Me vs. Garfield Blair! (Jamaican National Team Starting SG)

by Kenny Eller on April 28, 2011

Me and Garfield Blair

“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” – Michael Jordan

I read that quote a few hours before I slid my Jordans on and took on my next 1-on-1 opponent, Jamaican National Team Starting Shooting Guard, Garfield Blair.

Garfield Blair (The Player)

Garfield Blair dunking during a collegiate game with DI Stetson University

In July of last year Blair averaged over 15 points per game for team Jamaica in the Centrobasket tournament (A FIBA sponsored basketball tournament) including one 27 point outing against the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In 2009, Garfield graduated from Division I, Stetson University, where he averaged 17.3 points per game and 7.7 rebounds per game during his senior season.

Blair also had a short stint this year with the National Basketball Development League’s Springfield Armor.

Going For The Win!

Despite all of that, I went into yesterday’s games with Garfield going for the win.  We would play two games of 1-on-1 to 15 points, make it take it, with two pointers worth 1 point and three’s worth 2 points.  I believed in my mind that I could pull it off if I got hot…and then the game began (video below).

Game 1 (Two Shots)

I shot for ball, missed, and then the 6 foot 5 inch, 210-pound, former Stetson Hatters star gave me an up close example of what he can do.

After playing Garfield, the bigger question is what can’t he do?

In all of game one he missed four shots, two of which he got the rebound and then converted to baskets.

This hurts so badly to type, but the game lasted less than four minutes.  I touched the ball only twice, and one of my two shot attempts was blocked.

He torched me with drives, dunks, NBA three pointers, and pull-ups.

He dominated me to the tune of a 15-0 shutout!

I’m Better Than This!

During the break between Game 1 and Game 2 I couldn’t believe I had just been beaten so easily.

I couldn’t believe I had just been shutout!

In all honesty, I don’t think I’ve ever been shutout in a game of 1-on-1.  I also have never gotten the ball only two times.  Blair had it dialed in and it was sooo smooth.

Head up, I was determined to do better in game 2!

Game 2

Game two began unfortunately with more of the same.  Of the first four points Garfield scored, two of them were dunks.

Then I finally got my chance.

One of my few opportunities on offense!

A couple of jab steps and I got enough room to get off and make a three pointer.  I then drove to the basket and made a left handed lay-up high off the glass (which he slapped in an attempt to block the shot).

That was the extent of my scoring.  In game two I touched the ball just five times and only got shots off on four occasions.

Garfield went back to work draining three NBA distance three-pointers in a row and finished me off easily.

Final Score of Game 2:  15-3

Me vs. Garfield Blair (Video):

[If you are reading this via email or RSS, click here to view video.]

He Has No Weakness!

Garfield Blair giving me some pointers

Most normal people that play basketball can dribble or shoot or are athletic, but rarely are they more than one of those.  So against normal competition I would identify the weaknesses and the adjust how I play them, making the game easier for me.

Garfield Blair has no weakness and he definitely isn’t normal.

He handles like it’s on a string, has ocean deep range, is quick, strong, and explosive and doesn’t miss shots.

I think both games of 1-on-1 took a total of 10-11 minutes.  It was crazy!

Time For A Change (Loser’s Outs)

Going forward I will be most likely forced to play loser’s outs when playing top tier competition like Garfield Blair and Robert Brown.

The prideful side of me doesn’t want to do that, but it should give me a better chance of making the games competitive by getting more chances to score.

Overall Impressions

It’s inspiring and a bit demoralizing playing against someone like Garfield Blair.  He not only has talent, but he has put so much work in to the game of basketball and it shows.

Before I began this journey, I really didn’t believe there was that big of a difference in players.  I’ve played ball my whole life, and despite how Garfield makes me look on the court, I’m actually decent on a normal guy scale.  To go out and to be made to look like I’ve never played ball pounds the ego, but it also inspires.

It shows me how great someone can be.  It motivates me to get better, to do everything possible to be more prepared next time.

End of the day, Garfield Blair can flat out ball.  It is truly amazing how good he really is.

BIG THANKS TO GARFIELD BLAIR!!!

I want to thank Garfield Blair for taking the time and playing me.  It was something he didn’t have to do and my appreciation that he did is huge.

Watch for him on team Jamaica, or an NBDL or NBA team in the near future.

He’s a class act that some team will be very happy to have.  No doubt!

Failing into Success

So thus far I’m 1-7 in 1-on-1 match-ups, as I prepare for my dream match-up with Michael Jordan.  Not good at all.

“I’ve failed over and over again in my life.  That is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

I could easily pick lesser players and rack up some wins, but what good would that do?  Even though I’m loosing, I’m winning.  The experience of matching up with phenomenal players is priceless and believe it or not, I will be better because of yesterday’s brutal beating.

I want more than anything to do a 1-on-1 post and report a big win.  I still believe it’s possible.  I will continue to work and do my best to maximize my potential.

Thank you for the love and support!

me vs. MJ…the journey continues!

*If you’d like to help me prepare for my eventual 1-on-1 match-up with Michael Jordan and are a current or former top high school, college or pro player, sign up here! Thanks in advance…and I will be coming for the win!

*Note:  I also want to thank Justin Cobb for connecting me with Garfield and for doing a great job shooting the video!  Also, special thanks to Ziarekenya Smith for the awesome pictures!  I appreciate you guys!!

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Karol Gajda April 28, 2011 at 7:43 am

Great recap and great lessons. It probably doesn’t feel like it, but by playing people way better than you you’re getting better than if you were to play people worse than you.

It’s crazy to think how good people like Garfield must be, because I know you’re so good.

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Kenny Eller Kenny Eller April 28, 2011 at 7:55 am

Thanks Karol! It’s funny how it works, but even getting my butt kicked by Garfield makes me more confident when I play. My best is far from enough, at this point ;-), but it’s still such a great experience!

Thanks for the kind words on my basketball game, but yeah, he’s great man. Really, truly great.

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Charissa Eller April 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I know it was rough for you to take this kind of loss, but it’s not about winning or loosing. It’s about the experiences that you have along the way to Jordan:-)

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Kenny Eller Kenny Eller April 28, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Thanks! I feel better today :-) I’ve lined up a rematch!!! Haha!

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Sunil April 29, 2011 at 9:30 am

Well said Charissa!

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Donna Cumby May 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm

“shoot for the moon for even if you fail you will fall among the stars”. You are getting better by playing people who are excellent!

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Kenny Eller Kenny Eller May 2, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Love that quote Donna! You are so right! Thanks! I really see a difference against non-pro players:)

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Michael Villegas August 10, 2012 at 6:45 am

Go Kenny! I know you can do it! Just keep working hard and strive to get better!

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Kenny Eller Kenny Eller August 10, 2012 at 7:37 am

Thank you Michael! I really appreciate the support!!!

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Michael Villegas August 10, 2012 at 9:38 am

I think in the future, you can be a better shooter than Dave Hopla. Just keep it up, and keep working hard! Go Kenny!

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Kenny Eller Kenny Eller August 10, 2012 at 10:54 am

Thanks Michael! Anything is Possible with Faith and Hard Work!!!

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Michael Villegas August 11, 2012 at 3:39 am

By the way, do you think Dave Hopla is a better player than Michael Jordan?

Michael Villegas October 25, 2012 at 4:52 am

Who do you think is better, Andy Gebru or Garfield Blair?

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Kenny Eller Kenny Eller October 27, 2012 at 5:20 pm

I couldn’t tell you. I think Garfield went harder at me when we played, to show me what a pro can do, whereas Andy played more to just get the win. I also had a different game plan against Andy, due to my experience with Garfield.

Both are great guys. Still keep in touch with them today.

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Michael Villegas October 29, 2012 at 6:09 am

Dude, you gotta check this out! This guy is called Air Up There! Many people call him the best dunker in the world! JUST AMAZING! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPFfSO8xozI&feature=user

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Kenny Eller Kenny Eller October 31, 2012 at 8:07 am

Nice video bro. Hope you are well! Keep working on your game!

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Michael Villegas October 31, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Yeah! Thanks, you too!

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Kenny Eller Kenny Eller August 11, 2012 at 9:19 am

Haha, no, of course not! 😀

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