PARIS, FRANCE - While the OBWL took a pause to celebrate all things basketball, a similar, less heralded celebration was being held in Ottowa home of the reigning OBDL champs the Ottowa Omnipotence. The Omnipotence, affiliate to a struggling New Jersey franchise, steamrolled over the Lions last season in an impressive sweep behind the inspired play of Zachary Stubbs' MVP performance (23.1 points on 51.3% shooting). Yet, half a season later, the winds of fate are fickle in the development league and what was once talked about as a younger Logan Goloboy, wilted in the furnace of the OBWL. That's life in the development though players are called up, sent down, and abandoned to their fate each season.
The Lions de Paris, affiliate of the Anaheim Archers, are not immune to change as they have seen Daren Keyes and Long Foote come and go from their ranks. For fans of the Archers Affiliate, each season can be a "trick or treat" proposition and this year has been both. Going into the break, Long Foote, now recalled to the Archers, was nominated to start for the East at shooting guard. During his time in Paris, Foote scored 23.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists with a steady 49.2% from the floor. "My first year has been so chaotic," said foot of his time with the Archers, "why should this be any different? I was waiting for the call and have been working hard on my game so, when my phone rang, I would be ready for the next evolution." Foote would go on share the spotlight as is customary in the All Star Game and only play 22 minutes; yet he could score 10 points on 5-6 shooting with 2 rebounds in a winning effort.
Rookie Ben Patton was also appeared at the festivities being named to the OBDL Rookies versus Sophomores contest. Patton, a native of Harrisville, Rhode Island, was named a reserve on the Rookie team. "It's been a lot of work," said Patton, "but recognition like being selected to appear in this game out of all rookies in the league makes me happy." Patton has spent most of his time as a reserve in Paris backing up the likes of Darren Keyes but, with Keyes' recall, he took over the starting role with mixed results. Now, another has supplanted him in the starting role.
Alain Laigon was acquired from Quebec earlier in the year and, after a trade brought him to the organization, he was promptly sent to the Lions where he's split time at guard and forward. Laigon, 6'6" tall and able to jump out of the gym, struggled to find a place in the Coyotes organization after being selected sixth. "You get tired of the questions mostly," said Laigon when asked of the pressures that came with his begin drafted so high. He seemed to catch on in Paris though and would frequently wow fans with aerial acrobatics and athletic finishes.
Cut from a similar Cloth, Cameron Gaugahn also recently was acquired by the Archers in a trade that sent Darren Keyes to the Storm. Gaugahn also is an athletic guard but questions of stamina limited his contribution to the franchise and he bounced back and forth between the Storm and their affiliate. Now, Gaugahn, views Paris as a last resort and finds himself in the same boat as Laigon and Dudley Shill. The Paris roster is forming into a who's who of failed lottery picks and once hopeful all stars. "Alain and I were instant friends," said Gaugahn of his arrival in Paris, "being Canadian, his french was already way better than mine and we bonded almost immediately because we are the same. Both supposed to be stars but really what we are is all that we are and we've come to understand that all we can do is give our utmost."
In a drama that could not be better scripted for the festivities, the Rim Rattler Dunk Competition (some say a cheap knock off of the Rim Rocker contest in the OBWL) saw the two square off against each other after topping a field that included teammate Ben Patton as well. The finals would not be nearly as dramatic as the prelude though. "Alain and I had been working on our dunks in secret of course," said Gaugahn, "but I just didn't have my legs under me at the end of the day and Alain's stuff was filthy."
The Lions return to action on the 9th against the Hong Kong Golden Dragons and standout sophomore Arthur Betchel.