“What Happened to Him?”: Top 10 Forgotten Athletes of the 2000's
Ever wonder what happened to those athletes that were on Sportscenter's Top 10 everyday. The athletes that made certain games worth watching. The athletes that, for a shot period of time, were a household name. Well, this article reminds us of those great, short-lived, unappreciated, or forgotten athletes that make us all say "Ohhhhh, yyyea....What ever happened to him?"
10. Daryll Clark (Penn St. QB)
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Darryl Clark, the offensive spark from Penn St. proved to be a significant addition to Joe Paterno's spread offense. As his two years as a starter, Clark led the Lions to a 22-4 record, over a time in which he won Big Ten player of the week, four times. Clark leads Penn St. all time in: touchdown passes, career touchdowns accountable for, and season passing yards. And who could forget the notorious Penn St. upset to the Iowa Hawkeyes led by Shawn Greene in the 2008 season? Clark never made it to the NFL, going undrafted after his senior season.
9. Sherron Collins (Kansas PG)
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At only 5'11'', Sherron Collins had unforgiving strength and an uncanny ability to get to the rim. Collins had a great start to his collegiate career, winning the 2008 Big 12 Sixth man award, en route to a NCAA championship. In his Junior season, Collins broke out leading the Jayhawks in points, assists, minutes, and free-throw percentage. He also set a KU record, nailing 35 free throws in a row. With an equally tremendous senior season, Collins was named a second team All-American. Collins joined an exclusive club of notable college stars that end up on the Charlotte Bobcats along with, Sean May, Adam Morrison, Emeka Okafor, and DJ Augustine. But Collins was not big enough to play in the NBA, therefore he did not last. After struggling to maintain a spot with the Bobcats, Sherron took his play to Lithuania, where he was tossed around a couple of teams there, before he ended up in Turkey, playing for Hacettepe Universitesi. Although he continues to play professionally, its not where we thought he might end after watching him run the Big 12 his last two collegiate seasons.
8. Kazuo Matsui (Mets 2B)
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Good ol' Kaz Matsui. Kaz was the first Japanese infielder to sign with an MLB team, when he signed with the Mets in 2003. He made people say "Wait, i thought Matsui was a Yankee! And he plays second now?" Yes he confused a lot of baseball fans and played a mediocre second base for the Mets for three years, before being tossed around from the Rockies to the Astros, eventually ending back up in Japan, where he now plays for the Tohaku Rakuten Golden Eagles. Despite not having outstanding numbers, Kaz was recognizable for being the impostor Godzilla of New York, and of course for being the only major league player ever to homer in his first plate appearance of the year, three years in a row, over his first three seasons.
7. Adam Jones (Bengals CB)
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Adam Jones, commonly referred to as "pac-man", is recognized on the field for his tenacious defensive and return ability. Now for his off field recognition, Pac-man was involved in drug possession, assault charges, and most notable, an incident in Vegas that consisted of: A stripper, a gun, Nelly the rap star, and a protective group of followers. The scandal eventually resulted in his suspension of the entire 2007 season. After returning to the Cowboys, Jones suffered a serious neck injury that took his career on a turn for the worst. After floating around on a few Canadian teams Jones finally ended up back in the NFL in 2011, when he signed with the Bengals were he currently plays.
6. Garret Anderson (Angels OF)
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After leading the Angels to the World Series in 2002 Garret Anderson, unfortunately, did not go down as a great, mainly due to the overshadowing by the arrival of Vlad in 2004. Afrer Vlad came in and won the MVP, Garret soon became "the other guy" Angels fans will always remember Garret because he is there all time leader in games, ABs, hits, and RBIs, and of course, for the world series title. He was a 3-time all star, a notable career to say the least, but not hall of fame worthy. He drifted around the league from the Braves to the Dodgers before his retirement. Anderson is a representative of all the athletes that gave everything, and came out with achievements to show for the work, but never received the appreciation they deserved.
5. Gerry McNamara (Syracuse G)
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Playing the supporting role to Carmelo Anthony as a freshman on the 2003 Syracuse team that went on to win the school's first ever National Championship, "G-Mac" had an automatic three-pointer. After Melo left for the NBA, McNamara and Hakim Warrick led the Orange to a 23-8 record. McNamara had an unforgettable performance in the first round of the 2004 tournament where he scored 43 points including a school record, nine three pointers...NINE THREES. Unfortunatley, Syracuse fell short in the Sweet 16 to Alabama.
And then the magical 05-06 season. When Syracuse tanked to a sub .500 Big East record, G-Mac was voted "Most-Overrated Player" by Sports Illustrated and even Syracuse's own "Post-Standard". But then the wonders of the always-exciting Big East tourney happened. In the first round, McNamara hit a one-handed game winner to clinch a 75-74 win over Cincinatti, unleashing Coach Jim Boeheim in a post-game press confrence where he repeatedly yelled "OVERRATED?!" hence the t-shirt. McNamara continued his clutch play by hitting game winners to upset UConn, Georgetown, and Pitt. in his final game at the Carrier Dome, Gerry attracted 60 busloads of followers from his hometown, Scranton, PA, when the Dome set an attendance record of 33,633.
McNamara's skills did not carry over into the NBA. He went undrafted in 2006, and tried to work his away around a couple of European teams, he played in the NBA D-League for a little while and then returned to Syracuse as a graduate assistant.
4. Mike Hart (Colts HB)
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One of Michigan's most valued running backs of all time, Mike Hart set numerous records for the Wolverines, including rushing yards where he broke the 5k mark. Hart was also noted for his ability to hold on to the ball, loosing just three fumbles throughout his collegiate career, two of which came in his last game. He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL draft, by the Colts where he played a backup role to Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes, for three years until he was released. He is currently a coaching assistant for offensive quality control at Eastern Michigan University, a career with so much potential that never blossomed.
3. Steve Francis (Rockets G)
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Steve Francis provided an offensive spark to the University of Maryland where he helped them finish #5 in the AP polls for the 1998 season. He was well known on the Houston Rockets for his flashy dribbling, and his ankle-breaking crossover move. He was dealt to the Magic in a multi-person deal including Tracy McGrady. Francis did prosper with the Magic in their version of a "run n' gun" offense that allowed Steve to have 21.3 PPG 7 APG and 5.8 RPG. But constant injuries led to his downfall when he was sent to the Knicks in 2006, his career went downhill being that now he plays in China for the Beijing Ducks.
2. Matt Leinart (Texans QB)
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Matt Leinart is amongst the group of highly touted USC QBs along with Carson Palmer and Mark Sanchez. He had a successful collegiate career wining a Heisman Trophy and the National Championship along with Reggie Bush, who in turn got it vacated, but thats a different story. He was drafted by the cardinals with the hopes of becoming a franchise QB. Leinart suffered two season ending surgeries, and when he tried to return to his starting role in 2008 he was out-played by veteran, Kurt Warner, who led the Cards to a Superbowl. After Warner's retirement, Leinart was out played by Derek Anderson in the pre-season, Anderson lasted just two horrendous games before being benched for rookie Max Hall to take the starting job. After no starting offers reached Leinart, he accepted the job for the Houston Texans to back up Matt Schaub.
1. JaMarcus Russell (Raiders QB)
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Russell beat out Matt Flynn, and Ryan Perrilloux for the starting job at LSU, his senior season. He led the tigers to a 10-2 record, and a Sugar Bowl win over Notre Dame. His arm was what got him so much hype. Attracted by Al Davis, for his famous run and gun style offense, Russell was controversially drafted No. 1 overall in the 2007 NFL draft, by the Oakland Raiders. Russell struggled for three years in the NFL before the Raiders released him. He is now a free agent, but there has been some speculations that teams are willing to give him a second shot.