Cal core Kameron Rooks earnings to a college home of his defunct father Sean Rooks, who upheld divided in June

It’s a core of May. California seven-footer Kameron Rooks sits behind in one of a core lanes of Eagle Bowl, only around a dilemma from his mother’s home in San Marcos, Calif.

His father, 12-year NBA maestro and former Arizona star Sean Rooks, is in singular form. 

“I can see him smiling, us carrying a good time as a family, again,” Kameron says. “My relatives are separated, nonetheless that was a initial time we all got behind together.”

“Sean and I, we desired any other,” says Susanne O’Brien, Sean’s ex-wife, and Kameron’s mother. “We only weren’t good, married … We’ve attempted to get behind together so many times, nonetheless we indeed distant substantially about 10 years ago. We had some get-back-togethers in between there, nonetheless we strictly divorced substantially 6 years ago.”… This night, though, is a special occasion. Khayla, Sean and Susanne’s 17-year aged daughter, is getting prepared for prom. It’s an arise few fathers would miss, and a 6-foot-10 Sean wasn’t about to spin down a opportunity. But, before putting a fear of God into Khayla’s promenade date, he wanted to get a tiny goofy.

“He was hilarious,” O’Brien says. “There was nobody in a bowling alley, nonetheless us, for a many part. We were kind of removed — maybe it only felt that way, given we were all in a possess tiny bubble. He would indicate during feign people and fake they were entertaining for him. He was hilarious. He was in grand Sean fashion, that’s for sure.”

Of course, Sean is talking smack. It’s something his son is used to. Every time Kameron’s Bears have faced off opposite Sean’s Wildcats over a final 3 years, there was copiousness of pre-game trash talk on a phone, and over text. When Kameron was young, that competitiveness voiced itself in “grueling” basketball workouts during a internal gym. 

“Honestly, there were times where we had to tell Sean, ‘Sean, he’s a kid,’” O’Brien laughs. “He was like, ‘I don’t care. He’s got to learn.’ Sean was one that said, ‘You’ve got to adore a game, and if we adore a game, we put your heart into it,’ that kind of thing. You would have to build Kameron behind up, sometimes, like, ‘It’s OK, Kam, we did a good job,’ and Kameron would go in one direction, and I’d demeanour during Sean, and go, ‘You’re an adult.’”

As tough as Sean could be on his son, on a court, off of it, he was a justice jester.

“He was killin’. He was killin’,” Kameron says of that night during a bowling alley. “He was articulate rabble to me, being dumb, being funny. He was only being a large goofball, like he always is.”

“Any time that he could win something, and speak crap, he was so competitive, and he was in his element, in that regard,” O’Brien says.

Two weeks later, only after an speak with a New York Knicks, Sean — who, after 12 years in a NBA, was rising adult a coaching ranks, anticipating to get a group of his possess — collapsed inside of a grill in Philadelphia. As he suffered a deadly heart attack, he was removing a call from a Knicks; they wanted to offer him a pursuit as Director of Player Development.

On Saturday, both Kameron and his mom will lapse to a McKale Centre in Tucson, Ariz., for a initial time given Sean’s passing.

Kameron, in a phone speak this week from Tucson, speaks of his father in a benefaction tense. “We all do,” his mom says. There’s good reason for that.

“He’s always been there for me, even when I’m carrying a tough time. He always knows what to contend to hearten me up. He’s always positive,” Kameron says.

Sean’s many determined recommendation to his son still echoes in his head: “’Enjoy life, and only trust a process. Everything happens for a reason,'” Kameron say. “Obviously, we only need to keep fighting, to keep overcoming these obstacles, and only concentration on a positives in life, instead of a negatives. That’s what he unequivocally taught me: Just suffer a process, and have a good time. Life is too short. Life is too short.”

The Meet-Cute

O’Brien played basketball in high school. She pronounced proudly, in a phone review this week, that she hold her possess agains her destiny father personification one-on-one, while they antiquated during college.

Hell yeah,” O’Brien laughed. “He was vicious. we could describe to Kameron. we would go in, and he’d strike my shot off a walls. we would provoke him: ‘You’re always perplexing to behind me down, given that’s all we can do, is behind me down.’”… O’Brien had offers from a brood of smaller schools entrance out of high school, nonetheless she wanted a big-college experience, so she headed to Arizona, formulation to only be a student. Nevertheless, she attempted out for a Wildcats’ women’s team.

“In my initial practice, we did all a running, and we did all with a team, played a tiny bit, and we ran into a bathroom. we consider we got strike on in a bathroom, that threw me, given we was from a tiny town, and we was like, ‘OK, that threw me,'” she said.

One coach, she said, told her that she was ‘too flattering to play basketball,’ and that she should ‘pick a male off a men’s group and play basketball with him.’

“I was like, ‘Dang. That was rough.’ It should have been my call to say, ‘Screw you; I’m going to play, and I’m going to uncover you,’ nonetheless we motionless to take his advice, and we went and found myself a male off a men’s team, and we was happier,” she said, facetiously. 

For O’Brien, there was a anguish duration for a detriment of basketball in her life, and for dual years, notwithstanding requesting to a lottery for a right to buy tyro tickets, she didn’t attend a singular men’s game. There was one man, though, who hold her eye.

In a core of her sophomore year — Sean’s redshirt youth deteriorate — a dual crossed paths a few times on their approach to class.

“He used to travel by me all a time, and we suspicion he was unequivocally special,” O’Brien said. “I had a category in a opposite area of a school. We met in January, so classes had only altered and we had only started. we found out that he always crossed my path, so we would wait by a library, given he would always pass after this one class. One time, he came out and passed, and him and Wayne Womack were walking together from a library, and by this hall. They were both huge, and holding adult all a room, so we destitute by and said, ‘Excuse me,’ and pennyless by a dual of them.”

As O’Brien finished her approach to her car, she incited and batted her eyes in Sean’s direction. It worked. He asked for a float to practice, notwithstanding a fact that, during 6-foot-10, he hardly fit into her Pulsar NSX.

“It was a minute car, and he folded adult in my front chair — it was only a tiny two-seater,” O’Brien said. “His knees were adult by his ears. I’m a Diet Coke freak, so we was like, ‘I have to get a Diet Coke, so you’re going to have to stop with me.'” 

Sean did only that, and paid for his destiny wife’s beverage. 

“We got behind in a car, and literally, we gathering in a circle, given his use was maybe another 10 stairs divided from where we picked him up,” O’Brien said.

Sean asked for her number, and, O’Brien said, “That’s all she wrote.”

On a Road

Drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with a 30th altogether pick in 1992, Sean Rooks embarked on his veteran career. O’Brien fell profound with Kameron while Sean was personification in Texas, and when he got traded to a Minnesota Timberwolves in 1994, she went to Dallas and packaged adult his things for a move. That summer, a dual wed.

From an early age, Kamron was a unchanging participation in NBA locker rooms. Following his army in Minnesota, and afterwards partial of a deteriorate in Atlanta, Sean Rooks came behind to his then-wife in Southern California, personification for 3 seasons with a Los Angeles Lakers. After a two-year army behind with a Mavericks, he played 3 some-more seasons in L.A., with a Clippers.

“He brought me in a locker room. we was a round child during one point, too, for a Clippers,” Kameron said. “I was cold with Keyon Dooling and Wang Zhizhi, Corey Maggette. we was unequivocally cold with them. we favourite them a lot, generally Keyon Dooling and Andre Miller.”

When his personification career ended, and he changed into a coaching ranks, Sean took an partner pursuit with a Bakersfield Jam, a NBA Developmental League associate of a Phoenix Suns.

“He was using behind and forth. We were in Claremont during a time, and he was using behind and onward fundamentally between a residence and Bakersfield,” O’Brien said. “It was brutal. We even went to Bakersfield, me and a kids, and we went for Kameron’s birthday, actually, and we watched a diversion and everything, and afterwards all of us went to Magic Mountain. It was on a approach home.”

Still, whenever he was home, Sean made time for his children, training both a finer points of a game. Kameron, of course, finished adult in Berkeley. 6-foot-1 Khayla, who has a print of her and her father pinned to a tip of her Twitter feed, has sealed to play basketball for Washington, and is now averaging 18.5 points per diversion for 24-2 San Marcos (Calif.) Mission Hills, a No. 33 group in a nation.

“When he was home, he would take me to a gym, and we would work out, and his workouts were brutal,” Kameron said. “He was always anticipating ways to assistance me.” 

A Team of His Own

As with his workouts with his son, Sean Rooks wanted to be means to keep adult with his players, as a coach. In a months before his death, he’d mislaid weight and dieted. Knowing he had an lengthened heart, he was operative to stay healthy not only for a consequence of staying healthy, nonetheless so he could be on a building with group half his age.… Though he was still underneath agreement with a Philadelphia 76ers, a group coronet authorised him to speak for other jobs. He’d already gotten an offer to turn a conduct manager a Charlotte Hornets’ NBADL team. He’d served as an partner in a NBADL with Bakersfield (now a Northern Arizona Suns), a New Mexico Thunderbirds (now a Canton Charge) and a Sioux Falls Skyforce, before a one-year army with a Skyforce’s primogenitor club, a Phoenix Suns. For a past dual years, he’d been an partner for Philadelphia.

“He wanted his possess team. He was a good coach,” O’Brien said. “He was like, ‘I’ve got to get on a building with these kids, and they can’t make me demeanour stupid.’ He was unequivocally trying, and he looked phenomenal.”

He’d already been coaching Kameron his whole life, and as Kameron continued his collegiate career, his father would be coaching group only a few years comparison than his boy. Sean also had a solid palm when it came to a psychological side of a game. He was a vital partial of his son’s liberation from his ripped ACL as a sophomore. When Cal trafficked to New York for a 2K Classic during Madison Square Garden, Sean finished certain to see his hobbled son, and go out for dinner.

“Whenever we trafficked to a East Coast, he was always there,” Kameron said. “We’d only have dinner, have a good night with any other. we remember saying him in New York, and that was a unequivocally good time, too. Right after a game, we got to see him, got to go eat with him. He only told me to concentration on my rehab, concentration on my lifting, of course, given those are a things that are going to get me behind even better. Also, he said, ‘Just trust a process. Everything happens for a reason.’ Sometimes, mentally, it was tough to do. Now, we see what he said: Enjoy a process, trust a process. You see Joel Embiid, he was out for dual years, 3 years, and my father was means to manager him, and now demeanour during him – improved than ever.”

Hard on Himself

Sean Rooks was relentlessly certain with his son, always upbeat. It was vicious irony, then, that he was relentlessly tough on himself. 

“I’m flattering sure [the heart attack] was given of all a highlight he had,” Kameron said. “Being divided from a family, it does put a fee on your body. we wish we could have been there, more, for him. That’s what was going by my mind, was that we wish we could have cheered him up, and calmed him down, so he wasn’t as stressed. we didn’t know that was spiteful his body.” 

“He says that all a time, and it breaks my heart,” O’Brien said. “There’s zero that Kameron could have done. Kameron, we think, sometimes, he felt that […] we always consider that we didn’t do enough, or whatever, when something bad, like this, happens, and we wish and wish and wish we could have moments back, and we could change it. All a things that Kameron went through, Sean had already left through, so Kameron would call him and only be like, ‘Dad,’ and Sean would travel him by it, and tell him how to do something opposite on a floor, tell him how to speak shit to somebody who was bothering him, or, ‘You’re a large male so we competence have to paste a integrate people along a way; it’s OK.’ Sean did a unequivocally good pursuit of perplexing to be that guy.”

Father and son common some-more than only singular altitude. They also common a captious perspective of themselves. Yes, he was unfailingly certain and supportive, but, O’Brien said, that wasn’t who Sean was, divided from his children.

“He was kind of a disastrous male about himself,” O’Brien said. “I think, Kameron, his personality, is a lot like his dad’s, so he’s unequivocally disastrous about himself, so we find yourself always perplexing to be super-positive, to keep him up.”

That’s what Sean did with Kameron. He did that by revelation him to trust a process, “and suffer a journey, yep,” O’Brien laughed, recalling a same difference that her ex-husband used to repeat to their son. That’s what Sean told his son a day before his surgery, on Jun 6, 2016, to repair a highlight detonate in his fifth metatarsal. After carrying missed a deteriorate with a torn ACL, working his approach behind into figure and winning down a widen as a redshirt sophomore, a damage was a setback.

The Worst Phone Call 

As Sean got on a plane from North Carolina to Philadelphia, after his speak for a Hornets’ D-League job, he wept for his son.

“He was sobbing, sobbing,” O’Brien said. “He called me, only sobbing. He said, ‘I’m so embarrassed, sitting on this craft and we can’t stop crying.’ I’m like, ‘It’s going to be OK.’ He said, ‘He’s worked so hard. I’m so sad. He only works so hard, and he’s come so far.’ He only pennyless down. He couldn’t control it.”… Despite operative on a East Coast, when Kameron underwent medicine for his ACL, Sean was there. 

“When we came by a doors, he was watchful in a watchful room, before we went in,” O’Brien said. “We got to a medicine center, not awaiting Sean. We were only going to check in, and there he sat, to make certain he was there for Kameron.”

He couldn’t be there for his son’s feet surgery, nonetheless he and Kameron did talk.

“The final time we talked to him was a day before my surgery,” Kameron said. “We were mostly articulate about, he pronounced we was going to be alright, and all was going to be good, that it was only another barrier that we indispensable to overcome. Obviously, he said, ‘Trust a process, suffer a process.’”

Sean afterwards called O’Brien, both before and after a procedure.

“Usually, given Kam’s had a integrate surgeries now, so when Kam goes into surgery, I’m customarily freaked,” O’Brien said. “We’d customarily have conversations while we was waiting, and he would try to ease me down, and tell me it’s going to be OK.”

Kameron came by with drifting colors, nonetheless he was in for a severe night. He couldn’t get comfortable, and after sleeping in, O’Brien helped him find his approach to a couch. She went and showered, afterwards put on some sweats so she could take caring of her seven-foot-tall baby boy. Sean had called her a Saturday before a medicine — she was set to expostulate adult in a let automobile that Sunday for a procession on Monday — and told her he’d talked to a Cal coaching staff.

“He was like, ‘Suz, I’m pursuit you, so don’t kill a messenger,’” she said. “I was like, ‘What?’ He said, ‘I don’t consider a coaches wish we to come, so maybe […]’ and we was like, ‘Are we teasing me? we know you are not revelation me not to go, and Kameron’s going into surgery.’ He was like, ‘Suz, we already told them. It’s a finished deal. we told them do whatever we have to do; she’s coming.’”

So, there she stood, as her son stretched out on a sofa.

“I was in my house, sitting in my vital room,” Kameron said. “My mom only got out of a shower. She got a phone call, and we didn’t consider she was articulate about my dad.”

Neither did O’Brien. After removing out of a shower, she saw that her ex-mother-in-law Deborah Brown had called. So had her possess mother. She attempted to call Brown back, nonetheless couldn’t strech her.

“I called my mom back, and my mom was hysterical,” O’Brien said. “She said, ‘I have to tell we a misfortune thing we consider we could presumably ever have to tell you.’ Being a mom, I’m panicking.”

Khayla Rooks, during a time, was staying with O’Brien’s mom during Kameron’s childhood home in San Marcos. O’Brien’s initial suspicion was of her daughter.

“My heart was in my throat,” O’Brien said. “She said, ‘No, it’s Sean.’ we have a brother, Sean, so we said, ‘What happened with Sean?’ He’s a one who has health issues and things going on, so he would be a some-more expected claimant for something to be wrong. Then, my mom said, ‘No, not a Sean; your Sean.'”

O’Brien fell to a floor. Kameron hobbled over as quick as he could, fearing it was his uncle. 

“I’m so sorry,” Kameron told his mother, holding her close.

“I’m like, ‘No, baby, I’m sorry, given this isn’t my brother. This is your dad,'” O’Brien said.

“She told me it was my dad, and we only started bawling,” Kameron said. “We were disturbed about my sister, given my sister was during home, alone, and we called her, and it was only a mess. It was terrible.”

Everything, O’Brien said, was “falling detached around us.”

Just dual weeks after saying her ex-husband so full of life, joking and capering around a bowling alley, a whole family together, she would now have to devise a funeral.… First, O’Brien called her daughter, in a core of a propagandize day. Her initial suspicion was to get home to comfort Khayla, nonetheless Kameron reminded her that amicable media would shortly surprise his sister of their father’s passing. So, she picked adult a phone and called.

Kameron called a coaches, and told them what had happened. He was headed home with his mother. Within 10 minutes, all 4 coaches — Cuonzo MartinWyking JonesTim O’Toole and Tracy Webster — were in their center’s vital room, assisting to container suitcases, giving both mom and son hugs, and assisting to make arrangements for mom and son to get behind to Southern California. 

They weren’t done, yet, either. The coaching staff attended a funeral, as did teammates Roger Moute a Bidias and Jabari Bird, who were a partial of Kameron’s recruiting class.

“For them to expostulate all a approach down there, that’s love, right there,” Kameron said.

Sean Rooks was laid to rest dual weeks after he passed, during Forrest Lawn Cemetery in West Covina, Calif.

The Bigger They Are

Kameron Rooks’s father had helped him get by a trials of his ACL rehabilitation. Sean himself had never gifted that dire an injury, nonetheless he had ripped his meniscus as a youth in high school. His difference echoed in his son’s conduct as he recovered from his feet injury, nonetheless there was another wound that was still fresh, one that no volume of weight lifting or lively work could assistance heal.

As Cal readied for a 2016-17 deteriorate in October, Kameron ran into one of his father’s former teammates, Steve Kerr, during Cal connoisseur tyro manager Nick Kerr‘s birthday party.

“I saw him, and he pronounced that he was contemptible for my loss,” Kameron said. “I remember him and my father articulate it adult on a sidelines during my high propagandize games, in San Diego.”

The condolences were good taken, nonetheless even with his mother’s basketball experience, there was a hole that was only too large to fill.

“I’ve had many, many times where I’ve damaged down,” Kameron said, including after one of his initial practices back, after recuperating from his feet surgery. “There was a time right after practice, where we started walking home, and we only detonate into tears, given he’s a initial one I’d wish to speak to, and he’s not there. That finished all even worse. we adore my mom, nonetheless it’s only not a same.”

Sean and O’Brien had always played good cop-bad cop. Sean would contend she was too soft, that she was always “mom-ing” Kameron. She’d tell him that he was too hard. After Sean’s passing, she had to take on both roles.

“We did a good pursuit of equaling any other out,” O’Brien said. “I remember, in those conversations with Kameron, perplexing to be harder and tougher, and being some-more up-front. He’s only perplexing to redeem and get behind into a pitch of things, and we couldn’t unequivocally tell him how that feels, like his father would be means to. we can tell him a same things — Trust a process.

Kameron poured himself into basketball, focusing on a diversion his father loved. Rehab was therapy, weight lifting was recover and practice, his sanctuary. He wanted to get behind on a building to work out his frustration, to go by a really opposite routine — a lamentation routine — and infer to his father that he could do him proud.

Then, 4 games into a season, Kameron — who had already had some pain and flourishing in his knee — went adult for a miscarry nearby a finish of a 71-61 win over Wyoming. He couldn’t get any lift. It felt, to him, like his whole leg had left dead. He attempted ice, and then a knee sleeve, going behind onto a floor, nonetheless he had no lift in his legs, still.

The diagnosis was a ripped meniscus. It wasn’t scarcely as bad as was feared, nonetheless nevertheless, O’Brien and her son pennyless down and cried, and a dual hold onto one another in a Haas Pavilion training room.

It was all too much. Between his foot, his father, and his knee — a same one he’d had surgically remade — Kameron was holding strike after strike after hit. He would need surgery, and would be out, again, 4 to 6 weeks.

To lift her son’s spirits, O’Brien took Kameron, her mom Roberta, her niece Meghan and Kameron’s partner Kristina, to see a Pixar movie, Moana, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

“It was a best thing we ever did,” she said. “I wanted to see a opposite movie, and he said, ‘No, mom, let’s go see Moana.’ So we went to go see Moana. We had to shaft adult a medicine chest that night, and he was like, ‘Let’s go to a movies.’ He wanted to see Moana. My kids are 21 and 17, nonetheless they adore things like that. In Moana, Moana loses her grandma, and has a outrageous tie with a grandma, and a grandma says to her, ‘No matter what, we always have to follow your dreams, and know that I’m always with you.’ We all left that film bawling our faces off, and realizing that we were meant to be in a museum during that time, examination that movie.”

Finding His Footing

Even staggered, Kameron felt his father’s hands lift him behind up.

Just suffer a process, and have a good time. Life is too short. Life is too short.

“It was in a behind of my head, nonetheless during a same time, we was apparently still bummed out that we wasn’t means to play half a season, given we wanted to play for him,” Kameron said. “This was also in a behind of my mind: He wouldn’t wish me violence myself up, only given we got hurt. He’d wish me to only keep working, and keep grinding.”

There were days where it was tough to get out of bed, during a 10-game widen he missed, from Nov. 27 by Jan. 1, nonetheless his father’s voice put his feet on a floor, and kept him relocating forward.… “Just a suspicion of him, we know he’s examination down, right now, and we know he wouldn’t wish me to be in my bed, feeling contemptible for myself, thinking, ‘Why does this always occur to me?’” Kameron said. “Don’t get me wrong; we have my bad times, and that’s since we have manager Martin and manager Wyking, and manager O’Toole. They’ve been assisting me a lot. They’ve been assisting me with my mind, all a coaches have been doing it, doing a good pursuit assisting me. I’ll go and revisit them, go and speak with them after a game, and afterwards they’ll give me advice, only like Dad did. They stepped adult large time, and helped me with my mentality, and helped me to keep plugging away.”

Martin customarily checks in on Rooks, who’s male adequate to acknowledge there have been tears, only not in front of Martin.

“I only can’t cry in front of coach, we know?” he laughed.

“After he had his knee surgery, all a time, we tell him that he has to build on any day,” O’Brien said. “You can’t consider that you’re going to have surgery, and a month later, you’re going to be behind on a floor, only like we were, before. Life doesn’t work like that. we only echo all Sean has always said: Trust a process. Enjoy a journey.

That tour now takes Kameron behind to where his parents’ story began: a Arizona campus. The Wildcats, battling to stay atop a Pac-12, will respect their former first-team All-Pac-10 forward.

“There is a devise to somehow incorporate Sean into a common customized pregame intro video,” pronounced Arizona basketball media family staffer Matt Ensor.

As shortly as Kameron schooled that, he texted his mother.

“I said, ‘How do we feel about that?’ He said, ‘I’m OK. we was texting given we was some-more disturbed about you,'” O’Brien said. “I said, ‘I’m going to be fine.'”

O’Brien will be there for her son. It’s appropriate, given it was during Arizona that she met Sean.

“It’s going to be crazy, because, after a game, if we kick them, we can’t speak pound to him, we know?” Kameron says. “He’s always rooting for me, nonetheless he’s also rooting for Arizona, we know. He’d wish me to win, nonetheless if we remove [to Arizona], afterwards he’ll be happy, as well. He would only contend that he was unapproachable of me, and how we played good defensively, whenever we went adult opposite Arizona in a diversion we lost. He was really unapproachable of a approach we played, and obviously, we’d sell some words. I’d say, ‘Aw, Arizona ain’t that tough,’ and we’d only speak rabble to any other.”

The tension of a night will supplement to an already heated atmosphere. Twice in a final 3 years, Cal has dissapoint a Wildcats, notching season-defining wins in a process. Now healthy, Kameron Rooks — who, over a final 11 unchanging deteriorate games final year, pulled down an normal of 7.2 rebounds and shot 60.5% from a margin — will be aiming to give his group another stretch-run boost. He’s finished what his father told him: He’s devoted a routine — both in a training room, and in grief — and notwithstanding holding some complicated blows, he’s enjoyed a journey.

Posted in
Tagged . Bookmark the permalink.
short link