By Glenn Guilbeau, Gannett News Service
BATON ROUGE — Apparently, LSU has lost another basketball player to the NBA draft. First Brandon Bass, and now Curtis Heroman. Actually, Heroman declared first, back on April 15.
Only Heroman never played basketball at LSU. Well, actually he has. But he never played basketball for LSU, where he is a student. He played intramural ball. Yet Heroman, who is 6-foot-3, said he filled out all the necessary forms through the NBA office and wrote a letter to the league saying he wanted to declare himself eligible for the draft. He said he corresponded with Erica Ruiz in the NBA legal department. Such a person does work at the NBA office.
"It was a pretty lengthy process," Heroman said in a phone interview from his home last week. "It took well over a month. I had to fill out a lot of forms. There was a lot of work back and forth."
And under the "Transactions" head on a number of national Web sites on April 16, Heroman's name appeared as leaving LSU early for the NBA draft.
SI.com, the Web site for Sports Illustrated, had this: "Louisiana State — Announced guard Curtis Heroman will forgo his last year of college eligibility and enter the NBA draft."
MSNBC.com had Heroman on a list of early entries right before Jarrett Jack of Georgia Tech.
USATODAY.com also listed "Curtis Heroman, f, LSU" as an early entry right under "Chris Hernandez, g, Stanford."
There was Heroman, whose most recent basketball experience on a real team was as a starting guard at University High in Baton Rouge in the 2000-01 season, on the same list with Andrew Bogut of Utah, forward Sean May of North Carolina and, as of Friday, Bass of LSU. The deadline for entering the draft was Saturday at midnight.
"I've never heard of him," said LSU assistant coach Butch Pierre, who handles the Tigers' recruiting.
"I didn't know my name was on those lists," Heroman said.
"I know Curtis Heroman," said former LSU player Collis Temple, whose son Collis Temple III played with Heroman at University High before moving on to LSU. "What is he doing in the draft?"
Evidently, it can be done. An ESPN researcher called LSU sports information director Michael Bonnette to ask about Heroman and said he was going to be mentioned in a story on the early entries for the NBA draft on Saturday's night's SportsCenter.
"I'd never heard of him," Bonnette said.
"He may be in the draft, but he won't come out of the draft," said long time NBA scout and talent consultant Marty Blake. "It sounds like he's playing a joke for his friends."
Tim Franks, who is the vice-president of communications for the NBA, said from his home Saturday night that there is no set of criteria for a person to enter the NBA draft.
"Our official draft list will not be released until later this week," Franks said.
Heroman said he did not do it for a publicity stunt, and he's not joking.
"It's something I never had the chance to do and something that I always thought I might've been able to do," he said. "I know I won't be drafted, but maybe I can turn somebody's head in a tryout or in a camp. I was always hurt or sick in high school. I'm just getting healthy again and want to see what I can do."
Heroman has diabetes and said he blew out his knee in high school.
"You name it, and I've had it," he said.
"He was a good role player," U-High coach Ari Fisher said. "He averaged maybe six or eight points a game. He understood the game. I tried him at point guard his sophomore year. He was a diabetic. He was thin, and there was a problem with his stamina. But he was as good as anybody for two or three minutes. He was a very intelligent kid, and Curtis was always very conscientious. He was also on the track team and could really jump."
Fisher said he has not spoken with Heroman in a few years.
"Is this a joke?" Fisher said when first told the news. "He's in the draft?"