It all started when the Bulls’ Twitter account put out a Tweet asking their fans if anyone was willing to try out for the Windy City Bulls at their open tryout on September 16. My friend Aaron saw the Tweet at first and nominated me – before I knew it, the Bulls had called me and picked me to be the tryout candidate.
At first, I did not really know what to expect. I felt like I was out of my place being the only one without any major high school or college experience, but right after warm-ups is when everyone came together and realized that we were all in the same position. During drills, we all cheered for each other and lifted each other up during the good and challenging times. Because of this, I didn’t feel so out of place anymore and I got to go out there and have fun and compete at a high level. We started off by splitting into some teams and running through some drills – running weaves, passing, defensive drills and working on how to double team. Everybody was fast, athletic and skilled, so the drills held a consistently high pace.
The most surprising aspect about the tryout was the talent that showed up. As basketball players and fans, we tend to only look at NBA and players from only the most prominent Division 1 schools as the best athletes out there, but it is crazy to realize how many highly skilled athletes from the Chicago area there are. Everyone brought something different to the table. While it was certainly hard to keep up conditioning wise, the experience and coaching I gained is definitely something I could not have obtained elsewhere. The Windy City Bulls head coach, Charlie Henry, even swung by and gave me a few pointers on my defensive positioning a couple of times.
I am usually not one for attention, but it was pretty cool being on camera and having some action shots taken, something that I never got to experience in high school basketball. Usually at tryouts such as this, you never know who will be in the stands or watching somewhere.
The day before the tryout, Jannero Pargo, a player I grew up watching as a kid, was named an assistant coach and was one of the first coaches there watching me warm up. It was crazy getting a chance to play in front of him, I even got to go up and introduce myself and talk a little.
When I found out that Bobby Portis and Cristiano Felicio were watching me on the live Instagram story, I knew I had to really step it up! Most importantly, some of my best friends made the trip to come watch and show their support and that really meant a lot to me and made the entire day more fun knowing that I could share the day with them.
I didn’t make the team, but I did get a newfound respect for these athletes and how high of a level G-League basketball really is. This was such a cool experience and I can’t wait to see who gets the chance to participate next year because I know they will have an amazing time!
View a summary of Carson’s experience below: