Top 5 Basketball Players Not To Make The NBA
After watching the Lennie Cooke Documentary Trailer I began to wonder who are the top 5 players not to make the NBA? Few that came to mind were Benji Wilson, Hank Gathers and Len Bias..
Ronnie Fields because of injury
Earl Manigault because of drugs
+1 for Ronnie Fields. Dude was good. When you are on the same High School team as Garnett, the guy who "started it all" as far as H.S. to NBA guys go, and YOU are the one with the mural painted on the wall you know you are pretty good. But, let's be honest, his "injury" was driving a coaches rental car and smashing it. That's different than tearing up your ACL playing. Also, he was being investigated by the police for pulling a "switch" with a girl and his cousin. He took her to bed and when the lights were off he had his cousin take his place from the closet, where he was hiding. That's kinda gross. At least, that was the rumor that I heard back in the 1990's.
Ronnie Fields was a 6'2 shooting guard who couldn't shoot and he didn't handle well. He also had a questionable work ethic and couldn't think the game at all.
And before someone mentions the car accident, he regained his athleticism after the accident. Measuring out with a 45+" vert in the CBA while also being utilized as a dunking sideshow for the Globetrotters.
Are people just substituting the word "hyped" for "best"?
Pee Wee Kirkland?
I would probably include Dejan Bodiroga...that guy was incredible.
<------ the guy in my picture.
Oscar Schmidt from Brazil always comes to mind for me. He is the all-time leading scorer in the history of professional basketball, with 49,737 career points. He averaged 29 ppg for his Olympic career including an amazing 42 ppg during the 1988 Olympics. The only reason he did not play in the NBA because NBA players were not allowed to play for their national teams until the 1992 season.
Lenny Cooke has to be in the top 5 I mean come on, This guy used to dominate the stars of today's game. I can't wait to see the movie. A lot of kids from NYC have nba potential and never made it. Davontay Grace who was ranked number 1 coming into high school class of 2011 and committed to St.johns at one point had a pro ball future. He started for his varsity squad and held his own against lance Stephenson as a Freshman in HS.The rankings got to him and he became lazy and never even suited up in college. Not juco,not D1,D2 or D3 and I seen this guy put up 35 on numerous occasions on some of class of 2011 top players. He had one and done talent,but now he is just heavy and fat kind of like Cooke. We have plenty stories up here in New York. Alimoe also comes to mind he was a 6'8 guard and even Kenny Smith and Shaq said he belonged in the league. He had the opportunity to go to Fresno State with Rafer Alston but turned it down to just stay in the city not doing much. Skip went to the League and he didn't
If Lenny Cooke was really that nice he would've been drafted.
Seriously, someone make an argument against this.
Ah good old draft.net. Negs without peep. How about you say something instead hiding your feelings and opinions behind a point system?
I'm a firm believer that the cream rises to the top, if not to the top then it just rises. Lenny had his shot. He had multiple chances. He could've been drafted out of HS. It's not like he didn't have a name or hype. His talent was known, he still wasn't drafted. He had a tryout with an NBA team. Cut. Invited to NBA summer league. Cut. He tried to make it through the D-League. Cut.
What more evidence do you need?
Uh-oh, the young master is throwing his toys out of his crib. Wait you still have almost 6,000 points and you're losing it over some intangible points? Perhaps you should go to the esteemed section of the forum where you can +1 yourself all day and pet your fragmented ego whenever you please, sire.
Perhaps you should post something that has substance.
I'm not "throwing toys," I'm goading people to post a legit response because I would really like to see one. Yours obviously wasn't one, which could be the case with most your posts, but I don't notice them enough to identify you.
Are you in a rush to solve worldwide poverty so much that you didn't read this entire thread?
Are your comebacks always this baseless? Here's a hint superstar: Scroll down.
I did scroll down and responded to every post directed at me. Do you not understand time stamps or the order of this message board? Do you not see when I made that post?
There is no legit response as to why, if he was so talented that he got cut...from a D-League team nonetheless.
Top 5 players to not have played in the NBA, do NOT get cut from the D-League.
I won't thank you for that forum lesson. You were asking about substance and I already gave my take on the topic maybe not with regards to your point as I actually don't disagree with you. I agree that the cream does rise to the top and the guys that don't make it like Cooke who believe in their own hype, I never stated that you were wrong it's your "art thou worthy" attitude and your fragile ego that bothers me. Not everybody agrees with everything you produce move-on instead of dwelling on it and calling out people, I'm sorry that we're not always going to get down on our knees and feel enlightened because of you, Siggy, forum member at www.nbadraft.net.
What is your deal? Do you believe you're taking a stand or something? I really don't care if people agree with me. I really DGAF about this point system or my "standing" on a message board. If I disagree with something, I will most likely respond. I would just like others to do the same instead of hiding behind a stupid point system. If you disagree with something I post, then say something. Out of all the negs for the posts above, not 1 response. I have a problem with the lack of responses to accompany the negs. I don't have a problem with my posts getting negs if they're also accompanied by a response. If so many people disagree with something I said or don't like what I posted, I'd expect a single response to provide a counterargument.
Ill tell you why Lenny never made it to the League, I know Im very late to this thread but Ill share what happened for a few of the guys on here that might see this..
During the HStoPros era, majority of prospects considered for the leap were often "scoped".. Meaning NBA Executives were doing a ton of due diligence on 17 and 18 year olds. Lenny was for lack of better words had a problem showing respect where it was due and really ended up rubbing a lot of higher ups in the NBA the wrong way..
As an LMU alum I always wonder how Hank Gathers would have done in the NBA. In 1989 season he averaged 32.7ppg 13.7rpg while shooting 60% from the field. At 6'7 235 he was an undersized power forward. I never saw him as much of a small forward but they might have tried him there in the league some.
Side note: In the 1990 season Hank had 48pts and 13rebs against Shaqs LSU team
Never saw Hank Gathers play. I didn't follow much college basketball then.
But, Larry Johnson was an undersized power forward and he was an all-star when healthy.
Anthony Mason was even solid as a 6'7 power forward.
Hank Gathers might have been better in today's stretch 4 small ball era, but I think he would have done fine in the Nineties. LJ was 6'6, Anthony Mason was 6'7, and Dennis Rodman was listed at 6'8. Karl Malone was the prototype beast at power forward in that era, but he would have only had 2 inches on Hank Gathers. Gathers would have done fine.
I would like to look at that 1990 draft to project where Hank Gathers would have gotten drafted, and if he could have been ROY.
If Hank Gathers had lived he could have gotten drafted pretty high in 1990. But, if he had fallen to 11 he could have gone to the Golden State Warriors.
Just think of Run TMC with Hank Gathers.
Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Chris Mullin, and Hank Gathers. WOW!
Sergei Belov might have been a good one too. In 1991 he was named best FIBA player ever. And is most well known for leading the Russian team that beat USA for the Gold Medal in the 1972 Olympics. He scored 20 points in that 51-50 victory.
Also Kresimer Cosic a 6-11 Yugoslavian center, who is considered one of the greatest Europeans of all time and was a two time All-American at Brigham Young in 1972 and 1973, averaging 19.1 PPG and 11.6 RPG in his college career and once pulling down 23 rebounds in an NCAA tournament game. He decided to play his entire career in Europe despite being drafted by two NBA teams.
1. Benji Wilson
2. Hank Gathers
3. Ronnie Fields
4. Earl Manigualt
5. Lenny Cooke
1. Earl Manigault
2. Benji Wilson
3. Demetrius "Hook" Mitchell
4. Pee Wee Kirkland
5. Shea Cotton
Thanks for some info guys! I have to make a documentary about this for english class
The early to mid Nineties were great talent wise but could have been even better
with Benji Wilson, Len Bias, Hank Gathers, Drazen Petrovic, and Reggie Lewis.
James Forest....Gtech 90s...thought he would be a lottery....never played in NBA....undrafted
Walter?????....played with Mullen at St Johns
Just thought of the answer to my ???? above
Walter Berry....I believe he was a Wooten winner and never made it in the league
Drazen petrovic played in the NBA it wasn't long but he did play
No love for Oscar Schmidt? Brazilian pro who has the most points scored in the history of pro basketball? I know he played against scrubs, but he was dominant even in the olympics.
a top 5 ever is tough.so many guys never got a even got a shot,and dead guys definitely shouldnt count lol.but i'll give 5
jamel thomas.this guy led the big east in scoring and somehow didnt get drafted
Name someone else who had as many problems that last year of HS as Lenny Cooke. Everything went wrong for him before the draft. That whole last year all red flags that people thought about Lenny all along all became true that last year before the draft.
He was that nice had he just played HS he would have gotten drafted for sure.
Problems or not, the NBA recognizes and rewards talent. If he was good enough to be one of the top 5 players to never play in the NBA (ROFL), at least one team would've had the patience to develop him. What about when he tried out for the Sonics? Was he having problems then too? How about when he was on the Celtics summer league team? How about when he was cut from the D-League? How about any time after that before his injuries? Problems still? I know what his problem was. He wasn't that skilled, he was a tweener and he was seriously lacking in b/t the ears both on and off the floor. One of the complaints that pro coaches had with him was that he could hardly pick up anything schematically. Kid was super dumb.
This guy was not one of the best ever to not play in the NBA. I'm supposed to believe that a kid who was ranked 4th in his HS class (who btw was old for his class) is top 5 ever to not play in the NBA? I'm supposed to believe that a kid could cement his legacy in the pantheon of basketball before his senior yr in HS? Please. There are hundreds of players who accomplished more above HS ball, street ball or semi-pro basketball who are way more deserving of praise than this NY hype job.
The NBA doesn't always reward talent there are countless numbers of guys who are supposed to be in the NBA that never get their fair shot, when he start trying out for those teams his stock was no longer high, his name wasn't hot so yea they passed on him. No one said he was going to be an NBA great or anything because as you said and millions of others have said he was toooo much of a tweener and didn't have enough skill so he would have been exposed sooner or later but for him to be rated over the the MVP(Lebron James) and MVP runner up(Carmelo Anthony) says alot about the talent he had and he deserved to be in the L.
Ok, so he doesn't belong in this thread, right?
When a player is trying out for a team his stock doesn't matter. His stock is supposed to make him attractive or not. He gained teams' interest already. He tried out for teams, presented what he had to offer and they said "no", multiple times.
Him and guys like Ronnie Fields being included in these discussions is a joke.
I blame Slam Mag.
Lenny Cooke belongs in this thread, he was rated over Lebron James who may go down as the best player in NBA history, no way am I saying he would have been as good as Bron in the NBA, but im saying he proved himself to at least get a NBA contract and see if he could have made his way from there. Ronnie Fields belongs in here as well, had injuries not messed him up he'd be in the NBA! Siggy man you trippin.
How else can I say this? He had his chance to make an NBA team. He didn't make it. The top 5 players to never have played in the NBA cannot be players who had their chance to make an NBA team and didn't make a team. He doesn't belong in this discussion. Same with Ronnie Fields. He declared for the draft and got undrafted. Talk about the accident all you want, he recovered his athleticism and was putting on dunking exhibitions for the Globetrotters and in the CBA. He wasn't good enough to make an NBA team either because he was a 6'2 SG who couldn't shoot, didn't have a floor game and had few other ball skills. A top 5 player non-NBA player doesn't get passed around playing on 14 teams in 10 years from semi-pro leagues to the Philippine League. True talents stick and make their mark...somewhere.
Im not trippin. I'm being real.
i agree as far as fields goes.he was too small and wasnt a pg,but you dont know what you are talking about with lenny.he wasnt a tweener at all.he played very well in the summer pro league with boston in the games he played.what killed him was not being able to play in the mickey d game,which at the time was the measuring stick for h.s guys.and their are a ton extremely talented guys to never get a shot.alotta times the nba is more about timing than it is skills.the nba had this obsession with tall p.g's all throughout the 2000's.do you understand how many lil guys never got a shot because of that?
Really? What killed Lenny was missing the opportunity to play in a meaningless exhibition game where no legit scouting can be done? That is NOT a measuring stick. All that game is is recognition. Lenny was recognized. Even if he hardly played his "senior" yr, he was still ranked #4 in his class. They knew who he was, they knew his hype. He got invites to try out and he failed. This is the not the same story of players who were not given a shot and/or were overlooked
He had a chance to impress teams right in front of their faces and they didn't like what they saw enough to take him in.
And when he played on Boston's summer league team he didn't even get in all the games. He was DNP in a number of the games because he couldn't pick up on anything. He basically had 1 good game.
And yes he was a tweener. A lot of Lenny's points actually came off of garbage plays, stick backs, transition and power plays in the paint. He was a big, powerful kid who's perimeter skill level was overrated, especially vs higher level of competition. Then there was the defensive side of the ball where Lenny's cluelessness and laziness was put on full display. For whatever reason, his game stagnated after his junior yr in HS. Some point to him getting destroyed by LeBron as the turning point.
dude,every last prep to pros player has pretty much used the mcdonalds game as a launch pad.some guys like bender werent even considering entering the draft until they had big mcdonalds games.history speaks for itself.these are facts dude,not opinion.lenny missed his whole sr year.you think scouts are gonna draft somebody based on a jr season lol.what invites did he get that he failed at?what boston coach told you he couldnt pick up plays?did it dawn on you that maybe he didnt get major playing time in bostons summer league because boston was actually playing the guys they drafted.kendrick brown was a lotto pick,and brandon hunter was their 2nd rnd pick and both guys ended up making the all tournament team
i have to question how many times you have seen lenny actually play.i really think its just that 1 clip from the boston summer league,because their is just no way you couldve seen him and say he had overrated perimeter skills.that is just comical.what higher level of competition have you seen him play against?ive seen him dominate pro's at rucker park and pro city,carmelo anthony at abcd,every pro league he has played in - boston,he's been a 20+ guy.only guy he didnt dominate was lebron.so please explain where all this so called knowledge on lenny is coming from lol you guys kill me with this lazy nonsense.you dont go from unranked to top 5 being lazy.things just dont happen like that
Who cares about any player's performance at the Mickey D's game? It's an exhibition all-star game with no defense. It's not real competition.
Despite not playing his "senior" yr, he was still rated as the #4 prospect in his class. Yes, scouts still have their notes for when Lenny was at the top of his class as a junior which is why he was still able to have a top rating despite not playing.
No coach had to tell me directly that Lenny couldn't pick up plays . Its well known that Lenny was really dumb and couldn't pick up the nuances of organized, structured basketball.
Turns out, Cooke needed coaching, not running mates. The Sonics and Riverdragons each cut Cooke because, for all his raw talent, they didn't want to invest the time to teach a tweener the five-on-five fundamentals he never had to learn before....
Celtics coach Jim O'Brien is old school. He pushes systems, not duels. And he doesn't like explaining and reexplaining his plays, as his staff has had to do with Cooke in practice. So Cooke remains riveted to the bench for most of the week-long league.
If Lenny was as good as people say, he would've forced their hand into playing him. He didn't.
Yes, he did have overrated perimeter skills. He had good ball skills for a tweener or a PF, but as a pro level wing, they were middling at best, especially his jumper. In HS he was expert at dribbling around and taking tough contested jump shots despite his strength and size advantage. He played a terrible brand of basketball. He can show all that flashy sht at the EBL and try to dominate the ball taking crazy, stupid shots, but that doesn't play vs pros and obviously his game didn't translate. He had the size, he had the strength, and if his skills were legit, he would've been picked up. He wasn't...somewhere, anywhere. He wasn't blackballed. He didn't turn down offers. He didn't have more lucrative offers elsewhere. Lenny got cut by a freaking D-League team! What's your excuse for that? What "great" talent gets cut from the D-League?
the people that matter care about a meaningless game lol.thats who cares lol.the lasting impression of lenny was the lebron game his jr year.the article is in reference to why o'brien didnt play cooke in the summer league game against the cavs though lol.and nobody said he wasnt a finished product who didnt need to learn the game or need coaching.he absolutely did
so please tell me where have you seen him play lol?he ran around shooting contested jumpers in h.s lol.this is comedy.just admit you havent seen play past that youtube highlight.dude.said lenny was a pf lol.you guys kill me trying to analyze guys you have never even seen play.and its very obvious you havent seen him play but are just going off what you can find on the web
bottom line is this.the nba isnt the measuring stick for talent,nor is it the end all debate on talent.the nba is filled with guys who come across like you and think they know everything.bottom line is this.their were not 60 players better than lenny cooke in 2002.period.gm's get it wrong all the time,thats why they constantly get fired.alot of the same things said about lenny,were said of lance stephenson and now look at lance.and lenny was a better player.the window to make the nba is the window to make the nba is tiny,and most guys only get 1 shot.lenny blew his,and it was nothing to do with talent
The people who matter most care about a glorified pick up game? Doubt it. Might as well follow the best prospects to 24 Hour Fitness and see how they perform there too. Its a garbage game just like any other no defense, all-star game.
Yes he played the typical NY playground style trying to shake guys on the perimeter for tough, fancy jumpers and playing in transition. Outside of that he was a man amongst boys, getting by on sheer size and talent. I said he was a tweener, which he was. Even the NBA coaches who tried him out labeled him a tweener because his perimeter skills were middling for a wing, his perimeter instincts were understandably poor, but still had the size and strength to score on the inside via garbage buckets.
The NBA IS measuring stick for talent. If you are good enough, they will find you or at least invite you. Its a measuring stick for talented players who can play the NBA game. Lenny Cooke couldn't play the NBA game. Even the next level down didn't want anything to do with him. He wasn't just demoted to overseas ball. He had to settle for b-ball in Asia. Bottom line is that he had his chance and he got cut. He didn't just have one chance. He had multiple chances and blew ALL of them because he wasn't good enough or intriguing enough. If he wasn't good enough to play right away, fine. That wasn't expected, but the sheer talent and intrigue would have been enough for him to stick on a roster. It would have been enough for him to stick on A DLEAGUE TEAM. That wasn't the case.
you doubt it because you dont know what you are talking about lol.so forget your opinion and look at facts.what kid went from prep to pros without playing their sr year of h.s and not playing in the biggest all star game of the year lol.i'll wait...
like i said,leave your bad opinion elsewhere
as i said earlier,its clear you have never seen him play.this is carmelo anthony on cooke
"He was coming from being the No. 1 player in the country, and we all looked at Lenny like that,” said Anthony, “It was his size, how strong he was, how he could pass the ball and play the point, kind of like Magic, I guess. He was really explosive.”
so i guess you know more than carmelo lol.dude just stop.you have not seen lenny play enough to make informed opinions about his game
as i said earlier,the nba is not a measuring stick for talent.tell that to guys like pee wee kirkland,earl manigualt,billy harris,and a host of others who never suited up in the league,nor even cared to.making,and sticking in the nba takes alot more than my man.lenny had alll the talent in the world,he just had absolutely nothing else to go with it
No, I doubt it because All-Star game are pick up games. You can't get any useful information out of them.
His rating and standing among scouts was more important than how he would've played in a pick up game.
Carmelo was his boy. Lenny was the king of HS hoops at one point. They looked up to him, what do you expect Carmelo to say? That his game stagnated after his junior yr? The coaches who tried him out know more about his game and how it translated to the NBA. They all resoundingly said no thanks.
The difference with those guys that you named was that they didn't even try to get to the NBA. They didn't try out and got cut. They had other means of income. Lenny was trying to make a professional career out basketball at the highest level and he didn't make it.
again with your opinion lol.deal in facts and answer the question.what kid didnt play his sr year of h.s and didnt play in the mickey d game and was drafted?as i said,i'll wait
now its carmelo was his boy lol.please tell me how many times you have seen cooke play
“You can’t put him in the group of New York guys that were overhyped,” Vaccaro said. “What it came down to was a complete mistrust in who and what he was. Teams were afraid.”
“Lenny was on the pedestal because he was one of those elite guys,” Vaccaro said. “He was damn good. I just think he blew it all.”
i guess vaccarro is saying this because lenny is his boy also lol.just stop man
the difference with those guys is they played in a time where they didnt need the nba.if they played in 2002,they wouldve tried to get to the league like lenny
Man do you know the window of opportunity for the NBA isn't long at all? Once you lose your buzz, it's pretty much a wrap for you.
Good players impress and re-generate buzz with their play. Players who aren't so good get cut from the D-League.
just to further hit home the fact you have obviously never seen cooke play
as i said several times,i am positive you have never seen him play outside of youtube clips.lenny had bad perimeter skills and was a pf lol.just stop guy.you dont like him cause he is a ghetto kid from nyc who wasted his oppurtunity thats fine.just stop acting as if you know his situation and saw him play to judge his talent.people with alot more talent than you,such as carmelo anthony vouches for for how talented he was lol.hang it up