Lance continuously shot the ball and slowly walk to the place it would bounce and shoot it again from the place where he got ahold of it.
The ball shot to the hoop but fell short and hit the rim. Lance sighed and wiped his sweat while slowly moving towards the ball.
It's been two days since he had sprained his knee. He has still not recovered and still needed a crutch to move around but it did not hinder him from training.
For the meantime, he decided to focus on shooting while relying solely on upper body movement. He can't use his lower body effectively so he found it tough to shoot the ball, although he did somehow got used to it he can't still shoot as good as he was without the sprained knee.
"... 989! *pant"
"This is tough!"
The ball went into the hoop and bounced towards him. It did roll towards his feet but he did not pick it up. He looked at the ring and stretched his back.
He massaged his wrist gently and flexed his elbow.
Once again he used slowly picked the ball up while being careful not to hurt his knee and shot it towards the hoop again until he got to a thousand.
Finally, he did a cooldown exercise before taking a rest.
He took his journal and looked at his progress.
In the two days worth of shooting a thousand balls he could see a good amount of improvement.
In the beginning, he found it extremely hard to shoot without his lower body in the process which reduced his accuracy due to the unfamiliar routine. He also felt fatigued halfway in his first day because his arm and wrists are the only parts he is relying on to shoot.
In the first two days of being injured, he couldn't even shoot half of his attempts but today as he wrote his progress he was delighted that he could now shoot at least half of his attempts.
Although the results are awful which made Lance dissatisfied he did not let it get to him but instead used it to motivate himself.
Actually, he knew full well what is hindering him from shooting a high percentage.
It is his endurance and stamina.
The more you get tired the more your ability to do things regress.
Lance looked out the window and found that the sky is much brighter than before.
"Today is Sunday, right? Then there should be a class tomorrow since the storm is already gone."
He opened the tv and sat on his couch. He looked at his knee and decided to slowly stretch it like how the doctor told him.
The climate has improved since the storm left the city.
Fin decided to hangout with Claude and eat in a burger place.
"Did you bring a ball?"
"Yeah, why do I have to be the one to prepare a ball anyway?"
Claude lifted up a plastic bag with the ball and looked at Fin who already finished eating 2 burgers.
"A real big eater aren't ya?"
Fin took another burger and looked at Claude while biting into the bun.
"I have to grow you know!"
"Are you even growing though."
"Hey it doesn't mean that you are tall then you can pick on me alright? Also, I grew an inch already."
"Ehhhh, isn't that due to having new shoes?"
Claude let out an unbelieving sound before commenting on Fin's claim.
"Hey! I'm not lying! I even took measurements barefooted!"
"So, you've been measuring your height with shoes on all this time huh."
Claude laughed after teasing Fin.
Suddenly he remembered Allan's words and looked at Fin.
"Fin, what do you think about our team."
Fin glanced at Claude and responded, "Don't let it bother you. I think we are good."
"If you had a reliable defender what would have happened when we fought against the CSH last summer."
"... I believe I already have a reliable defender though."
"Just let me finish this burger and will play in the park."
Fin finished his third burger and grabbed his fourth. He tried not to look at Claude and eat peacefully.
Although he does not want to admit it he knew that the team is somewhat lacking in defense. He knows that they could not keep up against a powerhouse team but he does not want to believe that it is due to their defense but because he could not score more for the team.
The two left the burger house as soon as they finished their drinks.
Fin went to the public basketball courts and saw people playing.
"Ey! It's Fin!"
The street ballers saw Fin and grabbed everyone's attention. Everyone knew who he is because it is not the first time Fin played around the area.
They began to play and had the two join.
As usual, Fin played with nimble feet and left his defenders and had them take a bite off of his dust.
Every time he missed a shot or a teammate lost the possession Claude was there to support them in defense. Although he is not exceptional he is good enough to contest most of the shots and defended well.
Claude looked at Fin's back while he charged inside the paint.
'... I know I am not an exceptional defender but I'll do my best to become reliable on defense.'
He stretched his hands wide and prepared to defend as soon as the ball was shot.
The sun shone on them while they played. But despite the heat continued to play the game and enjoyed it.
"You're really good!"
"You too man!"
Fin was complimented as he dribbled the ball. He smiled and did a jump shot which drew a perfect arc.
While heaving hard Fin sat on the corner with a towel draping on top of his head. His eyes looked down at the ground as he tried to savor the taste of tiredness in his body.
He looked at the players playing at the court and watched each of their every move. The play that is happening in the court laid bare before his eyes.
He could every error and all the possible places to score. The weak spots and gaps can be easily spotted by him with just a glance. This is both backed by his talent and experience.
Fin took a bottle of water and drank on it to the last drop.
The players in the court are locals who always come and play during this time of the day. Some of them are newbies or experienced street ballers who vary in age.
Most of them who knows Fin are the ones who have played against him or who usually play in the court.
Fin is known in the area as a great street baller. He has good handles and nimble feet. Once he entered the perimeter he has to have someone guarding him tightly.
Actually, if the locals were asked who the best player in the area is they would answer, 'Fin'.
Despite his size and age, Fin can play against adult and former collegiate basketball players.
No matter who he played against Fin will undoubtedly play against his opponent.
Being talented and skilled in the game is good.
But to fin, it doesn't matter, even if he became maimed the thing that he will regret is not about the fact that he lost everything but the fact that he would not be able to play the sport he loved.
He purely enjoyed the game.
To the point that he looked simple-minded.
Although it still hits him when they lose it doesn't really matter to him.
Ever since Allan told him that the team is weak he began to see the game in a different light.
Powerlessness to rebut.
Although he tried his best not to show it, deep inside it is eating him away.
"... Who does he think he is to say that?"
He whispered as he frowned when he remembered the first year who mocked his team.
"... I mean it can't be helped right?"
"I am just not strong enough to carry the team."
"It doesn't matter if we can't defend well. As long as I can score and keep up with the opponent then we won't lose..."
Fin felt burdened.
Actually, he did not think wrong. Most teams are centered on their best player so if the ace can't carry the team then they will ultimately lose. This holds true even to the high school basketball powerhouses.
Not everyone in a varsity team is a great player.
There is at most one who is.
Fin had played against a lot of players.
And he knows by experience that there are players who can play as well as him and better than him.
He already saw how Levi Becreux plays and also got to play against him.
The guy is not only big but also extremely skillful.
Levi is simply a league of his own. One has to admit that the guy is a monster.
And apart from Levi is there anyone else who carries their team?
But apart from the two?
Their players' level is just about the same as the First City High team starters.
At the end of the day, Fin thought that he is the one who always falls short.
A ball suddenly rolled over into his way and stopped just before his foot. Fin looked at the ball and then on the players in the court who are looking at him.
He took it and looked at it for a second before he tossed it to the air.
In his mind, he began to make a resolve that he...
"... have to be stronger... Strong enough to carry a team by myself."
He didn't know that this very resolve is going to be the reason why he will become one of the strongest legends of basketball history. Know one knows that this small man will enter the league in the future and will be the eye of the upcoming storm! No one but Lance knows the future, but he did not know that the cogs have started to turn.
While looking at the sky, Fin heard a swish which only resounds when there is a smooth shot of the ball is made and only hits the net when it enters the basket,
What came afterward are shouts of amazement of the trick that had just transpired.
"What was that?"
"A 3-point toss?"
Fin did not know how to react and just fell in a daze.
Claude also felt amazed. He saw how Fin tossed the ball from beyond the arc, he was outside the court but he managed to toss the ball into the basket clean!
In the principal's office of the First City Highschool.
The school Director sat on the couch with the Principal to his right.
"... So what do you think?"
Leonard took the tea served for him and slowly lifted it up to his nose. He liked the fragrance of the and enjoyed it before he took a sip.
He looked at the Principal and the Director before smiling.
He leaned forward and read the contract. He felt satisfied and signed every copy.
Before he left he took a copy for himself and bowed before saying goodbye.
"... I liked the tea by the way."
When the door closed the Principal finally heaved a sigh of relief.
He looked at the director and asked, "Do we really have to do this?"
The director did not look at the principal and closed his eyes.
"My nephew, although he does not care who wins and loses the game, I can see how he looks when he does lose. I know he doesn't notice it but it doesn't mean I don't. This is the least I can do to help him."
"But this is too expensive."
"You do not have to think about it. I'll handle everything myself."
The director then stood up and went to the window.
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