The Springbrook High School boys’ basketball team in Silver Spring is 7-3 — a shaky 7-3. But if those boys could handle the press, cut down on turnovers, rebound better and make a few more free throws, this might be a title-season-in-progress for the Blue Devils.
This would make Couch Slouch a champion stepfather for the first time.
Here is your Springbrook starting five:
(I’ll get back to Isaiah in a moment — he’s got homework to do, anyway.)
Let me first tell you about crusty coach Tom Crowell, who is 65 going on prehistoric. The man everyone calls “Coach” is old school — I believe he once benched George Washington for telling a lie — and a hard-nosed disciplinarian; Crowell makes Bobby Knight look like Richard Simmons.
But sometimes when Springbrook is struggling, a few Blue Devil boosters and parents start grumbling about Coach. To all the armchair coaches in the stands, I would say two things: (1) the man won an unprecedented three straight Maryland Class 4A state championships from 2008 to 2010, so he might know what he’s doing and (2) every job is harder than it looks.
(Frankly, the only job that’s not harder than it looks is mine: I sit at home most days watching sports on TV; the only requirement for this work is to own a TV.)
Let me tell you about junior guards Andrew and Aaron Robinson, who most people simply call “Twin” or “Twins,” because, well, they’re twins. People can’t tell the two apart, other than the fact that Andrew has a twisted hair style and Aaron has a close crop; if they ever switched ‘dos, they could pull off a world-class scam.
Both have exceptional shooting and ball-handling abilities. Andrew is the team’s leading scorer — his shot is so sweet-looking, even when it misses it looks like it’s going in — and Aaron is a top reserve. But I love the twins more for their off-court skills; each is smart and engaging. Andrew is the opinion editor of the school newspaper, Aaron is the sports editor of the yearbook — who says print is dying?
I asked Aaron who is smarter. “You ask me, I’ll say me. You ask him, he’ll say him.”
So I asked Andrew. “Me,” he said with a broad smile, patting his chest several times.
They’re inseparable, with hopes of playing basketball at the same college.
Aaron concedes Andrew is the better player right now but says, “I’ve beaten him five of the last six times we’ve played one-on-one.”
Andrew explains, “He just dribbles the ball around the court forever till I don’t care anymore and then he shoots.”
Aaron often subs for Andrew in the rare instances when Coach goes to his bench.
(With 45 seconds left in the first half of a recent game, Coach walked over to Aaron and yelled: “Get in for your brother. Hurry up!” Hurry up? If I were Aaron, I would’ve looked back at Coach and said, “Why don’t you hurry up and put me in a little earlier?” but, then, he’d be riding the bench until his 25-year high school reunion.)
Let me tell you about Isaiah, a 6-foot-5 junior forward on the uptick. He doesn’t talk to me on game days, which is fine, and, frankly, doesn’t differ that much from non-game days.
I am proud to say he’s playing pretty well. And last month, when Springbrook ended defending state champion Magruder’s 31-game winning streak, my ice-veined, tight-lipped stepson made two free throws in the final minute to force overtime; at that moment, Isaiah became I-Savior.
Alas, Springbrook has lost three times since then, leaving me with no choice but to cut Isaiah’s allowance in half and make him take the trash out twice as often.
In the meantime, Andrew and Aaron — who live up the street from us — were over eating breakfast the other Saturday. I came back from walking the dog, saw Andrew taking his dishes to the kitchen and asked if there were any leftovers for me.
“Oh, no,” he said, “I learned a long time ago to never leave anything on your plate.”
Fine, but if the kid wants to take all the food off my table, he’d better make all his free throws, too.
Q. Would you fire Rex Ryan for 6-10 or for his bizarre choice of body art? (Gregg Griffin; Baltimore)
A. I have to recuse myself on this one — oddly enough, I also have a tattoo of Rex Ryan’s wife wearing Mark Sanchez’s No. 6 jersey.
Q. You’re an L.A. guy — you people ever going to get an NFL team? (Richard Burke; Colonie, N.Y.)
A. This has actually been a great town to live in since the Rams and Raiders left. And it will be even a better place when Kanye West and Kim Kardashian leave.
Q. Back in 2008, I began putting $1.25 in my piggybank for every time I heard Jesse Palmer use the word “physicality.” I was able to retire at the end of 2012. (Sam Hess; Carmel, Ind.)
A. Hope your piggybank can absorb another $1.25.
Q. Even if one doesn’t speak Spanish, is it okay to use the SAP button when Hubie Brown’s around? (Gene Sittenfeld; Glensboro, Ky.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
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