Eddie Landreth has a column up about Joseph Forte and Brendan Haywood, asking
who the big man really is, and concluding that it's Forte. He rightly
points out that after this season, Haywood is in for a rude awakening. He better
hope he doesn't get drafted by, say, Philadelphia or New York, because the fans
(and the media) would crucify him.
On the other hand, though, is the quandary of expectations. When we see
someone in this country - shoot, in Africa now too - who is near 7 feet tall,
the pressure to play basketball is huge. The fact is though a lot of guys
that size, just like a lot of guys of any size, either aren't that interested,
or just aren't passionate enough about the game to really push their talent to
the limits, and that's fine. In Duke's case, we can think of Taymon
Domzalski, Marty Nessley, George Burgin, and Jay Buckley. All were
promising big men, and all had other interests besides basketball. In
Domzalski's case, it was school and a future medical career. In Nessley's,
it was food, and he has become a fine restaurateur. That was the case for
Albert King of Maryland as well. When he was a senior, he and Gene Banks
and some guy from Michigan who had the ridiculous notion of being a 6-9 inch
point guard were the prize recruits. But King was the prize.
Years later, he is a Burger King franchisee, rarely talks about basketball,
and confessed that now he's doing what he always dreamed of doing.
So basketball isn't for everyone, and it may not be what drives Haywood's
jeep ultimately. But when he starts taking millions for it, he better start
producing. He has no idea how close he is to being the next Joe Barely
Cares, the infamous nickname hung like a millstone around Joe Barry Carroll.