One thing that nobody denies: Terrence Oglesby can shoot the lights out.
But so could Salim Stoudamire. And Quincy Douby. And Trajan Langdon.
Hmmm…it seems like only one of those three will be making over $1.5 million this season. Could it be the same one who has been an All-League performer? And Final Four MVP? And league champion? Yes it could be, and yes it is. If it’s still unclear by now, Langdon is the studliest shooter of this trio. The former Duke Blue Devil has turned into one of Europe’s elite backcourt players for CKSA Moscow, who won the 2008 Euroleague championship in which Langdon took home Final Four MVP honors. Meanwhile, former Arizona standout Stoudamire sat out last season after seeing his minutes and points dwindle to a meager 5.7 points in 11.5 minutes per game in 2007-08. Douby, the Rutgers superstar of yesteryear, is not doing much better with his whopping career scoring average of 4.1 points per game in three professional seasons.
So when our friends over at BallinEurope dropped the news that Mr. Oglesby’s early departure from Clemson would land him with Original Marines Napoli of the Italian League, my mind was abuzz with visions of a glorious transition from the ACC to Europe. Until I found, buried in the press release, something a little disturbing: “Citing a confidentiality agreement, Oglesby declined to reveal terms of the contract, although he is believed hopeful of developing his game to the point he enters next June’s NBA Draft.”
June’s NBA Draft? Kick off your shoes, Terrence; stay a while. Are you really that desperate to get drafted in the second round, warm the bench, hit some meaningless 3’s for a losing team in garbage time, then hold out hope that some team devoid of shooters will overpay for your services? (see: Matt Carroll) Oglesby is a specialist, and although he’s a darn good one, there’s no guaranteeing his NBA competence, much less his NBA stardom. Even in Europe a great shot does not ensure a great career, but it is a great place to start, and Oglesby’s commitment to learning the point guard position overseas could make him deadly with the ball in his hands. With a little bit of experience, a lot more defense, and mastery of the pick and roll he could surely be scary in either continent. But what’s the big hurry?
Too often Europe is seen as a means to an end instead of an end in itself. It’s treated by nearly everyone (me included, maybe until today) as a minor league or a stepping stone on the road to a cup of coffee in the NBA that will supposedly validate a player’s career. The reality is that the NBA is usually the stop along the way, while Europe is the final destination. Just ask a certain former first-round draft pick, Trajan Langdon.
Alas, I am not in the business of shooting down dreams and this is no exception; if Oglesby’s dream is to play in the NBA regardless of circumstance, then I wish him nothing but the best. As it is, he has gained my respect for veering off the beaten trail and onto the professional fast track. But I would caution against haste, Signor Oglesby. After all, you are getting paid money to shoot hoops in Italy for a year and–call me crazy–you might even enjoy your stay.