Yesterday, Dana O'Neil posted on the ESPN CBN blog with a couple of memories from covering players in past NBA Drafts. One of those players was Matt Walsh, who left school as a junior to enter the NBA Draft. Walsh wasn't drafted, and based on O'Neil's story, it seems like Walsh was devastated and embarrassed he wasn't drafted.
That was the point of the story. Last night was great for kids like Quincy Pondexter, Trevor Booker, and Lazar Hayward, who worked their tails off over four years to earn a guaranteed contract, or kids like John Wall, Derrick Favors, and DeMarcus Cousins, who realized their NBA dreams.
But what about Samardo Samuels? Manny Harris? Sylvan Landesberg? AJ Ogilvy? Those are four kids that were stars at the college level, and all of them had eligibility left.
Call me a college basketball apologist if you want to. Point out that Matt Walsh is living a pretty good life overseas, winning the Belgian League MVP in 2009. Great. I'm happy for him, truly. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that all four of the guys listed above will be cashing pretty sizable checks overseas come wintertime.
That isn't the point.
Matt Walsh didn't leave school early to become the Belgian League MVP. He was a 21 year old kid that listened to some bad advice, entered his name in the NBA Draft, and threw a party at his house -- which included members of the media -- because he thought he had a first round guarantee. Instead, he probably had the most mortifyingly embarrassing night of his life.
Did Manny Harris leave Michigan with visions of Serbia dancing in his head? Do you think AJ Ogilvy wants to play pro basketball anywhere other than the NBA? You don't think that Samardo Samuels would have loved to get that guaranteed contract to help out his family?
I understand there are mitigating circumstances in many of these decisions. I also understand that many of these kids just aren't cut out for college.
But as we celebrate kids like Paul George and Jordan Crawford, Gordon Hayward and Luke Babbitt, keep in mind that not every kid in the draft had their dreams fulfilled last night.