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High school players on the embarrassment of having their pockets picked

Moss Point (Miss.) junior Devin Booker doesn't often have his pocket picked, but when it happens he feels "really disgusted." / Courtesy of Devin Booker

It’s a temporary madness combined with a split second of disbelief and a slight mix of nausea.

That moment when your best crossover dribble gets slapped behind you and taken the other way for the score…


Not even close.

“Oh man,” said Rockwall (Rockwall, Texas) shooting guard Austin Grandstaff. “That is so embarrassing. I mean as a guard there’s not much that’s worse than that. Someone just took the ball from you. It’s hard to come back from that.”

Word of God Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) point guard Josh Newkirk can attest.

He said the worst part is the aftermath when the defender starts in with the infamous post-steal one-liner.

“They say ‘Call the cops!'” Newkirk said. “'Because you just got robbed.’ It just makes it more embarrassing to be honest. I don’t know that there’s a more embarrassing thing that can happen on the court. It’s definitely up there.”

We caught up with a handful of players who shared Newkirk’s sentiments and had them relive their ultimate embarrassment. We then asked them to dish on the best way to play if off.

MORE: Getting your shot spiked
MORE: Getting burned by a crossover

Josh Newkirk, Word of God (Raleigh, N.C.), PG, 2013

Signed to: Pittsburgh

The Initial Reaction: “It’s really embarrassing, especially because all of your teammates look at you like ‘What in the world?’ They definitely don’t expect me to get my pocket picked. It’s the worst feeling.”  

The Play-off: “All you can really do is try and stop the guy from scoring. You could try and play it off cool, but I wouldn’t recommend that. Go get that ball back.”

Harry Giles, Wesleyan Christian (High Point, N.C.), F, 2016


 The Initial Reaction: “Well, if it’s in the open court and you get ripped it’s pretty embarrassing. I don’t know, it’s just the worst thing because now the guy has more confidence and you gave the ball to the other team. All the people in the gym stare at you and laugh too. It’s not good.”

The Play-off: “You’ve got to do something on the next play. I try and score. Just to show the guy guarding me that it won’t be happening again.”  

Austin Grandstaff, Rockwall (Rockwall, Texas), SG, 2015


The Initial Reaction: “I just feel pretty disrespected. So it’s that and, of course, I’m really embarrassed so I just want to take a timeout right then and there. It’s a bad feeling. You just want it to be over.”  

The Play-off: “The best thing you can do is to maybe act like you got fouled. You just turn to the ref and look at him and throw your hands up like you can’t believe he missed that.”

Devin Booker, Moss Point (Moss Point, Miss.), SG, 2014


The Initial Reaction: “I just feel really disgusted because when you’re a top player everything’s more embarrassing. People feel like you’re not supposed to make a mistake so everything magnified and that includes the embarrassment. It’s one of the worst things.”

The Play-off: “This is one of those things you really can’t play-off to be honest. I think the only way is to maybe call out the next play or something. Just act like it’s not that serious. That’s all you can really do.”

Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter @JayJayUSATODAY.




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