In the blink of an eye, it could all be taken away from you.
Such a phrase is known but not processed by the dozens of collegiate athletes who enter professional sports each year. These young players display extraordinary confidence but lack an understanding of what a league like the NBA is truly about.
The big men on campus are suddenly the flies on the wall of an NBA franchise. As Adam Morrison can tell you, that adjustment is not one that everyone can handle.
2006 was a year to remember for Morrison.
He was the co-winner of the National Player of the Year award after leading Gonzaga to a 29-4 record. He led the nation with an average of 28.1 points per game and garnered the label of "the next big thing."
Later that year, Morrison went on to become the third-overall selection in the 2006 NBA draft. He was handpicked by Michael Jordan and went before the likes of future stars Brandon Roy and Rudy Gay.
Morrison was widely considered to be "the answer" for the Charlotte Bobcats.
Oh, how times have changed.
Morrison hasn't played in an NBA game since 2010.
After averaging 11.8 points per game as a rookie, the former Zag failed to top 4.5 per contest in any of the following three seasons. In fact, Morrison couldn't even win playing time for Besiktas Milangaz overseas.
Today, Morrison is attempting to make his way back into the NBA. After standing out with his brilliant scoring during the 2012 Summer League, the Portland Trail Blazers signed him to a one-year deal for the league minimum.
The question is, will Morrison make the team? If not, Morrison told Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com that he'll retire:
I'm going to finish school and start coaching [If he didn't make the Trail Blazers roster]...I did the Europe thing and it just wasn't for me. Not saying the (Europe) culture or anything like that, (or) the people, it just wasn't for me. So, yeah, if it doesn't work out, I'm willing to look myself in the mirror and say, 'I gave it a honest shot' and turn the page. Do something else.
It's now or never for Morrison, as failure will result in the end of a dream.
While we could discuss Morrison's future and acknowledge what he has to offer young players, there is something more important to learn.
For young athletes attempting to go pro, it is imperative that they understand how common Morrison's career experiences are.
NBA prospects are often the best player at whichever college or university they attend. Some will achieve national notoriety, while others will maintain a sense of local stardom that drives their decision-making.
A need for the flash and a disbelief in the process of earning one's spot among the stars have put many careers in peril. Most believe that they have already proved themselves, assuming that they've already earned the respect of their NBA peers.
As the next generation of NBA players enter the league, some will suffer from the same mentality that has killed careers for generations.
The same mentality which built up and then broke down Morrison.
After ESPN aired its latest 30 for 30 film, Broke, many began to speak of the financial temptations that professional athletics place upon a young man. What may be even more dangerous than running out of money, however, is the prospect of losing one's confidence.
When a player goes from one of the best players in the nation to the least respected asset on an NBA roster, it's a mountain that few have proved capable of overcoming.
Lost talents such as Terrence Williams and Jonny Flynn are recent examples of such an unfortunate truth.
For players such as Terrence Ross, Austin Rivers and Maurice Harkless, this is something they must overcome. All were the stars of their respective college teams and each will need to earn their slot in the starting lineup.
Harkless, for instance, went to a school, St. John's, with minimal team success. His overwhelming athletic ability and all-conference-caliber production, however, made him a star throughout New York City.
He ended up being selected with the 15th pick by the Philadelphia 76ers and was then traded to the Orlando Magic as a part of the infamous Dwight Howard trade. With such commotion surrounding his early career, Harkless seems to be a prime candidate to suffer from the same disappointment Morrison did.
And the players listed are far from alone.
Rookies must learn one important truth before developing their egos. Without necessary work and patience, your talents could easily lead to a career of calamity. For every Tim Duncan there is a Michael Olowokandi waiting right around the corner.
So who will be the next hyped-up college star that falls short of his true calling?
Who will be the next Adam Morrison?
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