“Bust” is such a strong word.
Nobody likes seeing a player get shellacked with that dirty label—especially those shiny young college stars who get to the big stage only to hit the wall.
It’s a tough and contentious business dropping the “B word” on players, probably because most us who possess souls like to believe that deep down in all of us exists one last Rocky Balboa log-lifting comeback montage.
But sometimes we need to accept that Adrian’s in heaven now and no amount of jogging and lumber hauling is going to get us back on top.
The following list is a collection of the once-bright stars who we’re now ready to admit have seen their finest hour come and go.
Some shot for the moon and missed, and others sputtered out before even leaving the tarmac, but regardless they all end up sharing the same busted label.
Zero point zero—even if it’s only for a quarter, passer ratings like this don’t get you love from the press.
Another young quarterback plagued with injury and accuracy problems early in his career, we’re calling bust on Jake Locker for the time being until he can show us something special—something that validates his selection as the second quarterback taken in 2011 draft.
BYU’s incendiary scorer Jimmer Fredette has fizzled mightily in the NBA.
Fredette has been put in the position of facilitator with the Sacramento Kings, who drafted the shooting guard 10th overall in the 2011 draft.
An aggressive player much more comfortable with creating his own shot than playing support to other scorers, Fredette’s numbers have been anything but staggering in the NBA as a pass-first player.
The solution? Either the Jimmer needs to take matters into his own hands and prove he can be a top producer for the Kings, or he needs a new home with a team who will center around feeding the former BYU beast. Until that happens, he appears doomed to mediocrity.
LeGarrette Blount (left)
An un-drafted free agent out of the University of Oregon, Blount was picked up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2010 and had a promising rookie year running the ball in the NFL, running for over 1,000 yards on 201 attempts and putting up six touchdowns.
In the last two seasons, however, Blount has lacked the “punch” (sorry) he was known for in college, and his production has dropped precipitously, with the big power back most recently managing a paltry 151 yards and two touchdowns over the 2012-13 season.
Averaging 8.1 points and 4.6 rebounds a game in his second season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, power forward Derrick Williams is making a statement—a quiet one that sounds like the word “busted” when the wind blows a certain way.
So let’s be honest with ourselves—he might only be 21 years old, but as a second overall pick of the 2011 draft class, receiving considerable minutes, Williams' numbers are as lean and disappointing as turkey bacon.
Not exactly an analogy you want associated with your power forward.
It may be a little early to call—and I’m sure the Jaguars faithful and Mizzou Blaine Believers will grab their torches and pitchforks and smoke me out of my witch’s tower for it—but saying Blaine Gabbert hasn't underachieved for the Jaguars as the third quarterback selected in the 2011 NFL draft wouldn't be true.
If the Jaguar’s young gun can stay healthy he might just “live” to prove his doubters wrong, but at the time of his elbow injury in Week 11 of this past season Gabbert had thrown nine touchdowns and 6 interceptions, and was on course to improve only marginally on his ugly rookie season performance.
As I said—grab the pitchforks and come after me if you wish, but I think you might be better served by heading to wherever former Jaguars GM Gene Smith is holed up to demand some answers.
Injuries upon injuries have plagued the professional career of Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best.
It hurts to put the man on this list, especially considering the dual concussions that left Best sidelined for the entirety of the 2012-13 season.
But even before his head injuries, the running back out of the University of California wasn’t making waves in his first year and half in the NFL.
We wish Jahvid all the best (sorry) in his situation, and hope somehow he’ll find his way out of this mess and prove doubters wrong.
It hurts to say, but it must be said—Freddy Adu is a bust.
With all of the international media hype that once surrounded Adu—hype that began at the ripe young age of 10—the former American soccer phenom who was believed to be the US’s ticket to international soccer dominance is now 23 and floundering on the Philadelphia Union’s bench in the MLS.
“Underwhelming” is the word I would choose to describe Cardinals running back Beanie Wells career so far in the NFL.
While Wells was sidelined for 7 games this past season by a toe injury, the 8 games he did play weren’t exactly impressive as he averaged 2.7 yards a carry over 88 carries.
Between his seeming inability to stay healthy and spotty performance through his four years in the league, the Cardinals might be better served letting Wells follow through on his recently expressed wish to find another home in the NFL.
Granted, Brandon Weeden plays for the Browns—the team constantly stuck in the NFL cellar where superstar rookie quarterbacks are seemingly forever doomed to bust and fade into second and third string obscurity.
A big, hot-headed “lad,” English striker Andy Carroll was earmarked for success from an early age, but has failed to live up to the hype and the whopping £35 million contract he signed with Liverpool.
Carroll’s lack of consistency in finding the back of the net have led Liverpool to shell the 6’4" striker out on loan to fellow Premiere League side West Ham United, where he’s continued to struggle in a mire of injuries, poor performance and off-the-field issues of his own making.
And we might feel bad for dropping the bust label on Carroll, you know, if it weren’t for his Chris Brown-like tendencies.
Expectations were high when the Kansas City Royals took left fielder Alex Gordon second overall in the 2006 MLB draft.
So far the only strong signs of life in Gordon’s six year career was a breakout 2011 season—one that jazzed the Royals franchise up enough to throw a four-year $37.5 million deal his way.
But consistent greatness hasn’t been established in Gordon’s game, and until it is, his 2011 spike will continue to keep the franchise and its fans hanging on and hoping for more.
A steady decline has been the story of Sacramento Kings lengthy shooting guard Tyreke Evans.
From averaging a strong 20.1 points game and 5.8 assists per game in his rookie year, Evans has undergone an almost across-the-board decline in his game, and is currently averaging a lukewarm 15.1 points in the 2012-13 season.
It may seem unfair to call it lights-out on him now, but the high expectations Kings fans and the player himself had for the 4th overall pick of 2009 draft future have yet to be satisfied.
The University of Nebraska pitcher who was selected 41st overall in the 2006 draft has come up quite short in becoming the quality closer the Yankees had hoped for in picking him up.
Let’s just say that "Jobapalooza" Time is probably over for Joba the Bust.
The first cries of “bust” began some time ago, but it would appear Mark Sanchez has finally hit the last branch on his tumble down the ugly bust tree when the Jets’ franchise quarterback was benched for the team’s second-to-last game of the season against the San Diego Chargers.
The overall picture is clear, though—in his four years in the league Sanchez has thrown 69 interceptions and 68 touchdowns, as well as lost 26 fumbles—numbers that are unacceptable for a starting quarterback in the National Football League.
I know I’m just adding myself to the slavering tower of doubters you’ve accumulated over the last year or so, Sanchez, but you might be the bustiest belle at the ball, and I have to get one last piece of you while the getting is still... kinda good...ish.