share

Phenom wasteland. Players who were supposed to be destined for the NBA

the lake show
Registered User
Joined: 01/13/2010
Posts: 8202
Points: 1205
Offline
Phenom wasteland. Players who were supposed to be destined for the NBA

The Phenom Wasteland It is a place desolate and barren where stories of abandoned phenom glory dwells. And I visited this dejected land in all its gloom to bring back the tales of former recruits who cast off their glory and squandered their talent to the Phenom Wastelands. Clark Francis, Bob Gibbons, and Dave Telep are just a few of the gurus who make a living watching young men play basketball. They do a solid job of evaluating talent in the difficult and tedious task of grading and ranking 500-800 players each season. They have nailed quite a few prospects but there have also been some significant misses. So how do recruiting gurus go wrong when it comes to a top 25 national recruit who goes bust? My visit to the Wasteland revealed that it's not what about what happens when the game is played. Rather, it is a lethal dose of bad luck, unfounded player hype, or poor decisions off the court. It's easy to recall obvious Wasteland dwellers like Schea Cotton, Lenny Cooke, Jerod Ward, Felipe Lopez and Ronnie Fields. But this place also holds the obscure stories of five former top recruits who met with unpredictable and heartbreaking circumstances that derailed their journey to the NBA. 1) Estaban Weaver - Independence H.S. (OH) - Class of 1997 Like most childhood prodigies Weaver burst onto the scene very early as a talented 7th grader. Despite his youthful age major colleges like Ohio State dedicated one of their assistant coaches to following him. He was labeled by many as the top high school player in the nation both as a freshmen and sophomore. Weaver sophomore year at Hartley. But Weaver's fertile footing as the nation's top player slowly slipped as classmates such as Lamar Odom, Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest climbed the rankings. By Weaver's senior year he was eclipsed as Ohio's best thanks to his teammate Kenny Gregory (Kansas). To make matters worse rumors sprouted that he was a loose cannon that was sometimes uncontrollable. Each stop at the three high schools he attended was highlighted by a negative event. As a sophomore at Hartley Weaver quit the basketball team mid-season. At Maine Central Institute he was kicked out of school, and Independence he failed to graduate with his class due to poor grades. He eventually enrolled at Tallahassee Junior College and reconfirmed his reputation for being uncoachable. After leaving junior college he enrolled at the NAIA school, Central State (Ohio), after sitting out a year. Central State school was far from the glamor and pageantry of Ohio State and many of the other high major Division One schools that chased him for his commitment. Weaver lasted one year before leaving school, and after three years of life without basketball he resurfaced in 2007 playing ball for the IBL's Marysville Meteors. 2) Octavious Thomas - Walter F. George (GA) - Class of 1991 Who in the world is Octavious Thomas? If you're from the Georgia area you may remember this dynamo point very well. As a matter of fact, ask most Georgians and they will tell you Thomas was better than Darrin Hancock and Dion Glover, both of whom went on to have NBA careers. In many regards Thomas has become a street ball fable comparable to Earl Manigault and Joe Hammond because no film is known to exist. Word has is that Thomas' end to end quickness was amazing. His ability to score and pass was also exceptional, which made his Walter F. George team tough to beat. Prior to Thomas' junior season many in the recruiting community ranked him the number two point guard in the nation behind Jason Kidd. But trouble would strike before the start of his senior year. Despite failing to pass five classes Thomas neglected to attend summer school. This resulted in his ineligibility and voided any chance to play his final season. Like many on this Wasteland list Thomas lacked guidance and focus. He was simply allergic to schoolwork. Some observers believe Thomas was passed through previous grades on the reputation of his pure playing ability. But his academics were in such poor shape towards the end of his high school career that he never played another season of organized basketball as a high school senior or on the collegiate level. Thomas was last seen several years ago in the Southeast Exposure League. 3) Thomas Hamilton – King (IL) – Class of 1993 Hailing from Chicago’s King High School, Hamilton teamed with Rashard Griffith to form twin towers for the powerhouse school. Hamilton was a virtual shoe-in as a future pro with his massive body and 7-2 frame. He originally signed with Illinois but was denied acceptance because of poor academics. He then moved through Pittsburgh and Wabash Valley Community College that same year. Finally, the big man decided school was not for him and declared for the 1994 NBA Draft, going undrafted. Hamilton's last year in NBA. The Toronto Raptors signed Hamilton but his lack of Polish and out of shape body prevented him from ever reaching the court. The Celtics signed him the following year where he showed some signs of progress but he only lasted 11 games. He was cut for his lack of effort to get his weight under control. As Hamilton's professional career sputtered the Chicago Bulls took a chance on the local product. But the situation went from bad to worse when he was arrested for possession of 40 grams of cocaine. With a son to care for and the cold reality of jail Hamilton hit the court with an urgency not seen before. Hamilton eventually got past the legal issues, lost nearly 70 pounds and gained a two year contract with the Houston Rockets. But the resurgence only lasted 22 games when the Rockets and the rest of an uninterested NBA community pulled the plug on his career. Hamilton has since did stints in the NBDL and a few training camps but never got lucky. He eventually disappeared not only from the public eye but also his son’s life. Hamilton's greatest contribution to the game could lie with his son, Thomas Hamilton, Jr. The 6-9 seventh grader is considered one of the nation’s up and comers. 4) Jonathan Hargett – National Christian (MD) – Class of 2001 Few guards enjoyed the buzz Hargett received as he entered college. Much of this had to do with his jaw dropping athleticism and spectacular body frame. At 5-11 Hargett’s body resembled a compact linebacker. Many thought his game was tailor made for the NBA; some even thought he would be the first point guard to jump to the pros. But Hargett wisely choose to play for the West Virginia Mountaineers instead. The pre-season hype Hargett experienced pegged him as a one-and-done candidate and contender for Big East Conference Freshmen of the Year. But his play during the season did not reflect these predictions as he showed noticeable signs of immaturity and poor decision making. Hargett also demonstrated poor body language during games and clearly did not take well to being coached. His team finished with an 8-20 season - their worst since 1938. To compound matters West Virginia conducted an investigation into a relationship Hargett had with a mentor and found out that he had been provided financial assistance. The school handed over its findings to the NCAA who ruled Hargett ineligible. Amid all these troubles he entered the 2003 NBA Draft. He went undrafted mostly likely because of his selfish play and tarnished image from the scandal. Other pro leagues were also unimpressed with Hargett. He was away from the game for two years before an attempt to enter Division II basketball at Virginia Union but the NCAA refused to reinstate his eligibility. Hargett was last seen playing basketball for the WBA Exposure League. 5) Sani Ibrahim – Winchendon (MA) – Class of 2002 Ibrahim first entered the recruiting scene at the old age of 15. Prior to this he played professionally in Nigeria’s top league. When international basketball scouts noticed the talent he became the highlight of reports that swirled among colleges and the NBA. It wasn't long before high school coaches clamored for the talent and coordinated with individuals specialized in sending African ball players to America. Ibrahim was soon on a SwissAir flight to Toronto to begin his budding basketball career but the impending roller coaster would be unprecedented as he went through 5 high schools in 3 years at the grimy hands of his handlers who received kickbacks. In these rocky times Ibrahim was considered a definite NBA prospect. He consistently put up good numbers against some of the nation’s most dominant high school teams. In his senior year at Oak Hill Academy he teamed up with Carmello Anthony for what was to be his encore before looking to the NBA. But to many observers Ibrahim's play lacked the consistency and aggressiveness. His stock began to drop and the NBA draft became a pipe dream. Additionally, Ibrahim's "going pro" mindset kept him from focusing on academics. This prevented him from entering a 4-year college. After two solid seasons in community college he declared for the draft each year but his draft status sunk further each time until he was totally off the board. These are but a few of the stories from the Phenom Wasteland, the place that is always ready and waiting to receive the next phenom who will throw it all away and become a ghost to the basketball world. Who will be its next victim? Draft review


ghettosermon
ghettosermon's picture
Registered User
Joined: 06/13/2008
Posts: 930
Points: 2493
Offline
Paragraphs are your friend.

Paragraphs are your friend.

It's kind of hard to read but yeah Lenny Cooke I thought would be an absolute stud. It's a shame where his career went. Deangelo Collins is another guy who comes to mind. Should have went to college, too many red flags even though I never expected him to go undrafted.

the lake show
Registered User
Joined: 01/13/2010
Posts: 8202
Points: 1205
Offline
Stupid iPhone didn't space it

Stupid iPhone didn't space it

kacey
Registered User
Joined: 06/16/2009
Posts: 1565
Points: -133
Offline
It is spaced out pretty good

It is spaced out pretty good right: here. And it includes pictuces. Yay

Good read though. Sad to see these guys couldn't stay on top of their game or keep their head on straight. I never heard of Octavious until this piece. Hamilton was a beast of a man, I watched him when he was in Houston.

SoftAndSweet
SoftAndSweet's picture
Registered User
Joined: 06/13/2008
Posts: 1767
Points: 2279
Offline
Credit

good read.

doesn't say who wrote it.

RSS: Syndicate content