak.
When veterans were added and the roster shook with player additions and subtractions (26 players wore a Stampede jersey in 2011-12), Larry stuck around. Although sometimes relegated to less than 20 minutes per game, he was always ready.
"This season went well for me on aspects of learning the game and being a pro and everything that comes with it," Larry said. "Maintaining my body as well as I can for when my name is called - all year that went well. I'm glad to see how I can continue to get better."
"You just have to believe in yourself and have a good circle of people outside of the court. You've got to keep your head up and your mind right and get ready for when your name is called. The key is working on things that can happen to you in the game, and whether or not you're playing, still be able to do it when asked."
Larry used this ability to notch two straight double-doubles in mid-March, including a season-high tying 19 points on March 14. All in all, Larry started 19 games and came off the bench for another 26, with about two and a half months between starts during the middle of the year.
Eventually, the season ended with the Stampede, and now, Larry is still in Boise, but looking for offers.
"If I was to come back with the Stampede next year, it would be as a better and smarter player, as far as what I am on the court; I know it helps having gone to Boise State and being here last year. I want to show some versatility to become a good player in this league."
His goals for this off-season are clear.
"The best thing that could happen for me is to get an invite to a free agent camp or get ready to play in the summer league," Larry said. "I'd like to play in the summer league - would love to play summer league."
So, for now, you may see Reggie Larry driving to get groceries or Reggie Larry working out at a local gym (although he won't do anything athletic now, resting a stress fracture he had in his foot for much of the year) or Reggie Larry shopping at the mall.
But if he's called to a high-profile job overseas or asked to play in the NBA Summer League, you know he will be ready.
"I just want to be ready when my name is called."