– 1st pick: Smilin’ Joe Smith (Golden State) – Joe Smith still has lots to give. He has more good play left in him, lots of love in his heart, and endless toothy smiles that can change the dynamic of an entire room. I like Joe Smith, even if he did allegedly once bottle a gay stripper in a nightclub. You should too. (That is to say, “You should like Joe Smith”. Not “You should bottle a gay stripper in a nightclub”. By the way, Smith was acquitted on all charges.)
– 2nd pick: Antonio McDyess (L.A. Clippers) – McDyess had a decent resurgent season with the Pistons this season, his solid and consistent play often showing up the remainder of their frontcourt, which featured the underwhelming youth of Amir Johnson and Jason Maxiell, the remnants of Rasheed Wallace, and however you’d like to tactfully describe Kwame Brown. He also managed to annoy a lot of Celtics fans, which was a bonus. McDyess still has a year or two left, if he wants it.
– 3rd pick: Jerry Stackhouse (Philadelphia) – Stackhouse is done, and has been for about three years, even if Dallas didn’t realise it. Nevertheless, you’ll hear about him again, because Stack has that rarest of prized tags next to his name – he has a partially guaranteed contract for next year. And you’d better believe that executives around the league are lining up, ready to do things they’re not proud of just to get a hold of that bad boy. Therefore, sooner or later, Stackhouse is being traded and waived. You heard it here second. (By the way, on the subject of unguaranteed contracts, do you think Memphis regret buying out Antoine Walker partway through last season? Antoine had what would have been a fully unguaranteed contract for next season, and right now the Grizzlies might have been awash with offers for that thing. I know that no team wants/needs to save money more than Memphis does, but almost all teams out there are selling, and Memphis could have milked someone for some assets. For example, would Washington have been willing to deal the #5 pick, Mike James and Etan Thomas for Walker, Marko Jaric, the 27 and 35? Assuming they give up/fail with their plans to take on a veteran and power their way out of their strife, it’s possible, because they’re pretty desperate to save money for next year, and waiving Antoine would have gotten them under the tax. Some team would offer something like that, at least. But it matters not now.)
– 4th pick: Rasheed Wallace (Washington Bullets) – fading fast. Boston and San Antonio seem like obvious destinations for next year. By the way, what’s the technical name for that big blob of dead on the back of his head? I had it written down somewhere, but I’ve lost it. Thanks.
– 6th pick: Bryant Reeves (Vancouver) – After retiring midway through the 2001/02 season with chronic knee and back injuries, Reeves did exactly what you’d expect a man with the nickname Big Country to do – he went back to the country. With his enormous contract from the Grizzlies, Reeves bought 300 acres of land back in Arkansas, built a 15,000 square foot house on it, and started his own cattle ranch with his dad. He’s still there. He probably always will be.
– 7th pick: Damon Stoudamire (Toronto) – Stoudamire was bought out by the Grizzlies partway through last season, and saw out the campaign with the Spurs. With San Antonio, he was pretty awful, although he did get a small stint on Kobe Doin’ Work as a result. Stoudamire waited for the phone to ring all last season, but it didn’t, and now he’s turned to coaching, rejoining the Grizzlies recently as an assistant to new head coach Lionel Hollins.
– 8th pick: Shawn Respert (Portland) – Respert kind of busted in the NBA, struggling with injuries and having to adjust to being more of a point guard than an out-and-out scorer. But what he never told us – and it’s still kind of amazing that he went his entire career without mentioning it – is that he was diagnosed with stomach cancer in his rookie season. It’s not a surprise that we the public didn’t know – he didn’t tell his parents, nor his grandparents, or even his girlfriend at the time (who he has since married). Even his head coach at the time, Mike Dunleavy, didn’t know about it initially. Respert underwent radiotherapy for months and couldn’t eat solids, losing loads of weight and stamina in that time. But he kept trying, all the while taking all the contempt for his poor play on the chin, even when he didn’t need to. Respert didn’t announce his cancer battle publicly until 2005, well after his career had finished, and regardless of whether you think he made the right decision, you have to respect the sheer mammoth elephantitis-like testicles that it must have taken to go through someone like that, all the struggles on and off the court, yet never telling more than a couple of need-to-knows and confidants why it was. Respect for Respert right here.
Respert saw out his three-year rookie contract, playing in 160 total games and scoring 814 total points, but managed only 12 more games in his career after that, coming in the 1998/99 season with Dallas. An abortive European career followed, highlighted by an 18 ppg part-season with Milan, yet beset by more injury – after scoring 20.5 ppg for a season in Poland in 2002/03, Respert ended his playing career. Initially he became a volunteer assistant coach for Prairie A&M, but later he became the director of basketball operations at Rice. And then, last summer, Respert made it back to the NBA, hired by the Rockets as Director of Player Programs. Whatever that is, it sounds important, so well done Shawn.
– 9th pick: Ed O’Bannon (New Jersey) – O’Bannon’s NBA career was all of two years long, which isn’t much from a ninth overall pick. He played a year and a half with the Nets, was traded to Dallas partway through his second season as a part of the nine-player Shawn Bradley deal, played only nine games for Dallas, and was then salary-dumped on the Magic, who waived him. That came in 1997. O’Bannon’s only other NBA soirée came when the Magic re-signed him for 2000 training camp, but he didn’t make the team. You probably knew about his abortive NBA career already, though, so here’s what he did afterwards; after being cut, O’Bannon spent the 1997/98 season in the CBA with the La Crosse Bobcats (wait, who?), averaging 11/6, before signing in the Italian second division to end the year. He spent the following season in Spain, and then split the 1999/00 season between Greece and Argentina. After his unsuccessful tryout with the Magic in 2000, O’Bannon saw out the 2000/01 season in the ABA, where he averaged 12/7 for the L.A. Stars (wait, who?). O’Bannon then spent the next three years in Poland, had another arthroscopic knee surgery, and went for a tryout in China, where nobody knew who he was. At that point, O’Bannon retired in 2004, and went back to school to complete his degree. He then went to work as a salesman for a Toyota dealership, and has worked his way up over the years to the point that he’s now a managing director.
– 11th pick: Gary Trent (Milwaukee) – Trent’s NBA career came to a perhaps premature end at age 30. He had been with the Timberwolves since 2001, and had played three seasons for the team as a pretty decent backup to Kevin Garnett. However, when he became a free agent in the summer of 2004, the Wolves had apparently had enough and left him alone. Trent then signed with the Bulls for training camp, and had a good chance of making the team, but he was waived early after reportedly showing a “bad attitude.” (A subjective term if ever there was one. Could have meant anything. However, with the Bulls at that time, it probably meant that Scott Skiles just hated him.) Out of the NBA and ne’er to return, Trent went abroad, and finished out the season with Panellinios in Greece, where he averaged a hefty 17/12, He went to Italy in the following season, signing with Roma, but he apparently aged really fast over that summer, and Roma released him after only two forgettable games. Trent’s final basketball employment came in the 2006/07 season, where, back in Greece, he re-signed with Panellinios for one final go-around. However, by then, Trent had seemingly forgotten how to score, and it ended quickly. No idea of what he’s done since then. Gary Trent fact that sounds better without context: Gary Trent once hit a man called Eric Penn in the face with a pool cue. That is all.
– 13th pick: Corliss Williamson (Sacramento) – Williamson retired in the 2007 offseason after no one showed much interest in signing him. He initially took a job as an assistant coach at Arkansas Baptist College. However, the school’s website has no mention of him, so maybe he’s not there any more.
– 14th pick: Eric Williams (Boston) – Williams’s last bit of NBA news was when he was traded by the Spurs to the Bobcats at the 2007 trade deadline for Melvin Ely. The Bobcats kept Williams around for a while, but then waived him for Alan Anderson. Williams is presumably retired, but his extremely common name makes this hard to verify.
– 15th pick: Brent Barry (Denver) – Barry signed a two-year deal with the Rockets this past summer, one that they are possibly wishing they also gave to Von Wafer. The second year was only conditionally guaranteed, but Barry played in enough games to guarantee it, and as such he’s now sure to be back with the Rockets for next year. However, he’s also a possible candidate for a salary dump at some point – unless Ron Artest walks for nothing, the Rockets will be rubbing their junk against the tax threshold (as per usual), and they’ve historically been keen to avoid that. Salary dumping Brian Cook would be better, obviously, but Jesus is dead, so we’re out of miracle workers.
– 16th pick: Alan Henderson (Atlanta) – After being salary dumped onto the Jazz by the Sixers at the 2007 deadline, Henderson was instantly cut by the Jazz, waited the prerequisite 30 days, then rejoined the Sixers for a meaningless last few games. It was reported that Henderson would re-sign with the Sixers for the 2007/08 season, but he didn’t. Nor did he ever sign anywhere again, ever. Henderson maintained throughout his NBA career that he’d like to go onto medical school once it finished, but he changed his mind when the time came, deciding that it was too late. He now lives in Florida, and now studies business at Indiana University through an online program.
– 17th pick: Bob Sura (Cleveland) – Straight baller Sura spent two years on the Rockets’ injured list, with chronic back and knee problems, before they finally cut him in 2007 training camp. He never publicly announced any retirement, but then again, he never needed to. Sura now owns a Saturn car dealership, but it’s not going well, and he recently sued General Motors. Maybe he could go to work for Ed O’Bannon.
– 18th pick: Theo Ratliff (Detroit) – Ratliff had a pretty damn good career for an 18th pick, and showed signs of a second wind in the 2007/08 season. However, he didn’t do much last season, and the Sixers have already explicitly stated that they wont be bringing him back next year. So this might be it for Theo, unless he can muster a third wind.
– 19th pick: Randolph Childress (Detroit) – Childress’s NBA career was a bit of a journey, totalling 51 games, 124 points, 33% shooting and three shoulder dislocations. He was waived in training camp 1997 after only two seasons in the league, and went to play in Turkey. After two high scoring years there, he signed in France for the 1999/00 season, but got injured early and didn’t play much. He spent the following season in Italy, Australia, and Switzerland of all places, before spending the next two seasons in Italy. Childress spent the 2003/04 season in France, then came back to Italy, and he has been there ever since. Last season, he played for Varese in the second division, and averaged 12.0 points and 4.8 assists per game.
– 20th pick: Jason Caffey (Chicago) – Caffey was bought out of his oversized contract by the Bucks in October 2003, and he hasn’t played anywhere since. And it’s allllllll gone wrong for him. Caffey served an eight-day jail term in September 2007 for unpaid child support payments (he has fathered 10 kids by eight different women), and a further arrest warrant was issued for the same offence in January 2009. (In the 2007 arrest, he owed $75,000 for one child and $100,000 for another. He also apparently has no relationship with the children outside of the money he sends them.) Caffey filed for bankruptcy in October 2008, claiming he owed $1.9 million but had only $1.1 million in assets, but the filing was dismissed. This video, featuring a woman with an annoying voice, shamelessly piles onto Caffey.
– 21st pick: Michael Finley (Phoenix) – Finley is still going, even if he does do a bit less every year. Fun Michael Finley fact: in true Mookie Blaylock fashion, Michael Finley has an Italian pop-punk band named after him. No, really, he does. And here they are, duetting with a girl called Belinda on a ballad:
(Seems they’re not exclusively pop-punk.)
– 22nd pick: George Zidek (Charlotte Hornets) – Zidek’s NBA career last for three years and 135 games, shooting 41% over that time, a bit low for a seven-footer. He then went back to Europe, playing two years in Lithuania, one in Spain, one in Germany, one in Poland, and then two back in his native Czech Republic, before retiring in 2005.
– 23rd pick: Travis Best (Indiana) – Best flumped out of the NBA in 2005 after an unspectacular season with the Nets, backing up Jason Kidd’s backup, Jacque Vaughn. After that, Best signed with UNICS Kazan in Russia for the 2005/06 season, before moving to Italy for the 2006/07 season, signing with VidiVici Bologna (as was). Best had announced that that season would be his last, but it wasn’t, and he spent the 2007/08 season in Poland playing for Prokom Sopot, before spending this past season back in Italy, averaging 8.9 points and 2.8 assists in the Italian league for Air Avellino.
– 24th pick: Loren Meyer (Dallas) – Meyer started 54 games in his first two seasons, split between Dallas and Phoenix (he was sent to Phoenix as a part of the Jason Kidd trade in late 1996). He then missed the whole 1997/98 season with a herniated disc in his back. There followed a brief comeback when the Nuggets signed him for the strike shortened 1998/99 season – highlighted by Meyer body-slamming Cedric Ceballos and breaking Ceballos’ wrist – but Meyer played in only 14 games that season. (Danny Manning had flagrantly fouled Ceballos the previous season, breaking his other wrist and ending that season early too. Maybe Cedric had a potty mouth.) Meyer then missed the whole 1999/00 campaign due to a “family issue”, before returning to play for the Chester Jets in mighty mighty England for the 2000/01 season. He beasted, averaging roughly 24/10/2/2, but that’s perhaps more of a reflection on English basketball than it is of Loren Meyer. Meyer had one more brief flirtation with the NBA when he spent a week at the Heat’s 2001 training camp, and later retired after a short stint in Venezuela in March 2002. Since retirement, Meyer has gone back to his tiny home town of Ruthven, Iowa, where supposedly he has bought thousands of acres of land in the area, which he’ll now either presumably farm on or rent out for nuclear testing. Fun Loren Meyer fact: while in college, Meyer and his friend went out and got drunk one night. Driving home while still trolleyed, his friend drove onto some train tracks as a train approached. Meyer broke his collarbone in the accident.
– 25th pick: David Vaughn (Orlando) – Vaughn played in 68 games in two years with the Magic, grabbing more rebounds than points scored, before playing for three teams in the 97/98 season. He was traded by the Magic in training camp, along with Brian Shaw, to the Warriors in exchange for Mark Price, and the Warriors later packaged him with two second-round picks to the Bulls in exchange for Jason Caffey. The Bulls waived Vaughn fairly quickly, and Vaughn saw out the season on a couple of ten-day contracts from the Nets. The following season, Vaughn got two more ten-day contracts from the Nets, who seemingly liked what they saw, but only enough to keep him for three weeks. Vaughn then spent the rest of that year in Greece, with a team I’ve never heard of called Near East, and spent the 99/00 season there as well. He was set to play there in 2000/01, too, but he failed the mandatory preseason drug test and was suspended for 45 days. (The team kept him on anyway, and Vaughn averaged a double-double.) That was the last consistent playing time that Vaughn ever got. The 2001/02 season was disjointed, featuring a month in Italy, an unsuccessful try-out in Poland, and another unsuccessful try-out in the Philippines. Then came a four game stint the following season in Greece, and later a try-out in Syria in late 2003. And that was it.
– 26th pick: Sherell Ford (Seattle) – Ford played only one season in the NBA, scoring 90 points in 28 games, and then he began a world tour. Here come all the leagues he’s played in during the last 14 years, in the order that he’s played in them: Sonics, CBA, Cavaliers (training camp), CBA, CBA, Philippines, CBA, Venezuela, Nets (training camp), Greece, Saudi Arabia, Bulls (summer league), Russia, Italy, Lebanon, Poland, Lebanon, Venezuela, Lebanon, Israel, Qatar, France, Germany, Argentina, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Turkey, Chile, ABA, Argentina, Argentina, Mexico, Argentina, PBL, Argentina. Remember all that, because there will be a test later.
– 27th pick: Mario Bennett (Phoenix) – Bennet missed almost all of his rookie season, returning for the last 19 games only, and then was waived in 1996 training camp. He spent the next season in the CBA, and then made an NBA comeback the following year with the Lakers, playing 45 games. He was picked up by the Bulls to start the 1998/99 season, but lasted roughly a fortnight before being waived, and managed only three more minutes in the NBA on a 10-day contract with the Clippers in 2000. From there, he did the rounds, spending the 2000/01 season in the ABA, the 2001/02 season in Spain, and the 2002/03 season split between the ABA and France, with a brief training camp stint with the Hawks coming in the middle of all that. Bennett split the 2003/04 season between Russia and the CBA, before going to summer league with the Bucks that summer…and then he fell out of the mainstream, spending the 2004/05 season in Jordan and Kosovo. Two years in France followed, and since 2007, Bennett has played in Mexico twice, the Uruguay and the Czech Republic. His last stint came last season in Mexico, when he averaged 3.8 points and 6.3 rebounds for Panteras before leaving in December.
– 29th pick: Cory Alexander (San Antonio) – as you will no doubt have noticed, many ex-NBA players bugger to off to Europe once they fall out of the NBA, to leagues like Italy and Spain, to continue their careers there. Many have aspirations of making it back one day, but most don’t. Cory Alexander, though, did things a bit differently. Alexander fell out of the NBA in 2001 after bouncing between Denver, San Antonio and Orlando for a few years, but he didn’t hitch on straight away with the first six-figure European contract that he could get. Instead, he sat out the 2001/02 season, and then went to the D-League for a year, where he starred as a veteran amongst whippersnappers and build himself a new CV. Alexander did sign in Italy with Lottomatica Roma for the 2003/04 season, and performed pretty well for a EuroLeague-calibre team, but the D-League came first for Alexander (and also afterwards; he went back there or the 2004/05 season too). Seemingly, it worked, because Alexander DID get back into the NBA, playing a few games for the expansion Bobcats as Brevin Knight’s mentor (maybe). This Bobcats gig was also Alexander’s last, though, and he now works as a radio announcer for University of Virginia games.
– 30th pick: Lou Roe (Detroit) – Roe is about to turn 37, and scored only 130 points in his NBA career, so it might surprise you to learn that he’s still playing to a high standard of European basketball. (Or it might not, if you’ve been paying attention to everyone else’s stories.) Roe played one season with the Pistons, then one season with the Warriors, before bringing his game to the better continent. Apart from a couple of stops in Italy, some time in the CBA and a random stint in South Korea, Roe has spent most of the last 12 years in Spain, and that’s exactly where he was last season too. Roe played for Bruesa-Guipuzcoa, a team you’ve probably not heard of who came 12th in the ACB with an 11-21 record, and whose roster includes Andy Panko, the former Hawks forward. (There’s two things to know about Andy Panko – one, he’s tied for the all-time shortest NBA career with 1 minute played, and two, he’s one of only nine NCAA Division III players to have played in the NBA. Can never remember the others.) Roe averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 rebounds last year, compared to Panko’s 13.5 points and 6.8 rebounds. It’s all good information, so write it down.
– 31st pick: Dragan Tarlac (Chicago) – The Dragan Tarlac saga was kind of hilarious. Tarlac joined Olympiacos in 1991, and was drafted by the Bulls in 1995 (obviously), yet didn’t leave Olympiacos until 2000. In all that time, we were expected to believe that we were waiting on someone significant. Yet, when Dragan did join for the start of the 2000/01 season…he sucked. Wasn’t an NBA athlete. Couldn’t even average 3/3. After his one season excursion to America died a merciful death, Tarlac played for Real Madrid for two years, and then CSKA Moscow for one, before retiring in 2004. In 2005, he donated office equipment and agricultural machinery to his home town of Riđica, to help support a local drive to build the community through agricultural means. Here is a frankly hilarious picture taken as a ‘celebration’ of Tarlac’s generosity:
You might be able to guess which one is Tarlac.
– 32nd pick: Terrence “Rencher (Washington Bullets) – As is becoming the norm here, Rencher played only one year and 36 games in the NBA before going abroad. His overseas career ran from 1996 to 2007, and included Israel, Germany, Italy, the CBA and Croatia, amongst other places. His last stint came in Greece in the 2006/07 season, when he averaged 12.8 points per game for Apollon. Then he retired, and went back to the University of Texas, where he graduated 12 years after first leaving. He has since taken a position as senior graduate assistant to Rick Majerus at Saint Louis University, but, to be honest with you, I don’t really know what that means.
– 33rd pick: Junior Burrough (Boston) – In keeping with tradition, Burrough played in only one NBA season, appearing in 61 games for the Celtics and not doing a whole lot with them. In keeping with tradition, he swivelled over to Europe to keep the dream alive. In keeping with tradition, he ended up going all over the world. In keeping with tradition, he’s still playing today. And, in keeping with tradition, I’m going to needlessly drag this out by listing everywhere he’s played since being drafted in a context-free order without timestamps; Celtics, Italy, Argentina, Venezuela, Italy, Germany, Japan, Venezuela, Japan, IBL, Bulls (summer league), Japan, Venezuela, Japan, France, CBA, Puerto Rico, Greece, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Puerto Rico, South Korea, ABA, South Korea, South Korea, CBA, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela. The last of those was a three-game stint for Gaiteros de Zulia back in February, in which Burrough totalled (not averaged) 30 points and 11 rebounds.
– 34th pick: Andrew DeClercq (Golden State) – DeClercq’s last NBA season was in 2004/05, and the Magic showed no interest in him after the season. He wasn’t very productive anyway, and he also had a bad knee. Nonetheless, DeClercq rehabbed the knee for 18 months, and tried a comeback in 2006 preseason, working out for the Bulls, in the summer that saw them try out every big man alive. But no contract came his way, and he gave up trying after that. DeClercq it seems does not do much with his time these days, other than working with kids basketball camps and being a stay at home dad. He also contributed $2,300 to Todd Long’s election campaign, whoever that is. Oh, and true to form, here’s his email address.
– 35th pick: Jimmy King (Toronto) – One of the Fab Five, King played 64 games in two years in the NBA, before hitting the minor leagues. However, outside of three stints in Venezuela and one in Poland, King always stayed in the US, playing for every American minor league that you’ve ever heard of – the USBL, the ABA, the CBA, the D-League, and the IBL. Basically all of them. King retired in 2005 and became a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch, but then left that job to become an athletic director at Highland Park High in Michigan. Here is a picture of the school in question;
– 36th pick: Lawrence Moten (Vancouver) – Moten played three years in the NBA, making him a better man than most of this list. He also spent a lot of time in the CBA and Latin America, as well Spain and the USBL and other such places. His last gig came in 2005 for the ABA’s now deaded (“oh no!!”) Maryland Nighthawks franchise, a team more famous for putting together the world’s tallest-ever team as a publicity stunt one day. This stunt also marked the only time that the 7’7 Gheorghe Muresan wasn’t the tallest player on a team, as 7’9 Sun Ming Ming was also playing. (I wonder who played point guard. Hopefully it was Ivan Chiriaev. We need him.) Moten later coached the Nighthawks, who have moved from the ABA to the PBL, but it doesn’t look like he’s there now.
– 37th pick: Frankie King (L.A. Lakers) – King played 13 NBA games in two years with the Lakers and Sixers before doing the usual European rounds. His stay in Europe was highlighted (or lowlighted, depending on how this works) by a stay in Germany in the 1999/00 season, when he choked future Laker Mike Penberthy during a game and was later kicked off the team for multiple unexplained absences from practice. Frankie’s last stint came in Cyprus in the 2006/07 season.
– 38th pick: Rashard Griffith (Milwaukee) – Griffith never joined the NBA, but his rights did get traded from Milwaukee to Orlando seven years after he was drafted, in exchange for the rights to Jamal Sampson. Never understood that one, really. Griffith is still playing, having just completed his second season in the basketball powerhouse known as Romania, where he averaged 9.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.1 fouls per game last year.
– 39th pick: Donny Marshall (Cleveland) – Marshall was in and out of the NBA for many years, specifically with the Cavaliers, the Bucks, and then intermittently with the Nets from 2001 to 2003. He now continues a fine history of biased Celtics broadcasting as an analyst for Comcast Sportsnet.
– 40th pick: Dwayne Whitfield (Golden State) – Whitfield was traded to Toronto as filler material in the B.J. Armstrong trade, but Toronto kept him for all of about two months before cutting him. They re-signed him late in the season, and Whitfield played eight games with the team, but that was the sum total of his NBA career – the Bulls signed him for 1997 training camp, but he didn’t make the team. Whitfield played a string of lower-brow follow-up gigs over the years, culminating in a stay in Peru in 2002, and hasn’t been heard of since.
– 41st pick: Erik Meek (Houston) – Continuing the fine tradition of endless NBA success for former Duke players, Meek never played in the NBA. His European tour ended after an unsuccessful tryout in Italy in 2002, and so did his career.
– 42nd pick: Donnie Boyce (Atlanta) – Outside of three months in France and seven games in Argentina, Boyce stayed in America his entire career. He played eight games in his rookie season before breaking his leg, and then managed 22 games the following year. After that came some stints in the CBA and USBL, as well as a two-year stretch with the Globetrotters. Boyce’s last team was the Albany Patroons of the CBA in December 2005, for whom he didn’t score a point, and is now an assistant coach for the Reno Bighorns. Donnie Boyce fact: Donnie Boyce was once arrested for allegedly taking part in a drug deal. That’s all I’ve got.
– 43rd pick: Eric Snow (Milwaukee) – There’s always one second-rounder who goes on to have a much more successful NBA career than many of the players taken ahead of him, and in 1995, that someone was Eric Snow. Up until only a couple of months ago, Snow was on an NBA roster, even if he was inactive and incapable of playing. The Cavs claimed a medical retirement exemption thingy on Snow after failing to trade him at the deadline this past season, and Snow is inevitably going to be coaching somewhere very soon.
– 44th pick: Anthony Pelle (Denver) – Pelle never played in the NBA, and there’s a reason for that. He signed in Greece for the 1995-96 season, but quickly suffered a career-threatening injury, after an elevator that he was riding in fell three floors. Pelle battled back, and put ten more years of a career, but he was never NBA-calibre after the accident. His last gig came in November 2005 with a team called the Harlem Strong Dogs, an ABA team that predictably didn’t last.
– 45th pick: Troy Brown (Atlanta) – Brown never played in the NBA. He suffered a leg injury in his first training camp, and never made it out, then proceeded to average 6.4 points per game in the CBA in his first year as a professional, which didn’t bode well. He bounced back somewhat, and grabbed 13 rebounds a game in Germany the following season, but his NBA dream was pretty much over by then. Brown toured the world putting up big rebounding numbers up until 2007, when the ABA team that he’d been with for two seasons – the seminal Rochester RazorSharks [sic] – did the traditional ABA thing and folded.
– 46th pick: George Banks (Miami) – Banks never played in the NBA either, and he world-toured it up just like almost everyone else on this list did. He just completed his third straight season in the powerhouse Hungarian league, where he averaged a league-leading 22.4 points along with 7.2 rebounds for the incalcitrant Polaroid Lami-Ved Kormend, an otherwise-mediocre Hungarian team that went 9-17 this season. Speaking of the Hungarian league, a team called Enternet Hegyvidek went 0-26 this past season. Their leading scorer was former Albany Patroons bench player, Antione Johnson. If there’s a single person in the world that is interested in that, then you, sir, might want to snort some battery acid.
– 47th pick: Tyus Edney (Sacramento) – Edney averaged 11/6 in his rookie year, and was off to a fine start. He was in the NBA from 1995 through until 1998, but then he fell out of it. Not to be denied, though, he went and signed with Zalgiris in Lithuania, and was the starting point guard on the team that won the EuroLeague. And that’s a pretty good CV boost. Following that, he signed with Benetton Treviso for a year and won the Italian Cup, and these achievements were good enough to get him back into the NBA in 2000/01 with the Indiana Pacers. The rebirth lasted only one season, though. Soon, Edney was back in Europe, staying with Benetton for three more years, starring the whole way through, and then signing a three-year contract with Lottomatica Roma. He left after one year, signed with Olympiacos, left after one year, signed with Climamio Bologna for two years, left after one year, signed with Azovmash in the Ukraine, left after one year, and then split last year between Italy, Spain and Poland, where he finished the season averaging 12.4 points and 4.3 assists for Turow. Unlike most other players on this who went to Europe and journeymanned it up, Tyus Edney’s been over there starring. But the next fella hasn’t.
– 48th pick: Mark Davis (Minnesota) – it’s very difficult to find out much information about this guy without being overrun by pictures of penises, so I advise you not to search for the words “Mark Davis” unless you’ve made certain lifestyle choices that the Church of England would frown upon. But what I can tell you is that Davis last played in the 2007/08 season with the joyously-named Science City Jena in Germany, for whom he averaged 12/7. And before that he played for Dongbu Promy in South Korea. Some blistering team names there.
Nearly there now.
– 49th pick: Jerome Allen (Minnesota) – Allen’s NBA career consisted of two seasons, three teams, 117 games, 326 points and 35% shooting. Then came a world tour, one which focused on Italy. Allen spent two years with Napoli, and has spent fractions of the last four seasons with Snaidero Udine, who were also his most recent team. Allen averaged 8.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists for them last season, while shooting an uncharacteristic 24% from three point range. Now aged 36, does Allen have another season left in him? I don’t know. But I do know that despite the presence of Allen, as well as Serie A’s leading scorer in Rashad Anderson, Snaidero still managed to come last with a 6-24 record.
– 50th pick: Martyn Lewis (Golden State) – The former BBC newsreader didn’t have much of a professional basketball career. Lewis played in 25 games over two seasons with the Raptors, but then has only IBA, CBA, USBL and IBL appearances to his name, with a brief 11 ppg stint in the early days of the D-League thrown in. Lewis’ last contract came in 2002 in the USBL with the mighty Kansas Cagerz.
– 51st pick: Dejan Bodiroga (Sacramento) – These days, it’s common practice for all potentially useful European players to be drafted in the NBA, lest they decide to come over one day. But in the 90’s, it wasn’t. Despite his low draft position, Bodiroga was arguably the best player in Europe for a decade; first with Real Madrid, then with Panathinaikos, before moving onto Barcelona and Lottomatica Roma, Bodiroga won basically everything there was to win in the only countries that mattered, superstarring it up the whole way through. Aware of all this, the Kings spent a few years trying to get a first-round pick in exchange for his draft rights. But they never did, and they never signed him themselves, so when Bodiroga retired on this very day two years ago, he did so without ever joining the NBA. And that’s a bit of a shame. Bodiroga is now the General Manager for his last team, Lottomatica Roma.
– 52th pick: Fred Hoiberg (Indiana) – Hoiberg retired in 2006 after an abortive attempt to come back from a serious heart problem, and he took a job as an assistant general manager in Minnesota’s confusingly-structured front office. Over the years, I have ummed and arghed as to whether Hoiberg, Rick Brunson or Marcus Fizer was my favourite player ever, but as time has gone on, the answer to that question has become deafeningly obvious. There’s only one of those three that I need to see play again, and it’s Hoiberg. Bad times. Might go and fire up some of the old Bulls 2002/03 VHS now.
– 53rd pick: Constantin Popa (L.A. Clippers) – Popa never played in the NBA. He spent the 1995/96 season split between Pau Orthez in France and the Florida Beachdogs of the CBA, before he went off to Israel, a country he would never leave. Popa played four years for Maccabi Tel Aviv, one for Hapoel Jerusalem and one for Maccabi Lev Hasharon before retiring in 2001.
– 54th pick: Eurelijius Zukauskas (Seattle) – Zukauskas is another one that never played in the NBA, although his draft rights survive as a trade technicality to this day. He never made it over to America seemingly because he was having too much fun and success beasting in Lithuania, first in Lithuania and then in Russia, with one year in Greece thrown in for good measure. Included in his list of achievements is a EuroLeague title in 1999 with Zalgiris, and a European Championships title in 2003. He retired last month.
– 55th pick: Michael McDonald (Golden State) – McDonald is now 40 years old, because he wasn’t drafted until he was 26 for some reason. His NBA career last one game and four minutes, played with the Charlotte Hornets on a ten-day contract in January 1998; he had previously spent time with the Raptors, after having been included in the aforementioned B.J. Armstrong trade from Golden State, but he never played for either team. McDonald’s career also saw him make stops in the CBA, France, Japan, Greece, the IBL, Venezuela, Turkey, Russia and Croatia, before it culminated with a three-year run in Cyprus between 2004 and 2006. McDonald used to run a charity basketball game in his hometown of Longview, Texas, but the last instance of it that I can find was in 2007.
– 56th pick: Chris Carr (Phoenix) – Carr retired aged 29 after failing to make the Cavaliers roster out of training camp. He did so so that he could set up his own academy, found at 43hoops.com. And here’s a YouTube video about it all.
– 57th pick: Cuonzo Martin (Atlanta) – Martin played seven games over two seasons with the Vancouver Grizzlies and the Bucks, before briefly playing in the minor leagues. He retired in 2000 to become an assistant coach at Purdue, and held that job for eight years, before leaving last summer to become the head coach at Missouri State University. He went 11-20 in his first year in charge.
– 58th pick: Don Reid (Detroit) – Reid managed the rare and special achievement of never playing outside of the NBA once he was drafted. He spent his first four years with the Pistons, was traded to Washington partway through his fifth season, then spent two years with Orlando, before one final season with the Pistons in 2002/03. Reid didn’t play again after that, although the Pistons almost re-signed him in February 2005 when their pursuit of Dale Davis came to nothing. The last we heard of Don Reid was a report last September that said he was working out again in the hopes of getting a training camp contract, but, inevitably, he didn’t. Ask Denver, Don. They’ll sign anyone.