If you are wondering why the Blazers still seem unsure on whether to draft Greg Oden, here's one fact I'm sure they'll ponder before stepping to the podium later this month: Greg Oden attended Ohio State, which is a Big Ten school. And Big Ten centers are cursed.

No, I'm not a jaded Michigan alum and I don't hate Portland or feel sorry for Danny Ainge and company. But big men drafted out of the Big Ten Conference have a track record for failure that has reached Gilligan's Island proportions. Let's start off with...

Indiana: Kent Benson's path of destruction began when he hazed freshman Larry Bird to the point where he dropped out of school before the season started. Then the Bucks drafted him 1st overall, and he rewarded them with 9 points and 6 boards per in three depressing seasons. His most memorable moment came when he baited Kareem Abdul-Jabbar into punching his lights out in '78. Uwe Blab (17th) later upheld the Hoosier tradition in 1985. He scored a total of 505 career points. Fans were more interested in his name than anything he did on the court, which wasn't much.

Iowa: Before the Celtics were getting hosed by the lottery, Acie Earl (19th) was giving them false hope back in 1993. Hoping the Big Ten Defensive MVP would give them an anchor in the middle for the next ten years, they ended up with a poor man's Chris Dudley for the next two. And don't get me started on the comedic antics of Brad Lohaus (6 ppg and an appearance in NBA Jam).

Michigan: The Mavericks took Roy Tarpley 7th overall back in '86, and he was on the verge of joining the 20-10 club in his second year. Then he joined the 420 club and was suspended for drug violations. There were rumors of him making a comeback in 2005, but in between bong hits and glass knees, even Kenny Rogers isn't a big enough gambler to bring in this guy. And don't forget Tim McCormick (12th, 8 ppg, 8 seasons).

Minnesota: Joel Przybilla (9th) pretended to have talent for approximately 25 games in 2005, and now the Blazers are stuck paying $5 million a year for 4 ppg. Mychal Thompson (1st overall) was a solid 17 points and 9 boards guy for seven seasons with the Blazers. And you may remember him as being Vlade Divac's tag team partner in Lakers vs Celtics on your Sega Genesis. But the fact that Portland took Mychal over Larry Bird had to sting a little. Remember Randy Breuer? (18th, 7 ppg) Kevin McHale was awesome, so I won't count him.

Ohio State: Herb Williams (14th, 11 ppg) was a respectable player for 11 seasons. But he was in the league for 18. The Buckeyes also produced...um...Lawrence Funderburke?

Penn State: Before John Amaechi (6 ppg in 5 seasons) became a minor celebrity by being gay, he was an actual basketball player! Calvin Booth ($6 million/year, 3 ppg) is neither gay nor a basketball player.

Wisconsin: Paul Grant. 20th overall. 16 games played. 'Nuff said.

Purdue: Brace yourself for this. In 1980, Golden State traded Robert Parish and Kevin McHale for rookie Joe Barry Carroll (1st). Parish and McHale went on to become cornerstones for the Celtics championship run later that season. JBC ditched his team for a while to go play in Italy. Three years later, the Warriors would be Purdue'd again by a guy named Russell Cross (6th overall, 354 career minutes). Then Purdue strikes yet again. This time in Atlanta, with Keith Edmonson in 1982 (10th, 522 career points). This string of catastrophes may have contributed to All-Star Brad Miller going undrafted in 1998. Unfortunately, ten years later, Brad is slowly devolving from likeable underdog to marshmallowy salary cap-killer.

(Note to Purdue alumi: Statbuster attended Iowa State. Let him have it.)

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6 Comments:
Anonymous Anonymous said...
oh my goodness...iowa state? That's not fair for the incomparable Kelvin Cato went there and had an...NBA career while so far stealing $46 mil from NBA. Marcus Fizer had a great NBA career according to his family. Victor Alexander had some good times with Run T No M C. Even though he was almost a foot shorter Jeff Hornacek had a better career. Sheesh, even Kelvin's per 40 minutes average is lower than Jeff's actual per game average. I take it back, Kelvin sucks

Blogger Statbuster said...
Mr P (who contributes here occassionally) once played against Kelvin Cato and a team of football players in an IA State pickup tournament back in the day. He pretty much won the game single handedly by shooting 3s, which is something he NEVER did in the NBA.

Its easy to forget how unstoppable some guys are if they were even slightly motivated. But in most cases they're perfectly content being average for 10 seasons and still making millions.

Marcus Fizer, on the other hand, is undersized and can't shoot a lick, which isn't a recipe for success in the pros.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I notice you guys failed to mention that Jamaal Tinsley went there...

Blogger Mike said...
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Anonymous Anonymous said...
umm who is Mr. P?

Blogger Statbuster said...
who's Jamaal Tinsley?

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