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Armon Gilliam
NBA PLAYERS
  • Name: Armon Gilliam AKA Armen Gilliam
  • Position: Power Forward
  • Height: 6-9 (2.05m)
  • Weight: 230 (104kg)
  • College Team: Nevada-Las Vegas Rebels
  • Nationality: American
  • Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Birthdate: 5/28/1964 - 7/5/2011
  • Drafted: Selected by the Phoenix Suns in the first round (2nd pick overall) of 1987 NBA Draft.
BIOGRAPHY If you have additional information you would like to contribute to any player profile (i.e. missing stats, biography), please click here. Please be aware that you must have a verifiable source.
Former NBA player, UNLV great Armen Gilliam dies

Statistics

SEASONS

GP

FG%

3PT%

FT%

SPG

BPG

RPG

APG

PPG

1982-83 Independence JC.

38

62.1

63.2

N/A

N/A

8.3

0.4

16.9

1983-84 UNLV

Did Not Play

1984-85 UNLV

31

62.1

---

65.3

0.9

0.5

6.8

0.2

11.9

1985-86 UNLV

37

52.9

---

76.8

1.1

1.1

8.5

0.5

15.9

1986-87 UNLV

39

60.0

---

72.8

1.4

0.9

9.3

0.9

23.2

DIV I Totals

107

58.0

---

72.2

1.1

0.9

8.3

0.5

17.4

 
Matthew's Musings: 2011 NBA Draft
Articles


The 2011 NBA draft is over, but instead of talking about draft grades that you can find anywhere on the Internet, I want to focus on historical patterns and why this past draft was a train wreck in terms of execution and scouting ideology.

The first 6 picks rolled through with a mild surprise in Tristan Thompson who surged to number 4, and Brandon Knight who dropped out of the top 5 despite several NBA Draft prognosticators labeling him the number 3 pick. Utah wisely chooses Enes Kanter while Knight's fall lasted until Detroit scooped him with the 8th pick. What happened next not only left me scratching my head, but made me question if scouting had really been done.

Bismack Biyombo has been glorified as a Ben Wallace clone since dominating 2011 Hoop Summit with a triple double showing. He also has some unique circumstances that almost mirror rising NBA player and Congo native, Serge Ibaka. Charlotte committed hard and drafted Biymombo early at 7. After all, how could they not be getting something similar to Ibaka? The big picture though has become clouded and even though both players have alarming similarities, they quickly stop after the heritage and Junior Spain basketball upbringing.

Unlike Biyombo, Ibaka at 16 had a much more refined game with solid perimeter shooting, ball handling and is a much more explosive player. In basic basketball Jargon, at 16-years-old, Ibaka's fundamentals were light years away from 18-year-old Biyombo's. Even when you look at their work in the LEB (Spain's second division Basketball League), Ibaka trumps Biyombo in every category.

It amazes me that the NBA doesn't draft high schoolers because they claim that extra year of school is good for them (maybe two, depending on how this year's Collective Bargaining Agreement shapes up), but upon seeing Biyombo's triple double assault on USA's Junior National team, NBA GM's decided he has the goods. Never mind that the US had no true center. Heck, I could even argue they had no true power forward, as UNC bound James McAdoo is a combo forward and Kentucky Bound Anthony Davis is a mere 195 pound forward who is still getting his body together after his astronomical 8-inch growth spurt after his sophomore year. These guys are hardly NBA bangers but yet some acted shocked on how Biyombo dominated them physically. The point is, he isn't a sure thing and has more questions surrounding him than any player drafted in the top 10.

 
Six Degrees: Dwayne Wade has more connections than a rolodex!
Articles

Six Degrees of Separation is the popular theory that you can link a person to anyone else in the world through acquaintances with an average of only six people separating the two individuals.

So what's Dwayne Wade got to do with Ty Cobb & Babe Ruth? Follow the trail that connects Dwayne through one of the greatest lines in Six Degress that will span 5 Hall of Fame players in baseball and basketball...

  • ►Michael Jordan hand picked Dwayne Wade to join his Jordan Brand Shoe Company through a shoe endorsement deal.
  • ►Dean Smith coached Michael Jordan while at North Carolina from 1982-84.
  • ►Frank McGuire asked Dean Smith in 1958 to join him as an assistant on his coaching staff.
  • ►Joe Lapchick was a close friend to Frank McGuire through his college years and later in life.
  • ►Babe Ruth would often play barnstorming basketball games with Lapchick's Celtics teams during the 1920's
  • ►Rip Collins played with Ruth on the 1920 & 1921 New York Yankee teams as well as Ty Cobb's Detroit Tigers of 1923 - 1926 seasons.

Dwayne Wade might have the single greatest six degrees of seperation that leads back into the 1920's.

 
Draft Flashback: NBA Draft Review of 2003
Historical
NBA Draft Review of 2003
DATE: June 26, 2003


Site: Theatre at Madison Square Garden, New York
DRAFT OBSERVATIONS
Through the years, there have been few NBA drafts with a surefire lock for the number one pick. Lebron James was ranked by most experts and journalists as the number one amateur player in the world. During his senior year, "The Lebron Effect" was tremendous leading up to the draft. His popularity and fame were so high that the demand for his games to grew in epic proportions. Auction websites such as EBay were selling video taped games for $25-$50.00 dollars. ESPN took it a step further and commenced to broadcast nationally televised games during his senior season. Even casual fans were tuning in to catch a glimpse of the next potential Michael Jordan. And unlike many of the Early Entry underclassmen, freshman Carmelo Anthony led Syracuse to the NCAA Championship while sophomore sensation Dwyane Wade took Marquette to the final four. For the first time in a long while, the NBA had three stars in Anthony, Wade and Lebron, who had already established fan bases before playing in the NBA. But add to this list the Serbian sensation, Darko Milicic who just turned 18, and had already played two years of professional ball in Yugoslavia's top league. Scouts and GM's were enamored with his height and shooting ability. UNLV's Marcus Banks went from being an early second draft pick to one of the hottest names in the draft. Through private workouts Banks' stock went through the roof.

One of the most interesting stories on draft night was the drama of Maciej Lampe. Although considered by many to be one of the top ten talents in the draft, he unbelievably slid out of the first round before being the first second round selection by the New York Knicks. Lampe's stock plummeted when his overseas team, Complutense, sent memos to all of the NBA informing them that Lampe had a huge buyout and they still maintained his rights. This information made a lot of team's leery about drafting a player in the first round that could have legal problems.

Although both Jason Kapono and Luke Walton didn't perform the way many scouts and GM's hoped and although they weren't marked as definite draft prospects, they did the best job of improving their draft stock. Slovenian guard Sani Becirovic also deserves admiration for coming back from two serious knee injuries that were so devastating, many called it career ending. Had Becirovic come out two years earlier, he quite possibly would have been a top twenty selection. Unfortunately, his injuries kept him out of the game for a year and he had opportunity for only one mediocre workout before the draft. Many will tell you he was probably only at 35-40 percent of his true playing level. Nevertheless, Becirovic's success as a draftee is a testament to his perseverance and ability as a ball player.

This draft also led to a rule change as Sofoklis Schortsanitis and Darko Milicic were allowed to enter the NBA draft despite being age seventeen when they declared. Commissioner David Stern pointed to the league's former rule that stated a player must be eighteen when they declare for the draft. Stern then went on to say that both Schortsanitis and Milicic were eligible if they were eighteen at the time of the draft. This worked out great for Milicic, but would Schortsanitis been better served staying overseas? He dropped out of the first round and was selected in the second round, 34th overall, by the Los Angles Clippers.

Then came the pick that made the most commotion and virtually no one knew about it. The Portland Trailblazer's selection of Nedzad Sinanovic had many wide-eyed and open mouthed. After almost three years with the Bosnian Army, Sinanovic decided he was going to play basketball again. His agent had him signed and on his way to the Spanish club, Unicaja Malaga. Here, the raw prospect would workout, gain experience and training, but would never actually play for the team, giving him extremely low exposure to scouts and GMs. During this time Sinanovic developed tremendous potential, and because of his age, was automatically eligible for the draft. But with a non-English speaking agent and virtually no publicity, the prospect of going undrafted was at the door. This fate, however, was what Sinanovic was hoping for. Going undrafted equated to more dollars for the player. As a free agent, he would have bypassed the rookie pay scale and been able to sign a contract with any NBA team for an unrestricted amount. Needless to say, gone are the days of international surprises!
DRAFT DETAILS
Automatically Eligible for Draft: All NCAA seniors, International players born in the year 1981, or players that transfered from a college team to a professional team in the same calendar year are automatically entered.
Draft Order: 14-29 Order is determined by season records and tiebreakers per team.
Early Entry: High school seniors and International draftees are eligible for the draft if they are in the same year in which they turn 18. All other candidates 18 and over such as H.S. Seniors, Freshmen, Sophomore, Juniors, Seniors and Internationals prospects born 1982-1985 can apply.
Irregularities: None.
Lottery Picks: 1-13 Order is detremined by ping pong balls with the team with the worst record getting the most chances.Each team in the lottery is assigned a certain number of combinations, such that teams with worse records are assigned more combinations increasing their odds of landing a top-3 pick. There are a total of 1,000 combinations that are assigned, one of the combinations does not belong to any team and the 4 balls are redrawn if it is encountered. Having 1,000 combinations makes it easier to calculate the probability of receiving the first pick in the draft.
Total Rounds: Two
DRAFT SNIPPETS

First Pick: Lebron James (1st overall)
Naismith Player Of the Year: T.J. Ford (6th overall)
Last Man Standing: Andreas Glyniadakis (58th Overall)
First Point Guard: T.J. Ford (6th overall)
First Shooting Guard: Lebron James (1st overall)
First Small Forward: Carmelo Anthony (3rd overall)
First Power Forward: Darko Milicic (2nd overall)
First Center: Chris Kaman (6th overall)

Dominant Alumni: Foreign Leagues (20)
Darko Milicic (2nd overall)
Mickael Pietrus (11th overall)
Zarko Cabarkapa (17th overall)
Aleksandar Pavlovic (19th overall)
Boris Diaw (21st overall)
Zoran Planinic (22nd overall)
Carlos Delfino (25th overall)
Leandrinho Barbosa (28th overall)
Maciej Lampe (30th overall)
Sofoklis Schortsanitis (34th overall)
Szymon Szewczyk (35th overall)
Slavko Vranes (39th overall)
Zaur Pachulia (42nd overall)
Malick Badiane (44th overall)
Sani Becirovic (46th overall)
Pacellis Morlende (50th overall)
Remon Van De Hare (52nd overall)
Nedzad Sinanovic (54th overall)
Xue Yuyang (57th overall)
Andreas Glyniadakis (58th overall)

Final Four:
Syracuse: Carmelo Anthony (3rd overall)
Kansas: Kirk Hinrich (7th overall), Nick Collison (12th Overall)
Texas: T.J. Ford (8th overall)
Marquette: Dwyane Wade (5th overall)

Total Underclassmen Declared: 74
Oldest Player Drafted: Travis Hansen (25)
Yougest Player Drafted: Sofoklis Schortsanitis (18)

 
Draft Flashback: NBA Draft Review of 1999
Historical
NBA Draft Review of 2001
DATE: June 27, 2001


Site: Theatre at Madison Square Garden, New York
DRAFT OBSERVATIONS
The 1999 NBA draft had few franchise players like Elton Brand but will nonetheless be remembered as a solid draft class. Perhaps the deepest position in the draft was the small forward position. Eleven small forward were drafted in the first round. When it comes down to talent and high quality role players this class proved that you don’t need a franchise rich draft to have a good crop of prospects.

The Chicago Bulls dominated for several years with six NBA championships featuring three Hall of Fame players in their starting lineup. What rival wouldn’t wait and hope for a downfall? Their faith was fully rewarded as the Bulls finished the season 13-37, far from the championship glory that fans and media grew accustomed to. The Bulls vilified GM Jerry Krause, blaming him for purposely breaking up the team while outside accusers also scrutinized him. This draft brought increased pressure for Krause to choose wisely. Owning the first pick, he had several options. Krause could take Steve Francis, the high flying crowd pleaser from Maryland, Lamar Odom, the talented but troubled youngster, or Elton Brand, the dominate big man from Duke who was arguably the best player on the best team in the nation. With few applause Krause chose steady big man Elton Brand. Some questioned Brand’s size but Krause was convinced that he would not only succeed but potentially reach star status. A year later, Krause proved himself correct when Brand was named Co-Rookie of the Year with Steve Francis. Krause also made another excellent choice in Ron Artest, a native New Yorker like Brand. In their high school days the two joined forces on their AAU team and became fast friends. In the end, Krause blew the tandem up by trading Brand and Artest in the span of three seasons. Since then Artest and Brand have become All-Stars among the league’s best for their respective teams.

The dream is not to be drafted by an NBA team but to be drafted by the right NBA team. Steve Francis looked as happy as a man on his way to a root canal. He literally threw his hands in the air after hearing his name called as if saying "Why me Lord". Before the start of the draft, Francis informed the Vancouver Grizzlies that he didn’t want to be selected by a team too far from his Grandmother in Maryland. She had raised him after his mother’s unfortunate death. After the draft, Steve Francis (in John Elway fashion), forced the Grizzlies to make a trade with the Houston Rockets. This was a destination that was extremely pleasing to Francis. He was elated with the thought of staying closer to home (for those who might not know, NFL player John Elway was originally drafted by the Colts. He and his father apparently had problems with the Colts coach at the time. Elway was traded to the Denver Broncos where he became a Hall of Fame quarterback). Francis has been a three-time All Star, but still has reportable character issues and is viewed by some as a spoiled athlete.

McDonald’s never tasted so good. Jonathan Bender, who by many accounts was a talented blue chip college bound player, still looked a few years shy from entering the NBA. No one envisioned the 205 pound 6-11 high school Center going pro, but that all changed suddenly when he played in the Annual McDonald’s All American game, the showcase for the best high school talent in the land. Bender dominated the game shooting three point baskets with amazing fluidness and displaying unbelievable athleticism. He even broke the legendary McDonald’s scoring record of Michael Jordan - 30 points. In 31 minutes Bender had 31 Points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks in a performance that would catapult him to the top of the NBA draft board. But Toronto never kept Bender and immediately traded him to the Pacers. Sadly, Bender never reached his potential as injuries withered away his progress. Finally, chronic knee problems lead to his retirement in 2006 at the tender age of 25.

Sometimes smaller is better in the world of basketball. Small school love was in full effect as teams were drafting players from schools not famous for basketball. The first team to start the trend was Golden State as they picked up Jeff Foster from Southwest Texas State. Foster captured team’s interest with a strong showing at Portsmouth and the Nike Desert Classic. Next Jerry West, in his typical fashion, drafted Division III Devean George of Augsburg College. This small school player earned All Tournament Honors at Portsmouth and became the first Division III player to be drafted since Lamont Strothers in 1991. Lastly, Antwain Smith was drafted out of St. Paul’s college in Virginia after an above average showing in Portsmouth. These players proved that despite the major college conferences, there’s a place for small school players in the NBA.

Sometimes what you see isn’t what you get. Mavericks GM and Coach Don Nelson looked at the draft and figured that if he was going to gamble, going with a big man would be his best bet. Leon Smith was an extremely talented big man who stood out in Chicago’s public league. The Illinois Player of the Year had a number of Division I scholarships lined up. In the end it was down to Fresno State or the NBA. Despite unfavorable reports about his draft status (pegged by many to be a second rounder), Smith entered the NBA draft with barely as much buzz as fellow teen phenom Jonathan Bender. San Antonio gave up Smith as part of deal with the Dallas Mavericks. Nelson knew Smith was a bit of a project and wanted his big man overseas to develop a little more before entering the NBA. Smith however rejected this notion and insisted that he was NBA material. Physically he was ready but it became clear that his mental capacity was still immature and self-esteem battered. Since the age of five Smith had been a ward of the state, living in various foster homes and shelters. Two weeks after signing, he attempted suicide by swallowing 250 aspirins. In an alleged deranged state, he was found in his home passed out wearing green war paint. After being released from the hospital Smith again found trouble when he threatened his ex-girlfriend and damaged her mother’s car. He was then put in a program for psychiatric treatment and payment arrangements were made for his 1.45 million dollar contract to be disbursed over 10 years. Smith has made two returns to the NBA, one with the Atlanta Hawks in 2001-02 and the other with Seattle Supersonics in 2003-04. He continues to receive treatment and play basketball for minor league teams.

China’s first is not as good as the sequel but just as important. Wang Zhi-Zhi drew a host of blank stares on draft night. While a superstar in China, Zhi-Zhi’s rise onto radar of pro NBA scouts came about during the 1996 Olympic Games were he had a very good game against the U.S. dream team with 12 points and 7 rebounds. Even more mysterious to NBA officials (and even Chinese reporters) is how Zhi-Zhi could be selected when he never declared for the draft. Every document that was available at the time listed Wang Zhi-Zhi as being born in 1979. Thanks to his agent, the Mavericks were able to get a hold of Wang’s true birth date showing the legal documents that indicated that Zhi-Zhi was born in 1977 and making him draft eligible. It took two years for Zhi-Zhi to join Dallas when Chinese basketball officials finally allowed him to pursue his NBA career. After Wang left for the NBA his Bayi Rockets team that was so dominate in the Chinese Basketball Association had been beaten by the Shanghai Sharks with there promising newcomer Yao Ming. Yao then went on to become the first pick in the 2002 NBA draft.

Spice up your NBA team with some international flair. Two of the best players in the draft were two of the biggest steals, and both international players. Andrei Kirilenko was only 18 years old but already had three years of professional basketball experience in Russia. Blessed with tremendous athleticism and potential, Kirilenko had pro scouts buzzing with excitement. Utah took him with the knowledge that he would stay overseas for a while. Two years later Kirilenko made his debut in the NBA where he has blossomed as not only one of the most versatile players, but also one of the best small forwards in the game today. Unlike Kirilenko who had a lot of buzz, Manu Ginobili was a relatively obscure commodity. Ginobili was known as a solid player in the second division of Italy but not a future NBA prospect. In Europe young players are often identified and put on premier teams to slowly develop. Ginobili played for his father Jorge’s local team Bahia Blanca while growing up in Argentina. This explains why he was under the radar to many pro scouts. Ginobili stayed overseas for four years after being drafted where he became a superstar. Suddenly teams were grimacing about this 57th pick joining forces with Spurs’ Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. Needless to stay these worries were well founded as Ginobili helped San Antonio win two world championships. He further established his talent leading Argentina to a gold medal in the 2004 summer Olympics.

DRAFT DETAILS
Automatically Eligible for Draft: All NCAA seniors, International players born in the year 1977, or players that transfered from a college team to a professional team in the same calendar year are automatically entered.

Draft Order: 14-29 Order is determined by season records and tiebreakers per team.

Early Entry: High school seniors and International draftees are eligible for the draft if they are in the same year in which they turn 18. All other candidates 18 and over such as H.S. Seniors, Freshmen, Sophomore, Juniors, Seniors and Internationals prospects born 1978-1981 can apply.

Irregularities: None.

Lottery Picks: 1-13 Order is detremined by ping pong balls with the team with the worst record getting the most chances.Each team in the lottery is assigned a certain number of combinations, such that teams with worse records are assigned more combinations increasing their odds of landing a top-3 pick. There are a total of 1,000 combinations that are assigned, one of the combinations does not belong to any team and the 4 balls are redrawn if it is encountered. Having 1,000 combinations makes it easier to calculate the probability of receiving the first pick in the draft.

Total Rounds: Two
DRAFT SNIPPETS
First Pick: Elton Brand (1st overall)
Naismith Player Of the Year: Elton Brand (1st overall)
Last Man Standing: Eddie Lucas (58th overall)
First Point Guard: Steve Francis (2nd overall)
First Shooting Guard: Wally Szczerbiak (6th overall)
First Small Forward: Lamar Odom (4th overall)
First Power Forward: Elton Brand (1st overall)
First Center: Aleksander Radojevic (12th overall)

Dominant Alumni: Foreign Leagues (6)
Frederic Weis (15th overall)
Andrei Kirilenko (24th overall)
Rico Hill (31st overall)
Wang Zhi-Zhi (36th overall)
Gordan Giricek (40th overall)
Emanuel Ginobili (57th overall)

Final Four:
Connecticut: Richard Hamilton (7th overall)
Duke: Elton Brand (1st overall), Trajan Langdon (11th overall), William Avery (13th overall),
Corey Maggette (14th overall)
Michigan State: None
Ohio State: None

Total Underclassmen Declared: 39
Oldest Player Drafted: Lee Nailon (24)
Yougest Player Drafted: Andrei Kirilenko (18)
Trade Transactions: Draft Day Trades
 
1997 Undrafted - Fabricio Oberto
Drafts
  • Name: Fabricio Oberto
  • Position: Power Forward
  • Height: 6-10 (2.08m)
  • Weight: 245 (111kg)
  • INT. Team: Deportiva Atenas
  • Nationality: Argentine
  • Birthplace: Cordoba, Argentina
  • Birthdate: 3/21/1975
  • Drafted: Not drafted by an NBA franchise.
BIOGRAPHY If you have additional information you would like to contribute to any player profile (i.e. missing stats, biography), please click here. Please be aware that you must have a verifiable source.



Statistics

SEASONS

GP

FG%

3PT%

FT%

SPG

BPG

RPG

APG

PPG

1995-96 Atenas

57

68.7

---

61.0

1.4

1.0

6.3

0.9

13.2

1996-97 Atenas

42

68.8

---

51.0

1.1

0.9

6.3

1.0

12.4

Totals

99

68.7

---

56.2

1.2

0.9

6.3

0.9

12.8

 
2011 NBA Draft Power Forward Prospect Rankings
2014 Draft

Rank Player Pos. School Ht. Wt. Proj. Rd.
1. Jared Sullinger PF Ohio State 6-9 260 1
2. Trey Thompkins PF Georgia 6-9 250 1
3. Donatas Motiejunas PF Benetton 7-1 225 1
4. Derrick Williams PF Arizona 6-8 235 1
5. Greg Smith PF Fresno State 6-10 250 1
6. Marcus Morris PF/SF Kansas 6-9 225 1
7. Aaric Murray PF La Salle 6-10 250 1-2
8 Willie Reed PF St. Louis 6-9 220 1-2
9. Jajuan Johnson PF Purdue 6-10 215 1-2
10. Jeremy Tyler PF Tokyo Apache 6-10 245 1-2
11. Renardo Sidney PF Mississippi St. 6-10 270 2
12. Will Coleman PF Memphis 6-9 250 2
13. Kenneth Faried PF Morehead St. 6-8 225 2
14. Gary Flowers PF/SF Southern Miss. 6-8 215 2-FA
15. Lavoy Allen PF Temple 6-9 225 2-FA
 
2011 NBA Draft Center Prospect Rankings
2014 Draft

Rank Player Pos. School Ht. Wt. Proj. Rd.
1. Enes Kanter C Kentucky 6-11 260 1
2. Fab Melo C Syracuse 7-0 255 1
3. Keith Benson C Oakland 6-11 225 2
4. Giorgi Shermadini C Panathinaikos 7-1 250 2-FA
5. Jarrid Famous C South Florida 6-11 240 2-FA
6. Robert Sacre C Gonzaga 7-0 250 2-FA
7. Gary McGhee C Pittsburgh 6-11 238 FA
8 Mike Tisdale C Illinois 7-1 250 FA
9. Uros Lukovic C Radnicki II 7-0 240 FA
10. Brent Qvale C Montana 6-11 265 FA
 
Honorable Draftee: The Case for Chris Street
Articles


The Case for Chris Street

For many Big Ten basketball observers in the early 1990's, the league had an amazing amount of talent. If you were a fan during this time, there were usually two things you either hated or loved, depending on your loyalties. For many, it was the hot-dogging of Michigan's Fab Five, and for others, it was Iowa's physical ball club. The focal point for opponents and fans often resided with Chris Street and his aggressive pursuit of rebounds, mastered with the rare ability to pick up the spirits of the Iowa faithful with a mere fist pump.

When people talk about Chris Street's basketball ability, you won’t hear about 40-point games or ridiculous stats. His real talents aren’t found in the quick glimpse of his player profile. To discover Street’s worth, you had to see him play. More than anything, his willingness to compete against anyone or do anything, from diving on the floor to providing a tough box out, endeared him with all of Iowa. No just the university – the entire state of Iowa.

If you were from Iowa, you liked Chris Street. It was that simple. But for the rest of the country, proof of his talent concedes with what he accomplished in his three years with the Iowa Hawkeye program. Street appeared on scout's radar following a solid freshman year. During that time he became a full time starter and ended the year among the Big Ten’s leaders in field goal percentage and rebounds. Despite playing in a conference that would produce 13 draft picks in the span of the two years (1993 & 1994) Street remained consistent and ever improving.

 
Gold Rush to Fool's Gold: The Decline of the International Prospect
Articles

With the 2010 NBA Draft now a thing of the past, history books are beginning to reveal something interesting; I dare to even call it alarming, and it may prove to be a budding new trend: the international basketball market is in severe decline.

Take a look at this past 2010 NBA draft. There was only one international draft pick in the first round, Kevin Seraphin. And after Seraphin suffered a minor knee injury, it was rumored that he might withdraw from the draft. That would have meant no international draft picks in the first round, a scenario that hasn’t occurred since the 1997 NBA Draft. As for round two, there were only five foreign picks.

So why was Seraphin the only international first rounder? When Donatas Motiejunas and Jan Vesely both pulled out of early entry, no doubt the international market took a hit. Most early entries withdraw from the draft because of poor draft status, but this was not the case with Motiejunas and Vesley. Although both prospects were projected as locks in the first round, there was speculation that contract buyouts could hinder Vesley’s and Motiejunas’s prospects. But even if you factor in these two “no shows”, the numbers still dictate a decline.

 
Remembering Lorezen Wright: The Baron of Memphis Basketball
Articles


In cities across America there are basketball legends who are embraced locally. Anfernee Hardaway gets this respect in Memphis. In many ways he can be considered the king in Memphis – royalty in basketball as best to ever grace the city’s courts. And like every king with his royal heritage, there will be others who possess similar noble swag. Lorenzen Wright can be counted among nobles in that city. He is the Baron of Memphis basketball.

Lorenzen Wright at Memphis

Wright can claim such status in this city due to his University of Memphis pedigree and the upbringing of his father, Herb, who was a talented basketball player in his own right. Wright’s lineage is marked with basketball royalty only shared by a select few. From a young age he learned perseverance and toughness as he witnessed his father overcome adversity after being wheelchair bound. Herb played professionally and starred at Oral Roberts, although not a spectacular player, he understood the game and dabbled overseas before returning to Memphis.

While at a local community center, thugs shot Herb in the back in retaliation for his breaking up a fight earlier that evening. Despite this adversity he continued to teach Lorenzen the game and even earned a head coaching spot at Shelby Community College on the women’s team.

Wright’s grandmother raised him in Oxford, Mississippi for most of his life. With his parents in Memphis, Wright would frequently visit his father and spent a good portion of the summer months with his parents receiving training on his game. Wright played his first two years at Lafayette high school in Mississippi, taking his team to the state title as a sophomore before losing to Mississippi powerhouse Lanier (led by Georgetown bound Jerry Nichols).

But how could a player born and, for the most part, raised in Mississippi endear himself to the people of Memphis? After a fateful conversation with his parents, Lorenzen made the difficult decision to leave Lafayette High School and play his remaining years at Booker T. Washington in Memphis. The decision proved to be a great move, as he raised his profile on the court, averaging 27.6 points, 18.1 rebounds, and 6.6 blocks per game in his senior year while leading his team to the Tennessee state quarterfinals. Wright also earned a spot on McDonald’s prestigious All American team and was often viewed as a top 20 player in his class.

 
Remembering Mel Turpin
Articles


Last night’s news of Mel Turpin’s suicide coincided with Lebron’s one-hour special, but word of Turpin’s demise was much more profound. I thought someone made a terrible joke on Twitter and it saddened me to confirm this terrible news. He was killed from what appeared to be a self inflicted gunshot wound.

Turpin dunking

Turpin was a 1984 first round draft pick, but didn’t care too much for the game as a kid. Despite his 6-foot-5 stature while still in grade school, he was mechanical with poor coordination, yet even after reaching high school he remained unmotivated.

Bobby Barlow was the head coach at Bryan Station High School. He cut Turpin in his sophomore year citing lack of passion to improve. To make matters worse Turpin wasn’t a model student. It was a challenge for his mother, Louise, to get him to attend school on a regular basis, but things changed after he was discovered by Melvin Cunningham, a local advisor who worked with the raw youngster daily while providing positive reinforcement.

Turpin was still raw in his junior year, but greatly improved. Once again, he went out for the Bryan Station team and earn a spot. As a senior Turpin received a scholarship offer from Kentucky, but old academic habits detoured him to prep powerhouse Fork Union Military Academy. While Turpin improved his stock, Kentucky gained a commitment from Sam Bowie, one of the nation’s most sought after prospects. Turpin did well at Fork Union, averaging 25 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 blocks per game, but he was unsure if he should re-open his recruitment. The thought of sharing the floor with another center was unheard of at the time, yet his desire to play for his dream school was strong enough to wipe away any doubts.

As back-up to Bowie, Turpin’s first year proved solid, but opportunities were limited as Bowie dominated. Unfortunately, Bowie suffered leg injuries that sidelined him for 2 years. It was during this time that Turpin’s power game down low proved fruitful for Kentucky. He earned All-SEC nominations and started to get serious All-American considerations. Turpin had a great deal to offer with his 15-foot jumper and strong finishing skills in the post.

Off the court, warning signs that would plague him in the pros began to surface. People close to the situation say that in today’s world, Turpin would have been diagnosed with an eating disorder. In 1984 a prognosis related to overeating was virtually unheard of.

 
White Man's Burden
Articles

In a sport dominated by African Americans (82% during the 2008-2009 NBA season), white ball players are dealt an unfair hand each time an analyst limits them in comparison to a historical white player.

Comparing white to white only is a flawed method of evaluation.

Mathematically speaking, white players should find themselves compared more often to African American ballers. Old habits are hard to kill, but for the sake of basketball’s evolution this must change.

For example, take a white player like Gordon Hayward and you get the same old boring cookie cutter analysis: “Average athlete, great feel for the game, blah, blah, blah”. Race is the elephant in the room that many claim does not exist, but when I caught up on some 2010 draft info, I discovered the race card continues to be an ugly factor.

From Left to Right: Hayward, Aldrich and Babbitt

Getting back to Hayward, I’ve seen ridiculous comparisons like Luke Jackson, Michael Dunleavy Jr., Troy Murphy and Pat Garrity. The general rule seems to be this: find any white perimeter player and assign the comparison to Hayward. This is a glaring example of how draft history can go beyond lines of nostalgia or entertainment and be utilized in a more purposeful manner - to identify historical players (regardless of race) that best suit the current player rather than drawing straws for players of the same race.

 
1981-1988 3rd-4th Round Rundown
Articles


The 3rd and 4th rounds are finally complete! I thank you for your patience as this information unfolded, and offer my thanks to everyone who provided their assistance during the research process. Now it’s to take the next step with this vast amount of information: to place each profile in its proper place. I will dedicate the next few months to upgrading the NBA teams, State, Country, College, Last Name, Position and by Pick draft pages. Your loyalty to the site and zest for draft history has reinvigorated me in this long and sometimes tiring process.

1981-1988 Main Highlights:

Drazen Petrovic– By the time Petrovic entered the NBA at the young age of 25 he was already an established European legend, adored by his country of Croatia. Petrovic entered the NBA three years after the Portland Trailblazers drafted him in the third round of the 1986 NBA draft.
Petrovic doing what he did best Scoring!
He proved fruitful in his rookie year as a competent back-up for Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler when the Trailblazers reached the 1990 NBA finals before losing to the Detroit Pistons. During mid-season of his second year, Petrovic was traded to the New Jersey Nets but received ample playing time to finally show his skills. The results where electric as Petrovic took a young, inexperienced New Jersey team to the play-offs after a five year drought reaching the postseason. The following year proved to be Petrovic’s greatest season in the NBA when his numbers were the best and respect of his ability were seen with his All-NBA 3rd Team selection. Unfortunately that season was his last as a Petrovic was killed in a car accident while in Germany. In 2002 he was enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Mark Eaton - Despite his height, Eaton never took to basketball in his youth. Instead, the 6-11 senior loved playing trumpet and water polo. Much of this lack of interest had to do with his limited success due to poor strength and coordination. After sitting the bench in high school Eaton enrolled in automotive school to become a mechanic. But his chance meeting with an assistant coach at Cypress Community College proved fruitful. After dedicating himself to getting in shape and improving his skills, UCLA became intrigued with Eaton’s 7-foot-2 frame and offered him a scholarship. UCLA head coach Larry Brown inherited the philosophy of taking chances on center projects from his mentor and former coach, North Carolina’s Dean Smith. But Larry Brown left the program after Eaton’s junior season, moving on to coach the New Jersey Nets. Brown’s replacement, Larry Farmer, did not agree with the vision for Eaton. His minutes per game were literally cut in half (8.1 MPG to 4.1 MPG), which clearly affected his confidence. Coach Farmer didn’t even take Eaton with the team for UCLA’s last road trip, choosing freshmen instead. But fate again would shape Eaton’s future as Utah Jazz’s head coach Frank Layden drafted him in the fourth round amongst many stares by NBA observers. Faith in the now 7-foot-4, 300-pound center would prove genius as Eaton became a one time all-star and two time NBA defensive player of the year. Eaton remains the NBA’s number five leader in career block shots.

 
1976 - 1980 3rd-4th Round Rundown
Articles

TDR keeps it rolling with another 5-year release of 3rd & 4th round draft profiles: 1976-1980

1976-1980 Main Highlights:

Bill Laimbeer – You may currently know him now as the fun-loving, former head coach of the WNBL’s Detroit Shock, but Laimbeer was also a feared enforcer on the Detroit Piston championship teams of 1989 and 1990.
Bill Laimbeer Boxing Out!
The four time all star was a huge steal in the third round and a key member of the Piston's “Bad Boys” along with teammates Mark Aguirre, Rick Mahorn and Dennis Rodman. His physical play often made him a target of opposing fans and players, but Laimbeer also brought a great deal of rebounding, perimeter shooting and toughness. Perhaps what made him hard to reconize was that Notre Dame had a philosophy about spreading the minutes and playing a half court offense. Digger Phelps was the head coach at time. He is often cited by Laimbeer himself as someone “he didn’t see eye to eye with”. You have to wonder if the Laimbeer-Phelps rocky relationship created inconsistency in Laimbeer’s playing time.

Michael Cooper - Cooper never made an all star team, but he left a tremendous legacy in the NBA. Only a handful of defensive players have been more feared. His wiry 6-foot-5 frame made him capable of guarding three different positions (PG, SG and SF). As a key member on five championship Lakers teams’, Cooper’s contributions on the defensive side were widely recognized by the league as witnessed by his five, first team all-defense selections. In his pre-NBA days Cooper was not known for defense, but rather his athletic finishing ability and scoring prowess. It was unbeknownst to the Lakers at the time, but this 60th pick in the third round became one of the best perimeter defenders of all time.

Eddie Johnson - Fast Eddie, as he was called, was a lighting quick guard capable of slashing into traffic with ease. While at Auburn, Johnson’s erratic play and poor attitude often led to inconsistent performances. This definitely affected his draft stock and caused him to drop down to the 49th pick in the third round. As a two time all-star in his first five years in the NBA, Johnson’s career appeared to be on its way up. But Johnson was not only fast on the court. A cocaine addiction was quick to rob him of his mental faculties and talent. By the time he was out of the league he moved up to selling and smoking crack, as well as burglary, battery, robbery and various drug charges. Fast Eddie was just recently sentenced to life in jail for raping an 8-year old girl. His misdeeds appear to be self inflicted. All background checks point to a hard working family and, if his brother, former 10 year pro Frank Johnson, is any indication, it doesn’t lack class or pride. Fast Eddie still has another rape case pending at this time involving a 25 year old woman.

Nick Galis - But who is Nick Galis? If you're about to access your mental library in attempt to recall his the NBA career, I'll spare you the reference check. Galis didn’t play a minute in the league, but he is counted among the notables due to his legendary play in Greece. Galis is to Greece what Sabonis is to Lithuania and what Jordan is to America - the best player ever. He was born in New Jersey to Greek parents, but he was not an overnight prodigy. Galis developed through countless hours of practice. As a senior at Seton Hall he finished third in scoring in the nation, and is considered one of the school's best players. Yet despite his talent, Galis signed with an inexperienced agent who didn’t even have the player workout for any NBA teams. Given the opportunity for workouts, he more than likely would have seen late-first to mid-second round. After being selected by the Celtics, Galis was injured in training camp and limited him for two weeks. Celtics' GM Red Auerbach decided to cut Galis which opened up the opportunity for him to play overseas. The next 14 seasons were spent carving out a tremendous career highlighted by 5 Greek MVP awards, 8 Greek League Championships and 2 medals as a member of the Greek National team. Lastly, one has to take the word of the late Red Auerbach, one the best ever evaluators of talent in the business of basketball. He mentioned cutting Galis as one of his biggest mistakes.

James Donaldson - At the time, Donaldson looked like nothing more than your average big man. Like all NBA teams, the Seattle Supersonics looked long and hard for quality centers. Donaldson was still raw, so the team told the unpolished specimen to go overseas for a year and develop. Donaldson secured a spot on the team one year later, and over the next few years became a dependable rebounder and athletic force around the basket. His rise was culminated in 1988 when he was named to his first and only NBA ALL-star team. Donaldson's career started to slow down due after debilitating injuries forced him out of the league at the age of 37. After basketball, Donaldson became an owner and director of the Donaldson Clinic, which specializes in fitness and physical therapy. Just recently Donaldson ran for Mayor in the city of Seattle, but came in fourth on a non-partisan ticket.

Pat Cummings - Noted for his great shooting touch, Cummings had a very productive pro career - 12 seasons in the NBA before retiring in 1991. Cummings was drafted in 1978 by the Milwaukee Bucks as a junior eligible draftee (this was due to the fact that the talented power forward broke his leg in his junior season and had to sit out a year), but Cummings immediately returned to college for his final season. As a pro, nagging leg injuries quickly reduced Cummings effectiveness on the court, but for a span of five years he was one of the league’s most dependable starters.

1976-1980 Research Problems:

Jim Cooper - I didn’t find Cooper until the ninth hour. He is listed wrong on every draft list currently available on the internet. Whomever first copied the list for internet availability copied it wrong, and through further copying by other draft sites, that error became fact. Until now. Yet even the University of Alabama media guide claims Cooper as a draftee of their school! Needless to say, Cooper is a product of Alabama State who, like everyone other school, had no idea who he was. His freshman year and senior year numbers have yet to be uncovered. Thankfully, Cooper’s due at his school can now be recognized.

Ricardo Brown - He was a mystery man until I was able to track down his sophomore year at Yavapai Junior college. Before that, Brown started his career at Centenary where he played his freshman year with first round draftee Robert Parish. Unfortunately, Centenary has no reference to Brown playing, as he isn’t even listed as a letterman in the school’s media guide.

Larry Rogers - He was drafted out of the U.S. Army, but the NBA erroneously listed him at SE Missouri State. Rogers did spend his freshman year at the school, but his academics soon forced him out. Rogers spent the next three years in the Army, but it is unknown if he played the AAU team his first two years. It is fact, however, that he played AAU for the Army during what would be the 1978-79 season. Needless to say, his stats are extremely limited.

Richie Allen - Allen moved around more than a “Hip-Hop ABS” workout. Four years at four different schools made him incredibly hard to track down. His stats during his two seasons at junior colleges Santa Barbara and Ambassador have yet to be found. His senior year season at Dominguez Hills are scattered and limited.

Roy Smith - Smith started his career at the HCBU, Lincoln University of Missouri, but it appears that some time in his freshman year he transferred to Kentucky State. I have yet to uncover the information listing his Lincoln stats, but every indication that I have received from former players is that Smith played 8-10 games at the school. Unfortunately, what he averaged has yet to be found.

There is more great stuff coming out of my historical vault. Dig into this latest release as I move on to make ready the 3rd and 4th round draft picks, 1976 through 1980.

Enjoy!
Matthew Maurer
 
Ivan Renko Awards
Articles


...but who the hell is Ivan Renko?

Once upon a time back in 1993, a 6-foot-8, 230 pound power forward from Yugoslavia (Serbia) entered the recruiting world off the lips of Indiana’s head coach Bobby Knight. Knight brought media attention to the player claiming that he committed to play for Indiana.

Knight's story was that while attending a coach's clinic in Europe, he was made aware of the player. His account of Renko's living conditions in the war torn country created a high buzz. But what happened next is one of the greatest April Fools jokes of in all of sports. Various experts responded by ranking Renko and publishing scouting reports. One even proclaimed him to be a white Larry Johnson, which today is like saying he's the next Kevin Durant. Another expert claimed to spot the strapping power forward on Indiana’s campus. But how could this be when Knight made the whole thing up?

Renko is imaginary. He never existed. Knight concocted him to expose the so-called recruiting experts he doubted were providing real scouting information.

This is the backdrop to the Ivan Renko Awards. It's given to the players who seemingly appeared out of nowhere with tremendous hype and acclaim through various media outlets. But like every award, there are stipulations.
  • Player must be drafted or declared for the draft.
  • Player must have some pre-draft hype or be a huge surprise pick.
  • Player must be a lemon in Renko fashion.
The draft nerd (that's me) lists the following Renko Awards from 2000 onward, with 2010 to be determined:

2000: Schea Cotton – Introduced to the world as a 10th grader through a full feature in Sports Illustrated. This would-be LeBron James of the 90’s found himself in decline when his manly physique and skills began to peak, as his peers caught up. Cotton was once projected as a potential NBA all-star, but never made it to the league.

2001: Kedrick Brown – Brown is the highest a juco player has gone and may be the reason along with Alek Radojevic why no other Juco players have been taken as high.

2002: Peter Fehse – The Seattle Supersonics admitted they didn’t even scout him. One would think an NBA draftee would have a productive career overseas, but Fehse has been anything but a star on any level, except the third division Germany league he was drafted from.

2003: Maciej Lampe – He was part of the international craze that saw 20 players drafted from international leagues. Lampe is a great player overseas, but lacks athleticism and all around skills. He is smart and fundamentally sound player for an overseas career player, but what NBA team drafted him for that?

2004: Ivan Chiriaev – Anytime a Canadian high school player heads for the pros, a scout's eyes will be watching. This relocated Russian bombed in the Canada all-star game and made no friends with his infamous interview line while announcing his candidacy for the NBA draft., “The NBA wants and needs Ivan Chiriaev.” He has yet to play in the NBA and his overseas career is extremely suspect.

2005: Orien Greene - What do you do when you're not getting playing time for a great team in a tough conference? You apparently transfer to a lower division and create a niche for yourself. At 6-4, Greene’s specialty was his self-proclaimed point guard status. With the love of a few media outlets, the Boston Celtics bit. But it turns out they ordered up the wrong meal. A greasy hamburger of a player can't be transformed into a juicy steak.

2006: Ejike Ugboaja "Who in the world!" basically sums up my thoughts on draft night. I obtained his profile stats through some detective work. He has yet to play in the NBA and I doubt he ever will.

2007: Milovan Rakovic – I had the opportunity to see this guy play several times, and each time I came away with the thought that Rakovic is a career overseas player who will play in a decent league, but not with a premier overseas team. Who is his genius agent? He's definitely earned more than his standard commission. Give that man double.

2008: John Riek – While not an unknown on the prep level nationally, few had heard of him. First, everyone thought he was just a sophomore. Second, he only played a handful of games after spending his initial time in the Sudan. Then suddenly, a few (suspect) legal documents surfaced to claim Riek was a post graduate 19-year old. The more answers that were given, the more questions arose; from his real age to how good of a player can he really be.

2009: Taylor Griffin – No offense, but no one on draft night (except maybe his brother, Blake, and their parents) felt that both brothers would be drafted. It smells like an Agent favor, but thanks to his brother, Taylor had one of the best sports agencies backing him up.

Congratulations to the Ivan Renko clones. So who's next? As if there won't be one for 2010? Someone is going to take a dud for no good reason. TDR will be here with draft day giggles to hand out the Award.
 
Small School Love For the 2010 NBA Draft
Articles

If there is anything that stands out this year in college basketball, it's the small school players who will have an impact on the 2010 NBA draft. Overall, this year's draft class does not appear to be that deep or that talented, and judging from the mocks draft around web, including NBAdraft.net and yours truly here at TDR, it seems this year's class has at least five to ten players projected who wouldn't see the light of day in a normal, stronger year.

Or is this year's small school class exceptional? Afterall, we're not just talking about one standout, like a Lester Hudson, but at least five thus far who have been visited by NBA scouts.

Top Small School Prospects

  1. Keith Benson - Oakland - C
  2. Charles Garcia - Seattle -SF/PF
  3. Artsiom Parakhouski - Radford - C
  4. Edwin Ubiles - Siena - SG
  5. Kevin Palmer - Texas A&M Corpus Christi - SG

Parahouski (left) & Benson (right) NBA prospects look bright.
There's no doubt this surge in small school prospects has much to do with the fact that two of the five happen to fill one of the hardest spots in the league, the Center position. Benson and Parakhouski both have their share of fans among scouts. In particular, Benson clearly has a nice upside and a still developing frame with a good grasp on fundamentals. On the other hand, Parakhouski is a virtual opposite with his big frame and less fluidity than Benson, the much more finished product.

Gauging these players from a historical draft perspective, Benson has the potential to go as high as another small school product, Jeff Foster, who was drafted 21st overall out of Southwest Texas State (now known as Texas State) in the 1999 NBA draft. As for Parakhouski, I feel Dan McClintock, drafted 53rd overall out of Northern Iowa in the 2000 NBA draft, is a good representation. In the case of Parakhouski I wouldn't be shocked if he goes in the early part of the draft.

Rounding out the remaining Top 5 are perimeter players, with the exception of Charles Garcia who is at the college level a combo forward. To put it mildly Garcia is enjoying the newly reintroduced Division I program. University of Seattle has a very rich basketball history and is no stranger to the NBA draft, boasting six former players drafted in the first and second rounds. Yet the hype on Garcia has been tremendous and, in my opinion, bit too exuberant.

It's not to say this hype is faithless. There is definitely some girth to the press Garcia has received, but a top twenty draft pick? I don't know about that. From a historical perspective Garcia reminds me of Jerome Beasley, who was drafted 33rd overall out of North Dakota in the 2003 NBA draft.

Rounding out the bottom are Edwin Ubiles of Siena and Kevin Palmer of Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Both players must continue to build on their senior seasons and have a good showing at the Portsmouth Invitational tournament, but this is not a knock on either player. More than ever, draft night of 2010 will be greatly impacted by what goes on at the pre-draft camps.

 
1971 - 1975 3rd-4th Round Rundown
Articles

TDR keeps it rolling with another 5-year release of 3rd & 4th round draft profiles: 1971-1975

1971-1975 Main Highlights:

George Gervin - This future hall of famer was an afterthought coming out of Eastern Michigan, but it wasn’t because of his talent. When Gervin was selected by the Phoenix Suns he had already been playing two years for the NBA’s rival, the ABA. At the time early entry was new and much different than today. It was labeled “going hardship”, and the player was required to prove the existence of financial distress beyond their control
George "Iceman" Gervin
which forced them to become professional. Depending on the situation the NCAA would give their blessing or deny the player.

Gervin dropped out of college and was drafted by the rouge ABA. This organization broke barriers. The ABA drafted players out of high school (Moses Malone), played banned NBA players (Connie Hawkins) and drafted underclassmen out of college, regardless if they declared or not.

Gervin spent four years in the ABA and earned three all star appearances. He demonstrated amazing showmanship that endeared him to many fans. Even though the NBA drafted him two years after he left college for the ABA, the Phoenix Suns never had a chance to sign Gervin. The San Antonio Spurs entered the NBA through the merger with the Iceman on their roster. Gervin went on to enjoy a Hall of Fame career and become one of the game’s greatest scorers, earning nine NBA all-star appearances.

Clifford Ray - His name may escape the lips of so-called NBA historians, but just ask anyone who played during his time. Clifford Ray is one of the best interior defenders to play the game. He was a fiercely tough competitor whom teammates and coaches loved. Ray is one of those players whose ability was hard to measure. His former Chicago Bulls team traded him to Golden State for Nate Thurmond and some cash. Many observers of the 1975 Golden State team will agree that, despite superstar players Rick Barry and Jamaal Wilkes, the Championship would not have been secure without Clifford Ray. He was a rebounder and intimidator who would block shots, dive on the floor, and do whatever it took to walk away with the win. Ray never made an all-star team, but was an excellent player and an absolute steal in the third round. He can now be found on the sidelines for the Boston Celtics where he is an assistant coach.

Don Buse - Buse is a widely respected player armed with great fundamentals and is one of purest jump shooters of the early 1970’s, yet defense is where he made his claim as a four-time NBA defensive first teamer. Although Buse made only one all-star game, much of this had to do with his unflashy style of play and “team first attitude”. He was never a big scorer, often allowing his teammates to shine despite his prowess as a perimeter shooter. After a solid 13-year playing career Buse took some time as an assistant coach with the Sacramento Kings before a drug problem with cocaine forced him out. Buse enjoys an avid hobby as a horse owner and has been seen at several events.

Kevin Porter - He is arguably the best player ever at 39th pick overall, rivaled only by Al Attles. Porter was a tremendous passer with solid defensive skills, but is “me first” attitude stifled his talent. He is known as a selfish assist man, forcing passes, and a gambler on defense, which often put him at odds with coaches. Yet he is one of the quickest guards to ever play the game and was an extremely productive player as he led the NBA in assists on four different occasions. An ACL injury in Porter's fourth season caused him long term problems throughout his career. Before the advancement of ACL surgeries, this type of injury would spell the end of an athlete. Luckily, Porter was able to maintain a career, but most often with problems due to fluid buildup and swelling. Some claim he wasn’t as quick as he was before the injury. Following his retirement from the NBA Porter went on to coach at Jensen Academy, an elementary school in Chicago.

Larry Kenon - Special K, as he was known, was just as his name implied - Special. Kenon was one of the first big, small forwards capable of dominating with his rebounding and athleticism. Bob McAdoo and Kenon changed in some ways the mindset of college basketball. As junior college players they made immediate impacts to their respected college teams. Most junior college players where looked at negatively by colleges, but that is not to say colleges weren’t recruiting JUCO players. Schools like San Francisco and Kentucky had a few good complementary players with junior college ties to their programs.

McAdoo and Kenon were centerpieces on their respected teams. Kenon only played one season at Memphis, but took the team to the 1973 NCAA championship game where they lost to UCLA, who had Bill Walton and a host of other future pros. Kenon left school early and joined the upstart ABA basketball league where he was a three time all-star. After the ABA merger with the NBA the all-star appearances didn’t stop as Kenon saw two more berths on two NBA all-star teams in the late 1970's with the San Antonio Spurs. Larry converted to the Muslim faith after his playing career was over and now goes by the name Muhsin Kenon. He considered by this historian to be the greatest ever at 50th pick overall in the NBA draft and one of the NBA’s most underrated players.

Mickey Johnson - Coming out of tiny Aurora College, Johnson was a 12-year pro and starter for at least half of those years. As 56th pick overall, Johnson was not only an obvious steal, but clearly the best ever at that draft spot. His closest challenger is Chris Carr, the 6 year role player that played admirably in the NBA, yet is still far from the level of Johnson.

Johnson’s all-around skills made him a versatile player. Despite his height at 6-9, he primarily played the small forward position at a time when it was a rarity. This often frustrated coaches, who considered Johnson soft and unable to play consistent. In turn, Johnson dealt his coaches a smug attitude as he often played out of position at the power forward spot. Regardless of this, Johnson was a tremendous player who managed to outlast 12 of 18 first round draft picks from the 1974 NBA draft.

1971-1975 Research Problems:

Gerald Lockett - Lockett’s freshman year is a mystery. It is undetermined whether he attended Arkansas Pine Bluff in his first year, or a Junior College. But what may be worse is the fact that Pine Bluff had no clue that Lockett even played for them in his remaining years. Thankfully, his numbers were mostly salvaged due to a private collector.

George Adams - Few stats, if any, during Gardner Webb’s early years as a Division One college are available or able to be found. Adams attended the school when it was a Junior College and stayed with the program during its progression. All stats released on his profile have been pieced together with odds and ends through various sources. Field goal percentage and free throw percentage are almost non-existent.

Joe Reaves - He had one of the most difficult stats to obtain during my 3rd and 4th round research. The school was able to supply Reaves’ career numbers, but for the most part could not provide much else. Thus, Reaves’ stats have a good deal of holes in multiple areas.

Lerman Battle - Battle’s school (Fairmont State) also struggled to provide me with anything but his career numbers. Like most on this list his overall numbers aren’t as spotty as Reaves’, but still missing a good bit of data. Again, most of the information was pieced together from various sources.

There is more great stuff coming out of my historical vault. Dig into this latest release as I move on to make ready the 3rd and 4th round draft picks, 1976 through 1980.

Enjoy!
Matthew Maurer
 
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