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A Most Instructive Feature

Chip Bremer, in his recent article on basketball magazines, mentioned the
public service Street & Smith did by listing their High School All-Americans
from 1992-93, and what has happened to them. A few highlights:

  • Kojak Fuller: Crack dealer, currently in Wabash Valley Correctional
    Facility.
  • Keith Booth: went to Maryland, then played two years in the NBA.
  • Jacque Vaughn: career backup point guard in the NBA.
  • Chris Kingsbury: freak outside shooter overestimated his value to the NBA
    and came out early. Last seen in the IBL.
  • Jeff Capel: went to Duke, bounced around the lower rungs of pro ball
    for a few years before moving into coaching. Now the nation's youngest head
    coach, at 27, at VCU.
  • Joey Beard: briefly played at Duke, transferred to BU, and has had a
    pretty good career overseas. Now an Italian citizen and member of the
    national team there.
  • Deuce Ford: Last seen in the USBL, where he was cut.
  • Ronnie Henderson: Disappeared from view after playing with the Idaho
    Stampede of the CBA in 2000.
  • Charles O' Bannon: has spent his career overseas, currently in Japan.
  • Darnell Robinson: After his Arkansas career, has spent his career
    overseas.
  • Rashard Griffith: overseas career. Had a chance at making Orlando
    this year, but apparently it didn't work out.
  • Dontonio Wingfield: the saddest of all, made the NBA for four years, had a
    terrible auto accident, then was sentenced to a year in jail after
    assaulting police officers, who came when his girlfriend made a domestic
    abuse claim via 911. A friend describes him as "a destitute indigent
    with nothing to fall back on. No Job. No education. He doesn't
    know how to do anything but play basketball."
  • Joining Griffith and Wingfield on Street & Smith's first team were
    Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace, both of whom have had very successful
    careers after leaving UNC as sophs. Randy Livingston, who went to LSU,
    was an immense talent, but injuries have reduced his effectiveness. He
    did make the NBA and has been a career backup throughout.

So, out of their picks, two really made it big, two made it as backups, a few
had brief trips to The Show, two ended up in jail, one is a head coach on
the fast track, and most are just getting on with their lives, which is
appropriate.

But we wonder...when we have argued firmly and consistently about the
importance of education, we're thinking about guys like Dontonio Wingfield and
Kojak Fuller, Chris Kingsbury and Rashard Griffith. These are guys
who almost had brilliant careers, but more importantly, who had a free education
handed to them - and declined it. The kids who sat next to them in classes
are moving up and starting to make some real money. Do you think these
guys wish they could do it over again? It doesn't work that way, but yeah, we're
guessing that if they could, they would erase the last 10 years and start over.