Alec Kessler planned on a long career in basketball and seemed well on his way. He earned a multitude of accolades while at University of Georgia and secured his spot in draft history as the 12th pick overall by the Houston Rockets in the 1990 NBA Draft (then immediately traded to the 2-year old Miami Heat team). Kessler had some great qualities that made team take notice - a refined fundamental skill set, smart on and off the court, excellent perimeter shooting, and good work ethic. But there were also glaring deficiencies in his game that call in to question why key elements in a draftee one pick shy of lottery range were overlooked (1-11 were lottery in 1990). Kessler lacked all around athleticism and virtually no intimidation factor, intensity, or mental toughness. These factors undoubtedly limited his success. For NBA ballers like Kessler, when Plan-A is jeopardized, a once promising career can come to an abrupt end. That's when Plan-B needs to kick in. It's time for life after basketball.
Kessler averaged 5.2 PPG and 3.6 RPG over 4 seasons from 1990-1994. Despite his lackluster performace in the pros, which included a foreign stint with an Italian league, Kessler's all-around achievements labeled him a Scholar-Athlete and culminated into a now flourishing, quite impressive career as an orthopaedic surgeon.
Kessler was accepted to Emory University Medical School in 1990 during his final year UGA, but after graduating magna cum laude with a degree in microbiology (the study of microorganisms), he delayed any further education and entered the NBA. After his pro exit, Kessler committed himself to 7+ years of additional studies to become a medical doctor (it generally takes a total of 11 or more years including undergraduate study). Kessler practices in Pensacola, Florida, specializing in joint replacement, sports medicine, and lower back medicine. He's a family man that still enjoys basketball in addition to fishing and skiing.
Highlight of Scholar-Athlete Achievements
|U.S. Basketball Writers Association Scholar-Athlete of the Year 1989,1990|
|First team All-Southeastern Conference SEC 1990|
|SEC Player of the Year 1990|
|SEC Male Athlete of the Year 1990|
|Street & Smith Exemplary Player of the Year 1990|
|Pete Maravich Award finalist 1990|
|4-time Academic All-SEC & First Team Academic All-American 1988-1990|
|Academic All-American of the Year 1989, 1990|
|Mercedes Benz Scholar-Athlete of the Year 1989, 1990|
|Lang Publishers Academic Achievement Award 1996, 1997|
|Joseph B. Whitehead Surgical Scholarship Award 1998|
Alpha Omega Alpha medical school honor society 1998
|Maintained 3.97 to 4.0 GPA throughout undergraduate/medical school studies|
The Draft Review honors Alec Kessler for his achievement as an NBA draftee and applauds him for his continued accomplishments in life after basketball.
Update, 10/14/07: Family and Friends Mourn Alec Kessler