From a wheelchair on the sidelines, Leonard King got to watch veteran San Quentin Warrior Allan McIntosh put up 32 points but still fall short to Imago Dei, 119-102. King got to attend the game because Inmate Disability Assistance Program worker George Derrick, who also plays for the Warriors, used part of his day off to stop by the fourth floor of the infirmary and picked him up.
“George is a good per- son; he’s made getting out here really easy,” King said. “It’s a mental struggle losing something you had for 62 years to a fungal infection (which was compounded by having diabetes) but I get encouragement from the people around me and that has made the transition easier.” King lost his leg in April. It would be another month before he could get fitted with a prosthetic. In the meantime, with the help of Derrick, he comes to yard at 8 am on Saturdays to watch the Warriors play.
“It’s good entertainment,” King said. “There’s a lot of talent out there. Makes you think what could have been.”
Imago Dei came down the hill with six players, including sixty something year old Don Smith. On the surface, it may have looked like the Warriors had the advantage, but the least athletic player in the starting five for Imago was a legend at Grinnell College for his three point shooting ability. Steve “Raise a J” Diekmann dropped 21 points, including nailing five baskets from behind the arc. But it was former St. Mary and ABA player Teohn Conners and former New Mexico State player Jon Williams who lead Imago with 38 and 30 points respectively. Conners added a whopping 25 rebounds, 5 steals, 4 assists, and 2 blocks.
“They put up a fight,” Williams said. “We were limited but we made shots when it counted.”
In the first quarter, the teams traded baskets with Warrior Rick ‘Rick Rebound’ Joseph, a six-foot center, snatching rebounds and adding a couple of scores.
“I worked hard and it feels good,” Joseph said. “I just want to play and do my part.”
Imago broke away with the hot shooting of Williams and finished the quarter up 31-24.
After two quarters, Imago led 65-51.
Williams had 24 points in the first half.
“I’m going for 50,” Williams, who just came back from vacationing in Cabo, Mexico, said.
At half-time, both teams circled around center-court to share.
Derrick, a 6-foot-4, 38 year old from San Francisco, said, “It’s an honor to play with great players. It brings out the best in me and teaches me to deal with not getting what I want, like not getting to play today.”
Imago Center Ervin An- derson, a former ABA player, gave a short sermon about how “God is love.”
Warriors Coach Tony “Barefoot Tone” Evans added, “IDAP workers don’t have to bring people to the yard. George is expanding the program and that touched my heart.”
In the third quarter, Donte ‘Twin’ Harris came off the bench to run the point and hustled hard, attempting a Warriors comeback. Every time the Warriors got within four points, Imago pulled away again.
In the fourth quarter, up 104-91 with 3:55 points Imago sat power forward Brett “BC” Collins, who also played for St. Mary’s, and put the 5-6 Don “Donnie Fabulous” Smith in the game.
“Lay off him on offense and go at him on defense,” yelled SQ Warriors fan Ceasar ‘C-Money’ McDowell.
That plan didn’t work. Smith found himself open and nailed two short-range set shots.
Three Warriors, beside McIntosh, scored in double digits including Anthony Ammons with 23 and 10 boards, Walter Cook with 10 points, 5 assists and 2 steals and Harris with 10 points, 5 assists and 4 steals. Joseph had 9 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists.
For Imago, all five starters scored in the double digits. Collins added 17 points, 8 re- bounds, 4 assists and a steal. Anderson added 12 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 blocks.
The tequila and tacos Williams enjoyed in Cabo kicked in during the second half –after starting with 24 points first-half points, he added only 6 points in the second period.
“Jon ran out of gas so I had to take a couple of shots,” Diekmann said after the win with a big smile on his face.