Albany Patroons 117, Rochester 99, Chuck happy

It was almost as if I never left.

On a frost-numbing Saturday night, I attended my first Albany Patroons game in nine years.  Of course, it was also the Patroons’ first game in nine years, but that’s semantics.

And with a courtside ticket in my hand, I had an amazing time watching the gold and kelly green win on opening night against the Rochester Razorsharks, 117-99, in a game that wasn’t even THAT close.

With a courtside ticket in my hand, and my game-used Kareem Reid home jersey from the 2006-07 season, I was ready for a great match.

Of course, it took a while to actually GET to the seat – had to say hello to lots and lots of people along the way.  Big hug to Derrick Rowland, the head coach of the Patroons.  High-five to DeAndre Thomas, who last played here in Albany as a member of the IBA’s Albany Legends, a summer league team who won their championship in essentially the Washington Avenue Sweatbox.

I hd been waiting for a matchup between Rochester and Albany for what seemed like an eternity.  When the Rochester RazorSharks left the ragtag American Basketball Association in 2007, I hoped they would join the Patroons’ league, the Continental Basketball Association.  Man, that would have been a sweet rivalry.  But the Sharks formed their own circuit, the Premier Basketball League, and the Patroons (along with the CBA) folded in February 2009.

Now the Patroons and the RazorSharks – along with six other teams spread across the continent – are part of the North American Premier Basketball League.  And I finally get my rivalry.

Damn it was fun to watch last night.

And I mean watch.  I didn’t bring any of my cameras – I thought about it, I really did,  but for a change I just wanted to sit in the stands and drink soda and eat chips and cheer for the gold and kelly green.

That, and get to follow the action of the new generation of Patroons.  Damn, that’s Smush Parker, the former LA Laker.  Bet he’s glad to not be on a team with Lonzo Ball. 😀

More high-fives.  More hellos.  More how do you do’s.  More … hey, I’m right here in the front row, and I’m right in front of the basket …

Chuck, why are you grabbing your BlackBerry KEYone?  Are you checking your messages?  Are you sending a text?

No, Chuck’s not.  Let’s get some action photos from this little bad boy.

Yeah, that’s one of the new Patroons, Torren Jones, a 6’9″ forward from Fresno State who has an affinity for slam dunks, as you see here.

Hey, when the Albany Patroons repost your Instagram shot on their Instagram feed … that’s church right there.

Okay, Chuck, you got the action shot.  Now put your smart phone back in your pocket.  All right, just one more action photo.  Maybe a still shot.  Maybe –

Hey, what’s this setting on the camera phone.  Slow-Motion?

This camera can take slow motion shots?

Well, well, well… that’s Anthony Estes, a 6’7″ small forward, with the circus shot.  Holy Research in Motion, Batman, this camera DOES have a sweet slow-mo capability!

Also, Albany’s leading at the half.

And they have a special halftime performance by – who is that?  I’ve heard this person before … singing that song before … on a guitar before … gotta get a closer look.

Yep, it’s Moriah Formica, who would probably make a decent shooting guard if given the chance.

I should note that not everything on opening night worked.  There was an issue with the shot clocks on the backboards, they didn’t work and the announcer had to call out the time during the game.  And you need to find on-street parking when you arrive at the Armory – the various lots will charge you mercilessly.  Seriously?  $10 for parking when you’re already paying $10 for a game ticket?

Oh yeah, and the other thing that didn’t work?  Rochester’s offense.  One of their big guns, Nick Wardell, played like someone tied his shoelaces together.  Dude had more turnovers than a pastry shop.

In the end, Torren Jones led all Patroons in scoring with a big fat 29 points; DeAndre Thomas, Lloyd Johnson and Smush Parker all scored in double figures.  Albany’s 2-0 on this young season, and I’m loving every minute of it.

Monday night, Albany hosts the Ohio Cardinals at 7pm at the Armory.

See you there.  For sure.