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The Breakfast Club is an inspiring, feel good coming-of-age story.
No, not the one with Anthony Michael Hall. The one with Josh Hall.
A few weeks ago, Isaiah Roby revealed on an OKC media call that the players formerly known as the Thunder third stringers had a nickname. The six man group called themselves The Breakfast Club because they would come in early before practice and play games of 3 on 3. Members of the once overlooked end of the bench get along gang were Roby, Hall, Kenrich Williams, Justin Jackson, Darius Miller, and Moses Brown.
Over the past seven games, that studious six graduated from weekend detention with Principal Vernon to crunch time minutes in primetime holiday games with Coach Daigneault.
The Thunder have been hit lately with injuries, rest, G League assignments, healthy and safety protocols and mystery excused absences to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, George Hill, Theo Maledon, Al Horford, Aleksej Pokusevski, Ty Jerome and Trevor Ariza. A roster already bottomed out due to offseason trades in an attempt to rebuild for the future was suddenly in the need of some live bodies.
Enter The Breakfast Club. And enter the most impressive stretch of Thunder basketball this season.
Basketball math is usually pretty simple. Tanking team + injuries to a team’s best players + playing third string players + playing the red hot Rockets, the Wlolves, the Lakers twice, the Nuggets, and the Bucks should = lots of blowout losses. But if The Breakfast Club had paid attention in algebra class, they wouldn’t be dancing in the school library or making dandruff art on a Saturday afternoon. So the Thunder failed their math assignment with flying colors.
The Breakfast Club helped the famished Thunder serve up a 17 point win over a Rockets team that had won six in a row, lost to the Wolves by 3, beat the Wolves 2, lose to LeBron’s Lakers in OT by 7, lose to LeBron’s Lakers in OT by 1, lose to the WCF runner-up Nuggets by 2 and beat Giannis’s Bucks by 5.
Over that stretch of games, The Bench Pack has been causing a ruckus. Could I describe the ruckus, sir? Sure.
Kenny Hustle has averaged 12.3 points, 6.9 nice rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals on 37-60 shooting. And most importantly, he’s already staking a claim to get his mullet carved in stone on the Thunder Hustle Mount Rushmore along with Nick Collison, Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams.
Darius Miller had only played garbage time minutes in three games this season and no games the previous season before being plucked from The Breakfast Club scrimmages to the dinner time spotlight. Shaking off the injury rust, he’s played double digit minutes every game in the past seven and shaking off the shooting dust, he’s hit 7-15 from long range.
Isaiah Roby missed a three game stretch, but The Breakfast Club’s spokesperson averaged 9.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1 steal and 1.3 blocks and shot 16-27 from the field in the four games he played. Perhaps more than any other player, Roby represents the theme of this Thunder season. The sophomore was on a cut countdown clock by fans and analysts in the preseason, and now one third of the way through the season, the former second round pick is viewed as a possible core player of the future.
Before we get to the Breakfast Club’s newest honor student, a special shout out to the Ally Sheedy’s of the group. While Hall hasn’t made his Blue debut due to injury, Brown has busted out in the Bubble scene. In three G League games, the 7’2” center is averaging Molly Ringwald numbers: 20.3 points, an absurd 14 rebounds and a ridiculous 3 blocks per game.
That brings us to Justin Jackson. The 25 year old former #15 overall pick has been the Thunder’s leading scorer the past two games with back to back 20 and 22 point performances. Against the Nuggets and Bucks, Jackson has shot 16-27 from the field including 7-9 from downtown and racked up 8 assists, 6 rebounds and 3 steals. On Valentine’s Day, he warmed the hearts of every Thunder fan, even the stone-hearted tankers, with a shot clock buzzer beating, hand-in-his-face, three feet behind the stripe 3 point dagger to beat Giannis and the #2 seed Bucks. Step aside, Emilio Estevez, there’s a new letterman jacket jock in town.
Last week was the 35th anniversary of the release of John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club. Not a single member of Mark Daigneault’s Breakfast Club was alive when the iconic movie hit theatres. Ready to feel old? Neither was Daigneault.
*Cue the 80’s pop music and feel-good ending.*
That timeless film finished with a freeze frame fist pump and the words “Don’t you forget about me” ringing out over and again. Nobody knows what the future has in store for the Thunder’s Breakfast Club. But this small frame of games will be frozen with fist pumps in fans’ brains forever. Justin, Kenrich, Darius and Isaiah… OKC won’t forget about you.
- Lillard and his Damne shoes are back tonight at The Peake.