In this morning’s Smack we took a little shot at J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams; certainly not the first and definitely not the last coming from an office full of charter members of the Duke-Haters Club and one delusional Blue Devils fan who thinks Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley and Redick are the three greatest college ballplayers of all-time, in that order.
I’m one of those Duke-haters, and while I knew right away that the Hawks were making a mistake taking Shelden fifth overall in the ’06 Draft, I have to admit that I thought Redick would turn out to be a good pro, and I even wanted him on my Sonics, who had the 10th pick that year. (At the time, I was convinced that if Seattle went to a Mike D’Antoni-ish system — Luke Ridnour playing the Steve Nash role, Chris Wilcox playing the Amare role, and Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis sticking threes on the wing with Rashard playing that Boris Diaw hybrid forward spot — they would be a decent team, and Redick would fit into that picture perfectly as another shooter.)
While both Shelden and Redick are still young with room to grow and find their NBA niche, by all accounts it looks like I was wrong on Redick. And he wouldn’t be the first guy I swung and missed on when it comes to projecting an NBA career. From John Wallace (Syracuse) to Mateen Cleaves (Michigan State) to Drew Gooden (Kansas) to Jared Jeffries (Indiana) to Salim Stoudamire (Arizona) to Steve Logan (Cincinnati) to Ike Diogu (Arizona State) to Sebastian Telfair (Lincoln H.S.; Brooklyn), there are plenty of guys who I was certain would be somewhere between good and All-Star caliber pros when they were coming out of school, but for whatever reason it hasn’t worked out for them.
Who did you think was going to be a star but fell short?