Season Ticket Review – Quite Frankly

We missed last weekend’s game (an 111-97 win over the Austin Toros). We had to go watch Modest Mouse instead. And we weren’t ready for basketball again after three weeks without.


Game 21: March 23rd, 2007

Tulsa 66ers (17-22) at Sioux Falls Skyforce (25-16)

We still weren’t ready last night, it seems. We showed up for Friday’s game after an exhausting week and watched the Skyforce open up the game with a 27-5 run. And just like that, the game was over. It was 39-21 after the first quarter. It was 61-36 at halftime. It was an amazing throttling. But it all felt like old news, like we’d already gotten use to it.

See, the Skyforce are rolling. I mean, really rolling. After losing five in a row, our gentle little Midwest revue has blown up, winning 11 of 13 and pulling into a tie for first place in the division. Anymore, we don’t expect the Skyforce to just beat these lower seeded teams – we expect the Skyforce to crush them.

Suffice to say, we weren’t that excited for Friday night’s blowout. We weren’t in a basketball mood.

So we left half way through the third quarter.

Yes. That’s right. For one of the few times all year, we abandoned the game. We’re horrible fans, I know. We missed most of the second half alley oops, the fourth quarter slack-fest and the final buzzer. We should have left before half time, actually – we’d have missed the third appearance of Empire Mall Star Search winner Knife Juggling Kid.

Nothing against Knife Juggling Kid, but if a person is entering a talent contest and ie expected to perform twice in front of largely the same Sioux Falls Arena audience – once to reach the finals and then a second time to win the contest – you should probably think about switching up the gimmick a little. And when the prize includes performing a third time in the same venue, shouldn’t you do something more than add in some Frisbees?

Still, he juggles knives. Which is awesome.

Anyway. Simply put, we’re ready for the playoffs. We’re tired of the regular season. We’ve got three more home games left, and then the Skyforce head on the road for their final five. We’ve nearly locked up a playoff berth, but we’re still fighting for the first round bye. And we’re blowing teams away, but we’re not playing the elite teams in the league.

Of course, as of last night, we have a record setting outside shooter to help us out – Frank Williams. Thanks to the grace of a fast-paced offense and the struggle of being stuck on the Skyforce for every game of the season, Frank Williams topped the record for 3-point completions in an NBA D-League season – and did it with eight games remaining.

It’s a feat that highlights his success and his failure. His success is in developing into a great outside shooter – a guard that was sent off from the NBA due to an influx of quality point guards that has turned into an All-Star caliber leader in games a league below. The perceived failure is in becoming a D-League constant. While some players come and go – locked onto by NBA scouts and pulled up from the league like a Coast Guard refugee – and others slowly fade away – lost to injury or indifference or, even worse, mediocrity – Frank has been above average, never good enough to move up but too good to be forgotten.

He’s a constant force in the league. He’s the point guard that everyone wants on their team. He lacks the fire of a superstar, but he’s got the shot and the vision of a talented player, a former first round pick, a person struggling to make the big stage yet again.

For Frank, this has been a career of high expectations and early burnout. And like an actor who’s been nominated for an Oscar too early in life, Frank has lived with the expectations that he should be better – that he’s failed in doing what he’s done, that he’s never going to be an NBA star again and that he’s forever stuck touring the second class NBA D-League cities around the nation, like a traveling sideshow to the circus that is the NBA.

Now, he’s the big fish in a small pond – the veteran presence in a league filled with young prospects. He’s not an NBA superstar, but he’s Sioux Falls’ superstar.

We all love Frank Williams. He’s a good guy, a good player, the face of our franchise. He can hit the spectacular shots when he needs to. He can let others take over when he’s not hitting. He’s our own personal Reggie Miller, a great player who can change the game with one shot.

So it was nice to see the quick between-quarter ceremony for Frank after he passed the record. And it was even more special to watch the Arena stand up – a standing ovation in honor of one of the most consistent forces on our team.

Frank Williams may not make it to the league again. But for now, that doesn’t matter. He’s our star, and we’re glad to have him.

Skyforce 115, 66ers 105.

This was lovingly handwritten on March 24th, 2007