BROOKLYN — You ever watch a guy play basketball and go “that guy is me?”
“I mean, not actually me because I’m not a Division I athlete who can, like, dunk and knock down threes with a man in my face and thousands of people watching, but like, if I could do those things or just possessed a modicum of athleticism or skill, that would be me?”
That’s how I felt watching Blake Francis in the first half of Richmond’s 62-52 win over Wisconsin at the Legend’s Classic on Monday.
Francis is a transfer from Wagner and just five games into his career as a Spider after sitting out 2018-19. I’d seen him before as a Seahawk, albeit only a couple times because Staten Island is the most inconvenient place on Earth to get to. Monday night, he re-entered our lives with a little added flair, made special for his New York City return.
I have a theory that the shorter you are as a basketball player, the more likely you are to utterly humiliate your defender. Francis didn’t just cross this guy over. He sent him careening out of bounds into the official while then taking an enormous step back to effortlessly hit the jumper.
And let’s ignore the flopping warning on this next one for a second. The ref who called that should be imprisoned. This play is Francis doing what we have all done in video games: drive, run into a defender, then just decide to turn around and dribble back out to take a three. Seriously, it looks like someone is directing him with a PlayStation controller’s analog stick.
Blake Francis is a baller... but he picks up a flopping warning here. pic.twitter.com/iylFgZcaar— A10 Talk (@A10Talk) November 26, 2019
I had to watch this one a few times just to make sure the shot went in. All I saw was Francis shoot and boink a guy on the head (something that should be worth four points).
Have yourself a half of basketball, Blake Francis. 16 points and counting. pic.twitter.com/5mj9iP6V5l— A10 Talk (@A10Talk) November 26, 2019
While all of this was happening, our own Chris Schutte said in the Mid-Major Madness slack channel that every lefty point guard who can get buckets is fun as hell. I’m inclined to agree:
Great start for Richmond tonight who leads Wisconsin 24-18 at the U4 in the 1st half. Blake Francis with a few acrobatic finishes tonight. pic.twitter.com/XSBM7mDhZO— A10 Talk (@A10Talk) November 26, 2019
Please note I could have just as easily written a similar thing about Grant Golden, Richmond’s big burly boy who went for 16-and-12 on Monday. He was magnificent and is also a strong candidate for the next Mid-Major Madness Cult Hero. For now, though, I wish to claim Blake Francis as my crafty, bucket-getting son.