Title: Kennedy Meeks’ personal turnaround spurs one for Raptors 905 as well
Date: January 18, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Kennedy Meeks stepping up for Raptors 905 on and off the court, helping key a significant turnaround.
uran Iverson was still pretty new to Raptors 905 when Kennedy Meeks spoke up. The 905 were in Grand Rapids, Mich., where the Drive had just handed them their fourth straight loss, a 14-point defeat that never felt close and dropped them to 4-9 on the season. Shoulders were slumping, heads were hanging, and worry was setting in that the encouraging underlying signs, particularly on the defensive end, may not have them turning the corner.
Meeks is the most popular person in any room he walks into. He’s also a former NCAA national champion. The funny, affable centre was not, however, the voice Iverson anticipated hearing command the room. Out of ear shot of the 905 coaching staff, perpetual smile turned stoic, Meeks called for change.
“We didn’t expect him to be the guy to say something,” Iverson said. “It was big, you know? ‘Cause usually he’s a lot quieter. He doesn’t say anything. But he just came out of nowhere and just said what he had to say. Everyone respected that.”
The North Carolina product was fed up. He was already tired of losing. He was tired, too, of a lack of trust on the floor, one that wasn’t borne of any ill-intent but, because the team hadn’t won as a group yet, saw a lot of players trying to do things individually to help the team. The messages of the coaching staff weren’t getting through, and Meeks thought it should stop there, the loss in Grand Rapids presenting an early rock-bottom the 905 could give themselves plenty of time to come out of.