If you’re hardcore, you’ll probably remember the name of that random second-round draft pick your team made back in 1999. And if you’re really hardcore, you might even care about him enough to spend 30 seconds reading up on where he is and what he does now.
Well, I’m here to oblige you with that. Starting as of, like, now, we will trace back drafts and draftees, from as far back as I can be bothered to go (which early estimates predict will be about 1994), to the most recent 2008 draft. Potentially, we might stumble across something interesting.
– 1st pick: Glenn Robinson (Milwaukee) – Robinson signed two contracts in his life; the 10-year, $80 million one he signed after being drafted (one that catalysed the inception of the rookie scale the following season), and a prorated minimum salary contract with the Spurs the season after the first contract ended. With the Spurs, he coat-tailed his way to a championship ring. And then he disappeared. Last month, Mike Hutton of the Post-Tribune (a newspaper that apparently couldn’t decide what to call itself) wrote a piece that tried to track down the absent Robinson and find out what he does now. The answer appears to be…..not a lot. The comments on this follow-up post seem to confirm that.
– 2nd pick: Jason Kidd (Dallas) – Still going, and now back with the team that drafted him. Kidd is going to be a free agent this summer, and even though he’s declined a lot in the last two years, he’s still got something to give to a competitor.
– 3rd pick: Grant Hill (Detroit) – Also still going, and also a free agent this summer. Hill has said in the past that, if he was traded away from Phoenix, he’d retire. If he stands by that Phoenix-or-bust belief, then he’ll probably retire this summer, because it’s about time Phoenix had a rethink and youngened up a bit. And that would mean no more Hill.
– 4th pick: Donyell Marshall (Minnesota) – Also also still going, and also also a free agent this summer. Largely a catch-and-shoot offensive player now, with some occasional rebounding. Maybe he has one more season left in him, on someone’s deep bench.
– 5th pick: Juwan Howard (Washington Bullets) – Howard is kind of done, and has been for a while, but he got a career stay of execution when Larry Brown was hired by Charlotte, giving Juwan not only one more contract but also something resembling a spot in a rotation. However, Howard rebounds about as well as Mark Pope these days, and perhaps should call time on his career now.
– 6th pick: Sharone Wright (Philadelphia) – As I briefly alluded to this last summer, Wright is in Holland. He’s retired now, and serving as an assistant coach on an Eiffel Towers Den Bosch team that just won the Dutch Cup. Their starting point guard is former Warriors backup, Dean Oliver. You needed to know that.
– 7th pick: Lamond Murray (L.A. Clippers) – Murray just can’t stop. His last playing time in the NBA came in the 2005/06 season with the Nets, where he played rather badly for a season and showed his age. He then signed with the Clippers for 2006 training camp, but didn’t make the team, and that was the end of Lamond Murray’s NBA career. But it was not the end of his entire professional career. Murray sat out the rest of that season before signing in the IBL (a league that is run during other league’s offseasons). He then joined the Nuggets for their 2007 summer league team – as Denver are to always give a chance to basically anybody – and then signed in China to begin the 2007/08 season. He left in midseason, went to the ABA, left again, and went back to China, where he averaged roughly 14/7. Then, in the offseason of 2008, he again went back to the IBL, where he averaged as-near-as-is 27 points and 12 rebounds, in a low-calibre league with some slightly funky rules. This past season, he signed in China again, but left without playing a game, and then a couple of months ago he agreed to sign in Venezuela with a team called Trotamundos. However, he never reported to the team, claiming that he couldn’t find his passport, and the contract agreement was cancelled. Last month, Murray signed back in the IBL for the third time, signing with the seminal Los Angeles Lightning, where he is currently averaging 25/6.
You weren’t expecting that, I’m guessing. But here’s the best part – the Lightning’s line-up is freaking stacked. In an otherwise weaker league, the Lightning have managed to boast a line-up full of ex-NBA players, featuring Murray, current Clippers assistant and minor league veteran Fred Vinson, journeyman big man Jamal Sampson, the artist formerly known as Bryon Russell, ex-Suns guard Toby Bailey and former Rockets guard Juaquin Hawkins, who is with his first team since suffering a stroke last year. Did you see all that coming? No, me neither. In fact, apart from Murray, I didn’t know about all those players being there when I started writing this. Good times, maybe. And for some bad times.
– 9th pick: Eric Montross (Boston) – Montross was waived by the Raptors in early 2004, after having unofficially retired the previous summer due to relentless injuries. He hadn’t played since 2002. He is now the colour announcer for North Carolina Tar Heels games, but strangely he has also managed to get immersed in some political scandal that I don’t really understand. Didn’t see that coming, either.
– 10th pick: Eddie Jones (L.A. Lakers) – Jones was included as salary filler in the trade last season that saw Shawne Williams sent to the Mavericks, whereafter the Pacers bought Jones out. He presumably did this in expectation of catching on with someone else later in the season. But he then didn’t.
– 11th pick: Carlos Rogers (Seattle) – Rogers’s last NBA stint came in 2001/02 with the Indiana Pacers. I seem to recall that he left the team without giving a reason, and was waived, although I can’t find proof of that. He then did not play for six years, as best I can tell, until he signed in Columbia last October with a team called Canoneros Norte De Cucuta. He left in February 2009. Outside of basketball, Carlos was on a show last March called Oprah’s Big Give, in which he donated $1,000 in cash to help build a playground for an elementary school in Houston. That was nice of him.
Also, here’s a Carlos Rogers fact that you probably already knew: before he was drafted, Carlos Rogers’ sister got very ill and needed a kidney transplant. Carlos offered one of his, acutely aware of what it would do to his NBA career. His sister told him to keep it, and got a cadaver kidney from elsewhere. But it soon failed, so Carlos immediately retired so that he could donate one of his to keep her alive. However, she died before it could be done, and Carlos resumed his career, managing a few more years in the NBA before going on the above journey. Bad times.
– 12th pick: Khalid Reeves (Miami) – Reeves’ last NBA contract was a ten-dayer with the Bulls in their bleak 1999-2000 season. After that, he went to the IBL, then the ABA, the USBL, the Lebanon, and then Venezuela, before ending his career in Costa Rica in 2007. No idea of what he’s done since then.
– 14th pick: Yinka Dare (New Jersey) – Dare died of a heart attack in January 2004, aged 32.
– 15th pick: Eric Piatkowski (Indiana) – Pike spent his last two years playing for the Suns on a minimum salary contract, but that ran out in summer 2008, and another one was not forthcoming. He didn’t play at all last year, wanting the phone to ring, but it didn’t. It’s not all bad, though, as he was recently inducted into the Rapid City Sports Hall Of Fame. Wherever that is.
– 16th pick: Clifford Rozier (Golden State) – Rozier’s professional career was like his life – pretty sketchy. He fell out of the NBA in November 1997 when he was waived by the Timberwolves, and he didn’t play anywhere again until a short stint in the USBL in 1999. He had a try-out in Poland to begin the 1999 season, but left to come back to the States, signing in the CBA. Then he went back to the USBL for two games. Somewhere in there came a brief stint with the Harlem Globetrotters. And that’s it, basketball wise at least.
In his real life, Rozier had a far worse time of it. On several occasions, his then-wife (now his ex-wife) had him sent to psychiatric hospitals, staunch in her belief that Rozier had a chemical imbalance in his brain that brought about depressive episodes, disappearances for days at a time, and a personality disorder that saw him sometimes fail to recognise his friends and family. That imbalance also seemed to bring about a violent streak within him; reportedly, he fought with a coach in his time in Toronto, and also had a fight with Vitaly Potapenko in his short stint with the Timberwolves. Furthermore, in July 1999, he was declared bankrupt, owing money to all manner of creditors, including his agent.
Worst still comes Rozier’s criminal history. I don’t have a whole lot of it to hand, but what I do know is that Rozier was a fugitive in the early part of 2001, wanted for stealing an off-duty police’s officers car as a means of fleeing the scene of an argument with his brother at a gas station. (He was later arrested in May for grand theft auto, presumably for the same incident.) He stayed in jail until his trial date in October, where he entered a plea of not guilty due to incompetence. Seemingly it didn’t reform him, as Rozier was arrested again in October 2002 and charged with category C burglary. Further information about all this is hard to find, but he reappeared in the news in May 2007, this time arrested for cocaine trafficking. Other crimes of Rozier’s include being arrested for assaulting his mother in August 1998 (charges later dropped), and an undated charge of larceny. He may or may not still be getting disability payments from the NBA for his mental problems – he certainly used to be, at least – but even if he is, he seems to have found other ways to supplement his income. Hope he finds peace.
– 17th pick: Aaron McKie (Portland) – After his much-documented and impromptu comeback in 2007/08 as a part of the Pau Gasol sign-and-trade deal, McKie saw out the season with the Grizzlies. However, he never played in a game for them, got inevitably waived, and then rejoined the Sixers as an assistant coach.
– 18th pick: Eric Mobley (Milwaukee) – Mobley’s career was either largely undocumented, or a bit weird. He played only three seasons in the NBA, the last being in 1997, and then he disappeared. The next we heard from him was a two-week stint in Puerto Rico in April 2000. Then he disappeared again. And then, in February 2006, he signed with the Pittsburgh Xplosion for a couple of months, a deliberately misspelt ABA team that Tyrell Biggs seems destined to join one day. Then he disappeared again, and I have absolutely no clue what he’s done for twelve years. Strange. (Eric Mobley was bloody awesome in Total NBA ’96, a slightly weird game that determined how good a guy was at three-point shooting by using his three-point percentage from the previous season. And Mobley had gone 2-2 the previous season, so you can guess how good that made him. You could shoot from half-court all night and hit a solid 85% or so. Good times.)
– 19th pick: Tony Dumas (Dallas) – Dumas fell out of the NBA after an eight-day stint with the Kings in January 1999. After that, he went to Greece, then signed in Italy in 2001, but was released for disciplinary reasons. He later had a try-out in the Lebanon in 2002, but didn’t make the team, and hasn’t been heard from since.
– 20th pick: B.J. Tyler (Philadelphia) – Tyler was waived before the start of the 1996 season. He had played 55 games in his rookie season, rather unremarkably so, yet was taken by the Raptors in the 1995 expansion draft. But he never played a game with the Raptors after suffering nerve damage in his knee, caused by falling asleep with an ice pack on it. A lesson for us all there.
– 21st pick: Dickey Simpkins (Chicago) – Simpkins’s last NBA stint was a three day try-out with the Hawks in November 2001. After that, he spent four games in Greece before seeing out the season in the CBA, where he averaged 21/12. He spent the 2002 offseason in Puerto Rico, averaging 16/11, then went to summer league with the Pacers. Simpkins spent the 2003 season in Russia and the 2004 season in Lithuania, then played one game in the 2004 offseason back in Puerto Rico as injury cover for Anthony Bonner, where he totalled 15/12. He started the 2005 season in the CBA, then moved to Spain to serve as another injury replacement, and then signed with the Alaska Aces in the Philippines. He split the 2006 season between Lebanon and Germany, and then he gave up playing. Simpkins now works as an analyst for ESPNU, and also operates Next Level Performance, a basketball skills development company.
– 22nd pick: Bill Curley (San Antonio) – Curley last played in the NBA in the 2000/01 season with the Warriors. After being waived, he seemingly did not try the European or minor league circuits, and is now the head coach at Thayer Academy.
– 24th pick: Monty Williams (New York) – Williams was waived by the Magic in December 2003, and signed with Portland as an assistant coach two years later. He’s still there.
– 25th pick: Greg Minor (L.A. Clippers) – Minor retired in 1999 due to a severe hip injury, and was waived by the Celtics the following November. Since then he has gone back to school for a few years, acknowledged that the kids that he denied fathering are actually his after all, and sued some people about some horses.
– 27th pick: Brooks Thompson (Orlando) – Thompson fell out of the NBA in 1998, and is now the head coach at the University of Texas-San Antonio.
– 28th pick: Deon Thomas (Dallas) – Thomas never signed in the NBA and, until last year, had a fine European career going. He spent last year in Israel with Maccabi Haifa, averaging roughly 12 and 6 and helping them win promotion to the top Israeli league, but wasn’t with the team this year and recently retired. He now coaches JV.
– 29th pick: Antonio Lang (Phoenix) – Lang managed bit-parts of seven NBA seasons, the last of which was a preseason stint with the Kings in 2000, before hitting the ol’ world tour. In order, his following places of employment were; the CBA, the CBA again, Italy, the ABA, the USBL, the Philippines, Japan, the Philippines again, then Japan again. He continued in Japan until 2005, then retired in 2006 due to foot injuries. Lang is now an assistant coach for the Japanese team he spent four seasons with, the Mitsubishi Electric Dolphins. What a great freaking name for a basketball team. What a great freaking name for anything, really.
– 30th pick: Howard Eisley (Minnesota) – Eisley managed a lengthy and well-paid career, if one filled with lots of furniture removal vans. Eisley managed twelve seasons with seventy six different NBA teams, his final stint coming in Denver down the stretch of the 2005/06 season. After being traded to Chicago and instantly waived in the following summer, Eisley hasn’t been heard from again.
EDIT: According to some guy, Eisley is working as a volunteer assistant coach for the New Jersey Nets. I’m slacking in my old age, it appears.
– 31st pick: Rodney Dent (Orlando) – Dent signed with the Magic after being drafted, but didn’t play due to injury. He was then taken by the Grizzlies in their expansion draft, but it meant nothing, because he didn’t play there either. Dent’s only other basketball stint was in Finland in 2000-01 with a team called Forssan, where his teammates included his brother Anthony, who presumably was behind the move. Outside of this, I have no Rodney Dent news.
– 32nd pick: Jim McIlvaine (Washington Bullets) – McIlvaine, presumably still swimming in money, last played in 2000 and is now a colour commentator for Marquette games. Here is his really tall wife, whom he met over the internet after offering her a place to stay when she lost her home in Hurricane Katrina:
(True story, by the way.)
– 33th pick: Derrick Alston (Philadelphia) – Alston played three seasons in the NBA, albeit not very well, before embarking on a career as a minor league journeyman. He’s been a very good one, playing for Efes Pilsen (Turkey), Manresa, Barcelona, Valencia, Real Madrid, Lleida (all Spain), Gravelines (France), Ural Great (Russia), Türk Telekom (Turkey again), the New Zealand Breakers (Australia, strangely), and last year he played for Libertad in Argentina, for whom he averaged 13.6 points and 6.1 rebounds. Some pedigree gigs in there. And he might not be done yet, either.
– 34th pick: Gaylon Nickerson (Atlanta) – Nickerson never played for the Hawks, who drafted him in 1994 but who didn’t sign him until 1995, with Nickerson playing a season in Turkey in between. The Hawks did bring him in for 1995 training camp, but he didn’t make the team and spent the year in the CBA. The following season, Nickerson got another unsuccessful training camp deal, this time with the Kings, followed by two brief look-ins with the Spurs and Bullets, playing a combined four games between the two. He then had two decent years in Spain, a few non-eventful trips abroad to other places, and his last stint came in whatever the UPBL is for a team called the Mansfield Hawks back in 2003. (Who calls their son Gaylon, anyway? That’s just harsh.)
– 35th pick: Michael Smith (the Providence one) (Sacramento) – Smith managed seven fractured seasons in the NBA, the last of which was in 2000-01 with the Wizards, where he averaged 3.8 points and 7.1 rebounds a game. No, I didn’t type those the wrong way around. After that, he played three short stints over three years in Italy, Poland and the CBA respectively, before jacking it in in the early part of 2004. It’s too difficult to find out anything about him since that time because his name is too common, so write in if you have anything.
– 36th pick: Andrei Fetisov (Boston) – Before being drafted, Fetisov played in Spain. After being traded, with only a couple of exceptions, he played solely in his native Russia. At not point did he sign in the NBA, and even though his rights were traded to the Bucks on draft night, they were never used. He last played in 2007.
– 37th pick: Dontonio Wingfield (Seattle) – Wingfield played 114 games in four seasons with Seattle and Portland, shooting under 40% for his career despite being 6’8. After his NBA career dribbled to a stop in late 1997, he had two brief try-outs over the next few months, one in Spain and one in the CBA. However, neither of them amounted to anything, and Wingfield’s professional career ended in 1998 because of a nasty car accident in November of that year. In trying to avoid a deer, Wingfield hit a tree in a crash so severe that it resulted in four broken vertebrae and two broken hips. He nearly died, and even when he was out of danger, doctors wondered if he would walk again. But he pulled eventually through, and spent four months in hospital recovering. (Insult to injury, he was also cited after the accident for failure to control a vehicle.)
His problems didn’t end there, though. In August 1998, just before the crash, Wingfield was arrested and charged with assaulting two police officers after they came to his apartment to resolve a dispute between him and his girlfriend. Wingfield broke one of the officer’s fingers and tore his tendons in the fight. Later on, he showed up for his June court appearance two days late, was re-arrested, and sentenced to a year in jail. (He served six months, still only able to walk with a cane at the time.) Wingfield is now starting again; after getting out of prison, he got a culinary arts degree, and now works as an AAU coach with the Albany Hawks.
– 38th pick: Darrin Hancock (Charlotte Hornets) – Hancock played for four teams in three NBA seasons before embarking on a minor league career that spanned many seasons, featuring multiple stops in both the CBA and the USBL. (There was also a failed drugs test in the Philippines in there somewhere.) Hancock retired in 2005, a fact noted on his bizarrely long Wikipedia page. What did he do to deserve all that? I don’t know, but he’s got at least one highly devoted fan out there, it seems.
– 39th pick: Anthony “Pig” Miller (Golden State) – after playing mere shreds of the first seven years after he was drafted, and never playing in more than 35 games a season, Miller managed a bizarre return to the NBA after a four year gap, playing two games for the Hawks in 2004/05. Before, during and since that time, Miller has played for every team in every country ever (by which I mean, there’s too many of them for me to even begin listing). He’s still going, too, signing in the ABA in December for the Las Vegas Aces, although I have absolutely no idea how long he stayed there for. (It’s impossible to know with the ABA. This is a league where about 40% of the games don’t even get played, and where 50% of franchises don’t complete their inaugural season. Some don’t even make the two month mark. It’s pretty pathetic, really.)
– 40th pick: Jeff Webster (Miami) – Webster’s NBA career consisted of 18 points in 11 games, and his minor league career consisted of only a couple of stops, the last of which was in Japan in 2001. Currently, Webster is – or was – an assistant coach for the Texas Titans, a youth team run by a billionaire.
– 41st pick: William Njoku (Indiana) – Njoku never made it to the NBA, failing to make the team out of training camp in 1995. A lengthy minor league career ended in November 2004, after two games with the fabled and seminal KK Fersped-Rabotnicki Skopje in Macedonia. Njoku retired and is now the athletic director at Atlantic Baptist University. Here’s his email address. (By the way, I had literally never heard of William Njoku before this post. That’s why we do this, I guess.)
– 42nd pick: Gary Collier (Cleveland) – Gary Collier also never made it to the NBA, failing to make the grade in 1994 training camp. Between 1994 and 2003, Collier split his time between Germany and Belgium, before finishing his career in France in February 2004, averaging 9.2 points per game for Paris Basket. He is now the head coach at Arlington Heights High School in Fort Worth.
– 43rd pick: Shawnelle Scott (Portland) – Permanently armed with the name of a girl, Scott played in 105 NBA games over four seasons, the last of which came in 2001/02. The minor league stops in between them are too varied to mention, but his last stop came as a Globetrotter in 2005. I don’t know what his Globetrotting name was.
– 44th pick: Damon Bailey (Indiana) – Bailey was drafted by the Pacers after starring for Indiana University, so that should have been a storybook ending. But he never actually played for the Pacers, spending a whole season on the injured list before being waived. He then toiled in the CBA for three years (which, lest we forget, was the American minor league of the nineties, as there was no D-League then), looking for a way back to the big dance. He found one eventually, signing with the Cavaliers in their very delayed 1998 training camp, but he didn’t make the cut. Bailey later became the head coach at Bedford North Lawrence High School, where he used to play, but he resigned in 2007. He is now a businessman in Bedford, and co-owns whatever this is. Here’s his email address.
– 45th pick: Dwayne Morton (Golden State) – Morton managed a half season in the NBA in 1995, scoring 167 points in 41 games, before plundering his trade overseas. He has played in France, Bulgaria, the Dominican Republic, the ABA, Germany, the CBA, Japan, Israel and England (God bless him). He’s still going, too, and he just completed his fourth straight season in Bulgaria, where he averaged 10.8 points and 6.6 rebounds in the Balkan League. Although 38 years old now, he probably has one more left in him somewhere.
– 46th pick: Voshon Lenard (Milwaukee) – Boasting a better NBA career than the previous 18 people combined, Lenard hasn’t been seen or heard from since his last NBA contract expired in the summer of 2006. He does have the distinction of returning to school even after being drafted, however, and is (along with Charles Claxton below) the last player to have done so.
– 47th pick: Jamie Watson (Utah) – Watson played 102 games in the league over three years, before exploring a few other countries, such as China, Portugal, Lebanon, Cyprus, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Chile, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia….you know, all the usual haunts. His last stop came in Jordan (giggidy), when he averaged 17.8 points per game for Al Riyadi in 2006. He later played for the Jordanian National Team, believing perhaps rightly that his chance of joining USA Basketball had passed.
– 48th pick: JeVon Crudup (Detroit) – Crudup never played in the NBA, forging out a short European career that ended in 2001, after a trial in Poland went south. A brief and scoreless stint to the ABA later, and that was it for Crudup, who then moved into coaching. Crudup began coaching as an assistant coach at Raytown South High School, but was fired in January 2003 for a verbal tirade given to his team after a loss that was covertly filmed and made public. Crudup sued for wrongful dismissal (with his lawyer using the timeless “it wouldn’t have happened to a white person” defence), but the original trial was declared a mistrial in July 2005. The case was tried again, and Crudup won, winning $50,000 in actual damages and $250,000 in punitive damages. I don’t know what happened after that, but he did talk about going back to school one day.
– 49th pick: Kris Bruton (Chicago) – Bruton never played in the NBA, but did play in the CBA, the USBL, Japan, Portugal, the IBA, France, Cyprus, the Dominican Republic and the NBDL (as was). At some point in there, he got a serious thigh injury, stunting his career somewhat. Since 2002, Bruton has been a member of the Harlem Globetrotters, where he goes by the name “Hi-Lite” and just dunks for a living. He’s also opened a restaurant, which is nice.
– 50th pick: Charles Claxton (Phoenix) – Claxton, like Lenard above, returned to school after being drafted, but he didn’t have nearly the NBA career once he came back. He signed with the Cavaliers for 1995 training camp, but didn’t make the team, before Boston signed him the following month, where he played the only three games of his NBA career. Claxton also joined the Jazz for 1996 training camp, but didn’t make the team, and he never threatened the NBA again. After that, he went to Poland, then Lithuania, and then England, where he played his final season in 1999/00 for the Brighton Bears. I have nothing after that.
– 51st pick: Lawrence Funderburke (Sacramento) – Funderburke played all but two games of his NBA career for the Kings, albeit not beginning until he was 27. Those other two games were with the Bulls, and they were also the last team of his professional career.
– 52nd pick: Anthony Goldwire (Phoenix) – For no known reason, Goldwire signed in the Spanish fourth division last season with the newly reformed CB Girona. He didn’t do especially well. The NBA probably won’t come a-calling again.
– 53rd pick: Albert Burditt (Houston) – Guess what country he plays in now? China? Romania? Dutch Antilles? Micronesia? Wales? Nope, none of these; it’s Bolivia. Burditt never played in the NBA after not making the Rockets team out of training camp in 1994, and while he’s been employed ever since then, he’s been all around the houses to do it. Before Bolivia came Mexico, and going back in order from there, we find that he’s also been in Uruguay, Mexico again, Sweden, ABA, Mexico again, Argentina, Mexico again, Spain, Mexico again, Portugal, Mexico again, CBA, Mexico again, Italy, Spain, Puerto Rico, and then the CBA again. Can you sort of tell that he likes spending his summers in Mexico?
– 54th pick: Zeljko Rebraca (Seattle) – When he was waived silently by the Clippers after missing nearly two years with back problems, you probably thought that Zelly was done. I did. But he wasn’t. Not quite. He signed with Pamesa Valencia in Spain in the 2007 offseason, just to give himself a chance to go out on his terms. And not long afterwards, in December 2007, he did. Six not-especially-effective-but-reasonable games later, Rebraca announced his retirement, this time at his discretion rather than it being forced upon him. It’s a better story this way.