Update, 2/9/12: Charles Garcia has been suspended for five games without pay for "violating the terms of the NBA D-League's anti-drug policy." Team spokesperson Brett Hansen could not confirm what substance Garcia was suspended for. Garcia will begin serving his suspension tomorrow night, when the Skyforce play the Idaho Stampede. Update, 2/13/12: Evidently not feeling that the automated suspension is harsh enough, the Skyforce has sent Garcia "home to Seattle" and is looking to "trade or release" him, the Argus Leader reports.
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Garcia landed in South Dakota after a Skyforce assistant coach, former University of Washington star Eldridge Recasner, persuaded team brass to acquire the 6'10" Garcia, who has blossomed into the team's starting center. That represents quite a departure from his lone year at Seattle U, where he often roamed the perimeter or brought the ball up the court, with varied results.
"They've got me playing strictly five," says Garcia, whose Sioux Falls teammates include Patrick Ewing Jr. and Anthony Mason Jr., their dads both famous Knicks (Ewing Sr. spent his second-to-last season with the Sonics). "I'm really going for rebounds and attacking the glass more. I'm getting the ball in the post...I just need to polish my game a little more. I'm still fading away a little too much."
Garcia admits to second-guessing his decision to turn pro after being the focal point of Seattle U's inaugural season in KeyArena. "It hit me when I was going back and forth from Mexico to Utah. I was like, 'Did I do something wrong here?' But everybody's trying to get to the NBA level, and a lot of guys went through this journey to get to that point, so I don't feel bad. It takes time to get there, but I will get there. If I have to go through the back door, that's what I'll do."
Currently averaging 18 points and seven rebounds per game, Garcia says he's contemplating opportunities to play pro ball in Europe, where the money is "pretty damn good" compared to the NBA's minor league. Should he remain on this side of the Atlantic, however, he feels there's "a pretty good chance" he'll get called up to the NBA by season's end. There are NBA players whom Garcia says he could hold his own against right now: Nicholas Batum, a prominent Portland reserve, is one, and starting Laker small forward Matt Barnes is another. When asked if he could smoke the unnervingly cocky ginger stiff Brian Scalabrine (Chicago Bulls), Garcia replies, "Oh, for sure. But obviously he's [in the NBA] for a reason, and I'm not."
Setting aside the question of whether Seattle should be granted another NBA franchise, Garcia can't believe the city hasn't been bequeathed an NBADL (formerly NBDL) team. "That'd be amazing," he says of a potential D-Legue team at the Key. "No professional basketball in Seattle? That's pretty lame. I don't like that."
Brother, you're not alone.