Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bowling for Hornets

Posted By on Wed, Feb 27, 2008 at 8:12 PM

The above video is of Hornets rookie forward Julian Wright bowling alongside teammate Hilton Armstrong. A couple of things that should be noted:

  • Wright, despite playing for only two years, is quite adept at the sport
  • He also bowls at a frenetic pace, as noted by his use two lanes per game
  • His shoes — sporting his alma mater’s (Kansas) colors — look strikingly the rentals at AMF All-Star lanes in Kenner.

Turns out that this is a regular exercise for Wright on off days. He says his average is I around 215 and his highest ever score was 278. Yesterday he bowled seven games for an average of 203 and a high of 246. Of course, that doesn’t include his low game of 146, when he played left-handed.

Also playing with Wright and Armstrong yesterday was Hornets ball boy Chase Forestier, who’s been bowling since he was 8 years old. This was the first time Forestier has played with Wright and he said he was surprised at how refined the basketball player’s game was.

“I expected him to look a little more awkward being so tall,” he said. “How tall are you, Julian? 6-8?”

“6-8 and a half,” Julian growled back jokingly.

Check out the pictures and more about Wright's day bowling, after the jump.

Armstrong’s game wasn’t as refined as Wright's; Armstrong said he hasn’t been playing too long. It showed in his inability to consistently hit strikes. Despite this, he talked a big game when it came to fellow Hornet Peja Stojakovic’s bowling event on March 31st.

“I’ll shut the whole place down,” he boasted. “I’ll bowl like ten perfect games in a row.”

Armstrong then proceeded to throw a ball down the lane which did a tight-rope act on the edge of the gutter before swinging back and knocking every pin down for a strike.

The fact is, despite their height, both Wright and Armstrong have an advantage over the regular Joe when it comes to hitting the lanes. Alex Handback, who works at the AMF Bowling pro shop, said that, while a person doesn’t have to be big and strong to be a good bowler, it doesn’t hurt to be a good athlete.

“When you look at pro bowlers, they might not be physically big,” he said. “But they have to be great athletes since they’re bowling between 40 and 60 times a week.”

On a good week, say when the Hornets are home and have a lot of off days, Wright says he approaches that mark. He bowls upwards of 10 games every visit, something Handback said is a remarkable feat.

“That alone makes him an athlete,” he said. “If I bowl 10 games straight I’d be sweating my ass off.”

This day, though, belonged to Forestier. In his last game, he bowled a 252 with a seven-strike streak thrown in for good measure. Julian tried to deny Forestier the glory.

“That’s bad, man,” Wright said. “It took you all day to get up that high.”

Wright eventually conceded, saying, “I’m just messing with you,” before packing all four of his bowling balls and his shoes and heading off.

click to enlarge Julian bowling

Handback said Wright's style was "smooth."

click to enlarge Julian

Three of Julian's four bowling balls.

click to enlarge Forestier bowling

Forestier held his own against the two basketball players.

click to enlarge shoes

Julian's shoes are not rentals, but they sure do look it.

click to enlarge scores

Julian kept a list of his scores on the back of a receipt. He bowled lower than his normal average.

click to enlarge left-handed

Apparently, Julian is amphibious.

click to enlarge Armstrong

Armstrong enjoyed tossing balls down the lane, as if he were trying to break the wood.

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