STC, otherwise known as the Sebastian Telfair Complex stung two talented players on Thursday night's NBA Draft in Tennesse's junior swing Scotty Hopson and Kansas' frosh combo-guard Josh Selby. Two of which who were the most sought after recruits before entering the college game.
Telfair is better remembered for the same, a dominate high school career where as a sophomore the 6'1" point with a killer cross over game compared to Tim Hardaway and a scorers will like that of Allen Iverson, averaged 27.4 points per game with Lincoln High School in New York.
That season Telfair was named as one of the 15 best high school players in the country by USATODAY.com, where his name slung next to the likes of current pros LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, Chris Bosh, Kendrick Perkins, and J.J Redick.
Before the NCAA put a stop to high school athletes jumping pro in 2007, Telfair—who once posed next to James in a 2003 issue of SLAM, where he was heralded as the next IT alongside Bron to take the reigns of the NBA—decided it best that he jump pro in suit of LeBron in 2004, to start his early rise to superstardom.
Telfair ended up rescinding his scholarship offer from Louisville, where naturally in a slug fest conference like the Big East, he would of chiseled his NBA tools: his body, his jump shot, maturity and mental stability.
Unlike LeBron, Telfair was not gifted with a pro-ready physique, 6'8" height, and a franchise willing to do everything in its power to make him great. Luckily for him the Portland Trailblazers had seen enough in the rocket quick point guard to draft him 13th overall in 2004.
It was apparent early on that Telfair was going to be a work in progress. In two seasons with the Blazers he lost local fan support by battling a set of precarious injuries, acting aloof in the media, and missing practice. Averaging just 8.2 points, 3.0 assist, and shooting an inconsistent 39.3 percent from the floor, Telfair was traded to Boston where he clearly lost his way.
In October of 2006 he was linked to a shooting of rap star Fabolous before being acquitted, and in April of 2007, was pulled over by police for driving 77 MPH in a 45 zone on a New York river road, where a handgun was then found beneath the driver's seat. The following day Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck removed Telfair's name plate from his locker, demanding the 20-year-old never come back.
Telfair was then packaged in the trade involving the acquisition of Kevin Garnett from Minnesota in June of 2007. This began a trend for the troubled has-been, bouncing from the Wolves, Clippers, Cavs, and then back to the Wolves in a four year span. A lifetime bench scrub, Telfair has averaged 7.8 points and 3.8 assist in his seven years in the league.
Every year there are players who enter early causing fans and critics to cringe. It is simply hard enough seeing the likes of four-year starters go undrafted. Players like Jacob Pullen from KSU and David Lighty (a fifth-year senior) from Ohio State, who both left college fans with incredible memories and were both major faces at large scale programs.
But for players like Hopson and Selby there is no excuse. It is either the lure of big money, popularity, a set of bad advice, or just plain stubbornness that thrust them into making this life changing mistake.
Hopson—a streaky slasher and long range gunner—came off a tumultuous season in Tennessee. One that saw Bruce Pearl suspended for most of the year and the long standing dominance of Vols basketball crumbled away. Perhaps it was that stress alone that pushed the paradoxical and inconsistent Hopson toward the flashy pro game.
This season Hopson began to assert himself offensively averaging 17.0 points while shooting a career best 37.6 percent from the three point line. Had he stayed, improved defensively, his rebounding, shot selection and free throw shooting, Hopson could have been a lock first-round selection in 2012. Instead he chose otherwise, and will now be attempting to make a pro roster, play overseas, or in the NBDL.
But who can forgive Josh Selby? Who can forget the No. 1 recruit by ESPNU who postponed his signing till the very last moment? The electric athlete eventually chose Bill Self's Jayhawks, making fans in Lawrence lick their chops with satisfaction.
No doubt a gifted scorer who gets above the rim and knocks down the open three, the Baltimore native did not have the kind of start he'd hoped for. Suspended the first nine games of the season for accepting inappropriate gifts, Selby joined an already immensely deep Kansas team in December.
The 6'2" guard made a splash early on, hitting a game winning three his first night in Kansas blue against USC. Despite averaging 15 points per night his first five games, Selby peeked early, battling varied injuries the rest of the season. He never was able establish himself as a consistent force finishing the season with averages of 7.8 points on 39.3 percent shooting.
So why the pros now? Those are not pro numbers, they aren't even starting numbers at most major College programs. Selby must have been attracted to his own name, living on the coat tail of his stardom as a major high school recruit, and got caught up with the lime light and flash of NBA life.
Drafted 49th to the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday—a guard heavy, defensive minded club—Selby will have to beat out a solid group of O.J Mayo, Xavier Henry, Tony Allen, Greivis Vazquez and Sam Young just to make the team. Without a foreseen contract, it is safe to say the once bright shining star of a kid like Selby could succumb to the harsh realities of NBA life, where mostly everyone, if not everyone, is as good or better than you are.
Maybe because of mistakes like Selby, college basketball should institute a two-year rule. Then we college basketball fans get our favorite players for at least an extra year, pro scouts get longer to assess talent, and the kids who actually play the game get to grow up a bit before making these life changing decisions.
Unfortunately for a 20-year-old like Hopson, he seemed to never grow out of such things, and will now be forced to face the real world where there is always coaching, finishing his degree, or grad school.