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Thread: Ex-Kentucky Players overlooked in draft

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    Ex-Kentucky Players overlooked in draft

    Posted on Wed, Jun. 29, 2005





    Ex-Kentucky players overlooked in draft

    By Jerry Tipton

    HERALD-LEADER STAFF WRITER


    In noting players who mistakenly forfeited their remaining college eligibility to enter last night's NBA Draft, basketball commentator Dick Vitale mentioned two former Kentucky players first.

    "Who's advising these kids?" Vitale said as ESPN's telecast of the draft moved deep into the second and final round. "Randolph Morris. Kelenna Azubuike. ... They're going to be basketball vagabonds. They're listening to the wrong people."

    Neither Morris nor Azubuike was selected in the 60-pick draft. NBA teams also passed over Chuck Hayes, the senior leader of Kentucky's team this past season and a foundational four-year player that UK billed as the college game's winningest performer.

    None of the players could be reached for comment.

    But people close to Hayes and Azubuike suggested the players will play in the NBA someday.

    Gary Porter, who coached Hayes at Modesto (Calif.) Christian, said, "There's definitely a place for him."

    Porter noted Hayes' perseverance and determination.

    "He'll will himself to play (in the NBA)," Porter said. "It's not like him to quit. He's not a quitter."

    Porter acknowledged no surprise in NBA teams bypassing Hayes.

    "I think he's going to end up with somebody, probably as a free agent," Porter said. "That's what we've been thinking all along."

    Hayes, who chose to watch the draft alone at his Modesto home rather than attend a larger gathering planned in his honor, sounded philosophical before the draft about his status.

    "I hear I have some supporters," he said in a quiet voice. "I hear I have some doubters. That's been my whole career. Nothing new."

    Azubuike's agent, Joel Bell, said an injury derailed his client's chances of being drafted.

    "He was going great until he pulled a groin," the agent said of Azubuike's pre-draft workouts for NBA teams.

    The injury caused Azubuike to miss the NBA Pre-Draft Camp in Chicago and removed him from individual team workouts for about three weeks, Bell said.

    "He's a NBA player," the agent said of Azubuike's long-term basketball future. "Everybody who saw him in workouts knows he's a NBA player."

    Chris Ekstrand, a NBA consultant and former editor of the league's official draft guide, had been less impressed with Azubuike's workouts. Azubuike had not distinguished himself from other prospects, Ekstrand said earlier this week.

    "This is the time of year you have to separate yourself," Ekstrand said.

    Morris' decision to enter the NBA Draft after one season for Kentucky sparked much debate. A high school All-American, he averaged 8.8 points and 4.2 rebounds as a UK freshman.

    Morris, Azubuike and Hayes were not alone in failing to make a splash in the draft. Only one player from the Southeastern Conference was taken in the first round. The New York Knicks took David Lee of Florida with the final pick of the round.

    Reigning SEC Player of the Year Brandon Bass of Louisiana State was taken by New Orleans with the third pick of the second round. Former Mississippi State forward Lawrence Roberts went to Seattle with the 44th pick, then had his rights traded to Memphis. Such familiar SEC players as Alabama's Kennedy Winston and Florida's Anthony Roberson and Matt Walsh were not drafted.

    Former Louisville standout Francisco Garcia was selected in the first round by the Kings.

    END OF JERRY TIPTON'S ARTICLE-----------------------------------------


    Why Kelenna Azubuike did not stay around for his final year and make himself into a first-round draft pick with guaranteed money is beyond me... He's got a bad family situation, but it isn't like his dad is getting out of prison anytime soon (5 years). The money would have still been there, and it would have been a much easier road than the one he has now staked himself to. A pulled groin and BLAMMO you ain't gettin' drafted.

    I'm a bit surprised that no one took Randolph Morriss, but I still think he should have stayed at least another year... Making an NBA team as a free agent is hardly a piece of cake, and there's a very good chance that he'll end up being forced to play overseas.

    Dumb Dumb Dumb.

    As far as Chuck Hayes,,, If that kid was 6' 10" instead of 6' 5", he'd have been a lottery pick, instead,,, making it in the NBA is going to be extraordinarily tough for this guy. This guy has got the heart of a lion, but playing power-forward in the NBA at 6' 5" is next to impossible. That's point-guard/shooting-guard size in the NBA. He'd be dwarfed by most 3's, and he simply doesn't have the game of a small forward.

    If Chuck doesn't make it in the NBA, however, I have absolutely no doubt that wherever Chuck does end up, he'll be a difference-maker and a positive influence.

    I think that Chuck Hayes might be destined for things greater than basketball.

    As far as Randolph and Kelenna, however: Stupid Stupid Stupid. :thumbdown
    Last edited by WMR; 06-29-2005 at 10:36 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
    Calipari is not, nor has he ever been accused or "caught", cheating. He himself turned in one of his players (Camby) for dealing with an agent to get one Final Four overturned. The other is all on the NCAA and Rose. (IF Rose cheated.)
    "Cheering for Kentucky is like watching Star Wars and hoping Darth Vader chokes an ewok"


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    Re: Ex-Kentucky Players overlooked in draft

    What are you, people? On dope? - Mr Hand

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    Re: Ex-Kentucky Players overlooked in draft

    In noting players who mistakenly forfeited their remaining college eligibility to enter last night's NBA Draft, basketball commentator Dick Vitale mentioned two former Kentucky players first.

    "Who's advising these kids?" Vitale said as ESPN's telecast of the draft moved deep into the second and final round. "Randolph Morris. Kelenna Azubuike. ... They're going to be basketball vagabonds. They're listening to the wrong people."

    Neither Morris nor Azubuike was selected in the 60-pick draft. NBA teams also passed over Chuck Hayes, the senior leader of Kentucky's team this past season and a foundational four-year player that UK billed as the college game's winningest performer.

    None of the players could be reached for comment.

    But people close to Hayes and Azubuike suggested the players will play in the NBA someday.

    Gary Porter, who coached Hayes at Modesto (Calif.) Christian, said, "There's definitely a place for him."

    Porter noted Hayes' perseverance and determination.

    "He'll will himself to play (in the NBA)," Porter said. "It's not like him to quit. He's not a quitter."

    Porter acknowledged no surprise in NBA teams bypassing Hayes.

    "I think he's going to end up with somebody, probably as a free agent," Porter said. "That's what we've been thinking all along."

    Hayes, who chose to watch the draft alone at his Modesto home rather than attend a larger gathering planned in his honor, sounded philosophical before the draft about his status.

    "I hear I have some supporters," he said in a quiet voice. "I hear I have some doubters. That's been my whole career. Nothing new."

    Azubuike's agent, Joel Bell, said an injury derailed his client's chances of being drafted.

    "He was going great until he pulled a groin," the agent said of Azubuike's pre-draft workouts for NBA teams.

    The injury caused Azubuike to miss the NBA Pre-Draft Camp in Chicago and removed him from individual team workouts for about three weeks, Bell said.

    "He's a NBA player," the agent said of Azubuike's long-term basketball future. "Everybody who saw him in workouts knows he's a NBA player."

    Chris Ekstrand, a NBA consultant and former editor of the league's official draft guide, had been less impressed with Azubuike's workouts. Azubuike had not distinguished himself from other prospects, Ekstrand said earlier this week.

    "This is the time of year you have to separate yourself," Ekstrand said.

    Morris' decision to enter the NBA Draft after one season for Kentucky sparked much debate. A high school All-American, he averaged 8.8 points and 4.2 rebounds as a UK freshman.

    Morris, Azubuike and Hayes were not alone in failing to make a splash in the draft. Only one player from the Southeastern Conference was taken in the first round. The New York Knicks took David Lee of Florida with the final pick of the round.

    Reigning SEC Player of the Year Brandon Bass of Louisiana State was taken by New Orleans with the third pick of the second round. Former Mississippi State forward Lawrence Roberts went to Seattle with the 44th pick, then had his rights traded to Memphis. Such familiar SEC players as Alabama's Kennedy Winston and Florida's Anthony Roberson and Matt Walsh were not drafted.

    Former Louisville standout Francisco Garcia was selected in the first round by the Kings.
    Why Kelenna Azubuike did not stay around for his final year and make himself into a first-round draft pick with guaranteed money is beyond me... He's got a bad family situation, but it isn't like his dad is getting out of prison anytime soon (5 years). The money would have still been there, and it would have been a much easier road than the one he has now staked himself to. A pulled groin and BLAMMO you ain't gettin' drafted.

    I'm a bit surprised that no one took Randolph Morriss, but I still think he should have stayed at least another year... Making an NBA team as a free agent is hardly a piece of cake, and there's a very good chance that he'll end up being forced to play overseas.

    Dumb Dumb Dumb.

    As far as Chuck Hayes,,, If that kid was 6' 10" instead of 6' 5", he'd have been a lottery pick, instead,,, making it in the NBA is going to be extraordinarily tough for this guy. This guy has got the heart of a lion, but playing power-forward in the NBA at 6' 5" is next to impossible. That's point-guard/shooting-guard size in the NBA. He'd be dwarfed by most 3's, and he simply doesn't have the game of a small forward.

    If Chuck doesn't make it in the NBA, however, I have absolutely no doubt that wherever Chuck does end up, he'll be a difference-maker and a positive influence.

    I think that Chuck Hayes might be destined for things greater than basketball.

    As far as Randolph and Kelenna, however: Stupid Stupid Stupid. :thumbdown
    Quote Originally Posted by savafan View Post
    I've read books about sparkling vampires who walk around in the daylight that were written better than a John Fay article.

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    Re: Ex-Kentucky Players overlooked in draft

    Hey thanks, WVRed, I should have done a better job separating the article from my editorializing. LOL
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
    Calipari is not, nor has he ever been accused or "caught", cheating. He himself turned in one of his players (Camby) for dealing with an agent to get one Final Four overturned. The other is all on the NCAA and Rose. (IF Rose cheated.)
    "Cheering for Kentucky is like watching Star Wars and hoping Darth Vader chokes an ewok"


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    Re: Ex-Kentucky Players overlooked in draft

    Why Kelenna Azubuike did not stay around for his final year and make himself into a first-round draft pick with guaranteed money is beyond me... He's got a bad family situation, but it isn't like his dad is getting out of prison anytime soon (5 years). The money would have still been there, and it would have been a much easier road than the one he has now staked himself to. A pulled groin and BLAMMO you ain't gettin' drafted.
    I dont know how much you know about the NBA, but if you want a bigger payday down the road, the second round is the best place to get drafted.

    First rounders get a guaranteed three years. OTOH, the maximum a player can get signed is for 2 years as a second rounder. But its harder to work yourself up and get regular playing time as a second rounder.

    But if you succeed, you get a big payday after two years rather than three. Carlos Boozer and Gilbert Arenas say hello.

    As for Azubuike, the biggest mistake he made was hiring an agent, therefore killing his chances of returning to college. Azubuike was expected to be a second round pick, and when he pulled his groin, that shot his chances of being drafted. He should have taken the example of Dee Brown of Illinois.

    I'm a bit surprised that no one took Randolph Morriss, but I still think he should have stayed at least another year... Making an NBA team as a free agent is hardly a piece of cake, and there's a very good chance that he'll end up being forced to play overseas.

    Dumb Dumb Dumb.
    I am also suprised Morris didnt get taken, as he was projected to go as high as the Knicks 30th pick in the first round, and as low as the Hornets in the second round. He is, however, eligible to return to Kentucky since he didnt hire an agent, but whether Tubby Smith would accept him back is another story.

    As far as Chuck Hayes,,, If that kid was 6' 10" instead of 6' 5", he'd have been a lottery pick, instead,,, making it in the NBA is going to be extraordinarily tough for this guy. This guy has got the heart of a lion, but playing power-forward in the NBA at 6' 5" is next to impossible. That's point-guard/shooting-guard size in the NBA. He'd be dwarfed by most 3's, and he simply doesn't have the game of a small forward.

    If Chuck doesn't make it in the NBA, however, I have absolutely no doubt that wherever Chuck does end up, he'll be a difference-maker and a positive influence.

    I think that Chuck Hayes might be destined for things greater than basketball.
    Hayes should have tried for an Antonio Gates career in the NFL.
    Quote Originally Posted by savafan View Post
    I've read books about sparkling vampires who walk around in the daylight that were written better than a John Fay article.

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    Re: Ex-Kentucky Players overlooked in draft

    I read soemwhere that Azubuike's dad could get released early if he pays back what he stole from his clients. If that's true I can't blame him for trying to go pro early. I'm sure he was under a lot of pressure from his family to do this. But he should have waited to have hired an agent. He pulled a groin in workouts and couldn't do any more of these private workouts for teams. That may have affected that he didn't get drafted.
    As for Morris,he was just dumb. His father thinks he's second coming of Bill Russell and thought he should go pro. He'll be what Vitale calls a vagabond. You'll see him Europe and may be some brief stints in the NBA. Nothing more. Don't expect him back playing for Tubby. The Morris's napalmed any chance of that.

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    Re: Ex-Kentucky Players overlooked in draft

    Not sure what the UK players were thinking. These two have go on the worst decisions ever list. Along with Walsh and Roberson from FLA. Idiotic could be the word I am looking for. Here is another article on the mislead players:

    By Pat Forde
    ESPN.com


    What now, Randolph Morris?

    What now, Kelenna Azubuike?

    You guys could have been part of a 2006 national championship contender at the University of Kentucky – maybe even the preseason No. 1 team. Instead you wake up today as young men without a team, or a grasp on your dream.

    You whiffed in the NBA draft, making the worst career decisions since Michael Jordan decided he could hit a curve ball.


    What now, Matt Walsh?

    What now, Anthony Roberson?

    You could have been part of a team equipped to battle Kentucky on even terms, the Florida Gators. Instead you wake up today with egos and expectations trampled after seeing 60 players picked by the NBA – none of them you. Your "advisers" who counseled you to turn pro and stay in the draft ... what are they telling you this morning – if they have the nerve to return your calls?

    What now, Olu Famutimi?

    What now, Kennedy Winston?

    You bailed on Arkansas and Alabama, respectively, where you could have been key players on potential Top 25 teams. Instead you wake up today with the words "undrafted free agent" following your names, and no guaranteed money headed to your bank accounts. Hope you guys didn't spend too much advance money from your agents, because it could be hard to pay them back on a D-League salary.

    Tuesday night, a looming lose-lose proposition came home to roost on the Southeastern Conference. And in the end, it was worse than even the most devout pessimists could have envisioned.

    On the whole, it was a validating night for the stay-in-school activists. Eleven seniors were picked in the first round, and 14 of the first 38 picks were throwback players who actually embraced the quaint notion of a four-year, expenses-paid education and on-the-job basketball training. Eighteen of the 30 first-rounders were college seniors or juniors, continuing a trend that says three years of college is a sensible minimum for all but the most gifted players.

    It was significantly less validating for guys like Chris Taft, who left Pittsburgh early and was exposed as under-skilled and under-motivated in NBA workouts, subsequently plummeting to No. 42. It definitely wasn't good for the six high school players who slipped into the second round – a development none of the sweet-talkers who counseled them on making the jump ever mentioned.

    And it was a night that left nobody from the gutted SEC happy.

    No league had more underclassmen declare. When the NBA scouts yawned in their direction, when the mock drafts ignored them, when the analysts predicted draft-night humiliation – most of them stubbornly stayed in anyway. And then Tuesday night was a disaster for the deluded.

    Exactly one SEC player was drafted in the first round – a senior at that. Florida's David Lee was the 30th and last pick in the guaranteed-money zone. After that came LSU sophomore Brandon Bass at No. 33, Mississippi State signee Monta Ellis at No. 40, Georgia signee Louis Williams at No. 45 and Mississippi State senior Lawrence Roberts at No. 55.

    After Lee, they're guaranteed absolutely nothing at this point. NBA earnings will most likely be contingent upon making a team, and that won't be easy. Only 24 percent of the current NBA players were second-round picks, which means by average that one of the four SEC second-rounders will make a squad.

    And those guys are the lucky ones compared to the SEC's undrafted half-dozen. Sixteen percent of The League membership was undrafted – but most of those guys had to scuffle around for years far off Broadway before getting their shot. (And that shot almost always comes at a league-minimum salary.)

    Of the SEC's undrafted group, the kid who has to feel lousiest today is Morris. He nearly joined Atlanta AAU teammates Dwight Howard and Josh Smith in the draft out of high school but chose to attend Kentucky instead. Once there, Morris spent all season proving that he had no business in the draft, averaging a listless 8.8 points and 4.2 rebounds. He was considered one of the most underachieving freshmen in the nation.

    But instead of returning for several seasons of seasoning, he stunned Kentucky by faxing coach Tubby Smith his declaration to enter the draft. Even after working out to tepid reviews, Morris left everyone hanging until the last minute and then issued a release through his new agency, SFX, saying that he was staying in the draft. (Now that Morris has gone undrafted, it's high time for SFX to earn its money.)

    Between those two events, Morris spent his time scrupulously avoiding contact and counsel with Smith. That obviously would have made too much sense.

    After all, the coach has only sent Tayshaun Prince, Jamaal Magloire, Nazr Mohammed, Keith Bogans, Scott Padgett and Erik Daniels into The League from Kentucky, so what would he know? His close ties to Pistons coach Larry Brown and others in the NBA wouldn't be worth much when it came to judging Morris' draft value, right? Clearly, it's better to listen to Word On The Street – or whatever word the kid was hearing – for this life-altering decision.

    But Morris is just one of many young basketball players who wake up today wondering what happened to their American Dream. There was supposed to be a butler knocking on the door with a seven-figure contract on a platinum serving tray. He's nowhere to be found.

    Here's the deal: A lot of these kids want someone to lie to them, and there are a blue million liars out there ready and willing to do so. When the going gets tough, the scammers get going – and the horribly flawed entity that is American youth basketball serves up scammer fodder by the dozens.

    Too many kids don't want to go to school. (See: high schooler Amir Johnson, who turned pro instead of going to Louisville when he couldn't get the standardized test score for freshman eligibility. He was the 56th player picked, which is pretty much the bullet train to the D-League or overseas – not that Rick Pitino's program can offer anything that, say, Turkey is lacking.)

    Too many kids don't want to live a world where hard work and demanding coaches are part of the daily routine. (News flash to the '06 hamburger All-Americans: several of the top college programs expect you to take charges, pass the ball AND go to class. Really!)

    Too many kids don't want to believe that the world is bigger than the Nike and adidas all-star camps. (True, only four players were taken in the first round straight from international teams. But 10 foreign players went in the second round – and something tells me that Kennedy Winston and Matt Walsh were never warned by their "advisers" that their draft slots could be taken by the Uros Slokars and Cenk Akyols of the world.)

    So the scammers sprinkle some feed in front of the pigeons, and pretty soon they're eating right out of their hands. But now those hands are empty, and they have no good explanations for what happened.

    Instead of explanations, there is only one overriding question for the guys who gambled their education and lost:

    What Now?

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    Re: Ex-Kentucky Players overlooked in draft

    Quote Originally Posted by WVRed
    Hayes should have tried for an Antonio Gates career in the NFL.
    I heard on the news an NFL team contacted UK about Hayes and football.

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    Re: Ex-Kentucky Players overlooked in draft

    Quote Originally Posted by kyred14
    I heard on the news an NFL team contacted UK about Hayes and football.
    That is true. Hayes and Pittsburgh's Chevon Troutman were contacted about possibly playing football. Troutman signed with the Redskins already as a TE, but Hayes was being looked at as a DE.
    Quote Originally Posted by savafan View Post
    I've read books about sparkling vampires who walk around in the daylight that were written better than a John Fay article.

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    Re: Ex-Kentucky Players overlooked in draft

    Quote Originally Posted by WVRed
    That is true. Hayes and Pittsburgh's Chevon Troutman were contacted about possibly playing football. Troutman signed with the Redskins already as a TE, but Hayes was being looked at as a DE.
    IIRC Troutman was released after his first day of practice. He was obviously not a football player even though he had the body for it.

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    Re: Ex-Kentucky Players overlooked in draft

    I wonder if part of Kentucky's problems with players and the draft has equalled what has happened with Duke. Everyone know the players are good but they play as a team alot better than the individuals do. I mean other the Bogan & Prince, name a Kentucky player who go alot of run in the NBA last season.
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    Re: Ex-Kentucky Players overlooked in draft

    I mean other the Bogan & Prince, name a Kentucky player who go alot of run in the NBA last season.
    Nazr Mohammed started for the World Champs and played 20+ minutes per game, Antoine Walker played a lot, Jamaal Magloire was injured for much of the year, but plays a lot of minutes, Derek Anderson gets minutes for Portland, and even Scott Padgett had a few games around 20 minutes for Houston. I think Tony Delk gets a lot of minutes for a bad Atlanta team, while Walter McCarty got more minutes in Boston than in Phoenix.

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    Re: Ex-Kentucky Players overlooked in draft

    Quote Originally Posted by UKFlounder
    Nazr Mohammed started for the World Champs and played 20+ minutes per game, Antoine Walker played a lot, Jamaal Magloire was injured for much of the year, but plays a lot of minutes, Derek Anderson gets minutes for Portland, and even Scott Padgett had a few games around 20 minutes for Houston. I think Tony Delk gets a lot of minutes for a bad Atlanta team, while Walter McCarty got more minutes in Boston than in Phoenix.
    Should have qualified that as name Tubby Smith Players, which none of those count.
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    Re: Ex-Kentucky Players overlooked in draft

    Quote Originally Posted by LincolnparkRed
    Should have qualified that as name Tubby Smith Players, which none of those count.
    I think thats a theme throughout college basketball. With the high schoolers and overseas players, the college ranks the get the "second" rate players sometimes. College basketball is still much more popular, however

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    Re: Ex-Kentucky Players overlooked in draft

    Quote Originally Posted by LincolnparkRed
    Should have qualified that as name Tubby Smith Players, which none of those count.
    Both Magloire and Padgett played for Tubby on the 1998 championship team. I assume you will now say that "yeah, but they were recruited by Pitino"...
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