Draft a cautionary tale for Rondo
DON'T WASTE CAREER BY LEAVING UK EARLY
By John Clay
HERALD-LEADER SPORTS COLUMNIST
What a waste.
What a total, unbelievable, undeniable waste.
Welcome to reality, Randolph Morris and Kelenna Azubuike.
And that's just from Kentucky.
Make room for Kennedy Winston, Anthony Roberson, Matt Walsh and Olu Famutimi.
And that's just from the Southeastern Conference.
Around these parts, Tuesday night's 2005 NBA Draft will be known not for Andrew Bogut, or the four North Carolina Tar Heels taken in the first 14 picks.
The draft will be remembered for those not chosen, especially the ones so sure they would defy common sense and popular opinion only to end up so alone.
Happy now, Randolph Morris?
True, it appears the 6-foot-10 center with his head in the clouds could bypass those burned bridges and return to UK from neverland via a technicality, but only with his tail between his legs.
Ready for life overseas, Kelenna Azubuike?
True, family considerations made your situation unique, but now your NBA payday appears to be, at the least, delayed.
We heard a lot Tuesday night from ESPN's overly crowded assemblage of talking heads that these players were listening to the wrong people.
Truth is they weren't listening at all.
At least not to anyone telling them what they did not want to hear.
Who besides delusional family members -- take a bow, Ralph Morris -- and slimy agents were telling Morris, who averaged all of 8.8 points and 4.2 rebounds as a freshman, that he was a first-round pick?
After watching a mediocre Morris workout, Rex Chapman predicted last week the center would not be drafted. Rex was right.
Who, besides his agent, told the annoyingly unaggressive Azubuike he would be among the chosen ones?
What was that figure quoted Tuesday, that 16 percent of current NBA rosters comprise non-drafted players? But what is the percentage of non-draftees who try and try but never earn an NBA pay stub?
In the end, Tuesday night's twin disappointments should serve as a cautionary tale for one current Cat.
Are you listening Rajon Rondo?
In his heart of hearts, UK's freshman point guard probably wanted to test the NBA waters this year.
And three of the first five -- Illinois' Deron Williams at No. 3, Wake Forest's Chris Paul at No. 4 and North Carolina's Raymond Felton at No. 5 -- players chosen Tuesday were point guards.
But that trio owns something Rondo does not yet possess. An outside shot.
Paul hit 47.4 percent of his three-pointers last season. After making just 31.3 percent of his threes as a sophomore, Felton locked himself in the gym for the summer and upped that figure to 44 percent last season.
Rondo made just 30.3 percent of his threes last year, a lower figure than Williams, Paul or Felton posted at any time in their collegiate careers.
Plus, Williams and Felton both remained in college for three years before taking the NBA plunge. The extra time only helped their stock rise.
Take that as an object lesson, Rajon.
Develop a shot, shine as a super sophomore, and you could be on that stage next year shaking hands with David Stern and keeping it real with Stuart Scott.
But it's also possible you could roll the dice and be sitting at home at 11:45 on draft night wondering, "What am I going to do now?"
Just ask Randolph Morris and Kelenna Azubuike.
A career is a terrible thing to waste.