Ten Terrible Early Entries to the NBA Draft
In 1990, there were only two non-seniors drafted in the first round of the NBA draft. This year, as few as four seniors may be first-round picks.
An eagerness to get paid leads many underclassmen into the draft. Some will be successful, others will never live up to what they might have become, and there are some who won't play in the NBA at all.
I hope this list of the 10 worst decisions to enter the draft early can serve as a lesson to the B.J. Mullens, Austin Dayes, and Taj Gibsons of the world.
10. Spencer Hawes, Washington, 2007 Draft
Hawes was drafted with the 10th overall pick by the Sacramento Kings in 2007. While he has developed into a solid player, averaging 11 PPG and seven RPG this season, his decision to leave the Huskies following his freshman year cost him financially and stunted his growth as a player.
Hawes spent most of the 2007-2008 season stuck on the bench while he could have been an absolute star as a sophomore at Washington.
In the end, it's hard to fault someone who leaves as a lottery pick, and few may interpret this as a mistake as Hawes continues to develop, but one more year in college could have made him a star today.
9. Josh McRoberts, Duke, 2007 Draft
McRoberts showed potential in his sophomore season at Duke. Named as only the second sophomore team captain in school history, McRoberts averaged 13 PPG and eight RPG. He was obviously athletic, but it was clear he needed to improve his jump shot and toughness.
The Portland Trail Blazers took him with the 37th pick, though he played in only eight games, averaging fewer than two points and two rebounds. McRoberts then spent two different stints with the Idaho Stampede in the NBA Developmental League.
Traded in the offseason to the Indiana Pacers, McRoberts has appeared in fewer than half of the Pacers' games this year. He has a total of 86 career points scored in the NBA.
8. Omar Cook, St. John's, 2001 Draft
Taken with the 31st pick by the Magic, promising star Omar Cook played in fewer games in the NBA (22) than he did in his one-year career at St. John's (29).
A point guard sensation, and high school All-American, Cook was second in the NCAA in assists, averaging nearly nine a game.
Besides his brief stints with the Raptors and Blazers, Cook has played in the NBA D-League as well as professional leagues in Spain, France, Belgium, Russia, and the well-known Adriatic League.
7. Joseph Forte, North Carolina, 2001 Draft
A first team All-American in his sophomore season at UNC, Forte was ready to make it big. Unfortunately he scored only 30 career points in the NBA with the Celtics and Sonics after averaging nearly 21 on his way to being named ACC Player of the Year for the Tar Heels.
He was arrested for marijuana possession and assault and was eventually released by Seattle. He currently toils in the Italian league.
6. Kirk Haston, Indiana, 2001 Draft
Playing with the Hornets in both Charlotte and New Orleans, Haston was a disappointment after being selected as the 16th pick of the draft.
Haston led the Big Ten in scoring his junior year but was unable to find his game at the next level. He played in only 27 games, notching 32 career points.
On a positive note, he shot 100 percent in his NBA playoff career, making one field goal in the 2002 playoffs. Bothered by knee injuries, Haston is no longer active in basketball.
5. William Avery, Duke, 1999 Draft
Following Duke's loss to Connecticut in the 1999 NCAA championship game, Avery jumped ship with teammates Corey Maggette and Elton Brand. Avery was chosen by Minnesota as the 14th overall pick of the draft.
Although he played in more games than the previous three names on this list combined (142), Avery comes in at No. 5 because he missed the opportunity to be the man his junior year at Duke.
By staying in school and developing his obvious raw talent, Avery could have been a Baron Davis-type player. Instead, he played three forgettable years with the Timberwolves and has disappeared into the Greek professional ranks.
4. Jay Edwards, Indiana, 1989 Draft
No, that's not Jay Edwards playing the trombone. For those of you too young to remember him, Jay Edwards was a high-scoring gunner for Indiana for two years in the late '80s.
In 1989, Edwards averaged 20 PPG while leading Indiana to the Big Ten title. Unfortunately, his size and scrawny body didn't translate well into the NBA.
After being drafted 33rd by the Clippers, Edwards went on to play in only four games, scoring a total of seven points.
3. Yinka Dare, George Washington, 1994 Draft
The seven-foot Nigerian was a sensation for Mike Jarvis at GW, averaging a double-double during his two-year collegiate career.
After being selected with the 14th pick by the New Jersey Nets, Dare hung around the NBA for four seasons.
He holds the dubious distinction of playing the most minutes without an assist. For his career he totaled 96 turnovers and only four assists.
Sadly, Dare died in 2004 of an apparent heart attack.
2. Marcus Taylor, Michigan State, 2002 Draft
Marcus Taylor was the successor to Mateen Cleaves at Michigan State and helped to lead the Spartans to the Final Four in 2001. Following his sophomore season, he declared for the NBA draft.
Taylor was drafted by the Timberwolves with the 52nd pick but never played in the NBA. Taylor went on play professionally in the CBA, WBA, and NBDL. He also played overseas in France, Greece, and Germany.
1. Anderson Hunt, UNLV, 1991 Draft
A fantastic shooter, but undersized, Hunt could have been a star at UNLV in 1992. Instead he decided to enter the NBA draft with teammates Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, and Greg Anthony.
Hunt ended up going undrafted and played briefly in the CBA, as well as professionally in Turkey, Poland, and France. He is arguably the poster child for terrible early entry decisions.