One of my favorite activities to do when I get some free time at good ol’ Johnny Hop is going to the Rec Center and playing basketball with my friends. It’s a great way to just relax and have fun, and whenever I feel like the Freshman 15 is getting all too real, going down and shooting hoops is a fantastic remedy.

Playing at the Rec Center for 4 months now I’ve gotten pretty used to how everything works, (and how hard I have to play in order to not get yelled at) and I’ve also gotten very accustomed to the kind of people I play against on a night-to-night basis. Even though I’ll usually find 3-4 new people who I’ve never hooped against before, I can usually categorize them by their playing style, mannerisms, and general demeanor.

And so without further ado, let’s get into the list of people you’ll find in a typical night of basketball the Ralph O’Connor Rec Center:

  1. The Fitness Fanatic – That one person who is just way stronger and more muscular that everyone else on the court, and can bully their way to the basket and get easy shots, because frankly, nobody wants to, or has the ability to, guard them. This person usually spends their time in the weight room instead of the basketball court, and while they may not have much skill, they can still dominate due to their size, strength, and a little thing that I like to call the intimidation factor.
  2. The Built Baller – The same as above, only now this person actually plays basketball regularly and in addition to having size and strength, they also have skill. Guarding this person is next to impossible, and if in addition to being able to play defense, get to the basket, finish layups, and grab rebounds, if they can shoot jumpers its game over…leave before the game starts.
  3. The Smack Talker – This one’s pretty self-explanatory; they’re always talking and making sure everyone knows that they’re better than you. Whether this is true or not is often debatable, but regardless they’ll always make the game fun, or at least more interesting, and if you end up beating them it’s always an amazing feeling. If you let them win, however, you’ll never hear the end of it.
  4. The Crossover King – The crossover king is the person who does a bunch of fancy dribble moves and shows off their “handles” with many elaborate combinations of behind the back, through the legs, and crossover dribbles. Even if they can’t pass, shoot, or do anything else productive on the court, simply their ballhandling skills are quite astounding and they’re sure to evoke a fair number of “oohs” and “ahhs” from the crowd
  5. Deadeye Shooter – DO NOT leave this person open behind the three-point line. They’re only good at one thing, shooting the basketball, but my goodness are they good at it. Defending them is an absolute chore, as it involves running around the court glued to their hip so as to make sure they don’t even get an inch of open space to shoot the basketball, and when they make one on you it’s the most defeating feeling.
  6. The Baseball Player – This applies to any other sport really, but it’s that person who plays some sport other than bball, but has decided to spend the evening hooping it up. These are the matchups you want to exploit, as usually the “baseball players” have spent most of their time working on their respective sport, and their lack of basketball skill shows on the court.
  7. The Hustler – What they lack in skill they make up for in sheer speed, heart, and hustle. They’ll always go after every rebound, and they’re more than willing to dive on the floor in pursuit of steals and loose balls. They’re the kind of player you love having on your team.
  8. The Helping Hand – The person who always has their head up and is looking to make a pass. They have excellent vision and a feel for the game, and they’ll usually defer on taking shots in order to get good shots for their teammates and get everyone involved
  9. The Seven Foot Assassin – The one token tall person that gobbles up all the rebounds, and towers over everyone while shooting hook shots and getting easy layups. Having someone like this to throw the ball to when the offense isn’t working is honestly godsend.
  10. The Slip and Slide – This is arguably the most dangerous of everyone on this list. The Slip and Slide is the person who is just so quick and elusive that they manage to slip and slide right past everyone on their way to the basket. Beating their defenders with a combination of speed, quickness, and guile is their specialty, and they are usually incredible finishers at the rim. Much like the “Built Ballers” if this group of people can shoot jump shots well its game over.