Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Cameron Crazy and More Quinn

Love it, hate it, it's on tonight. The much overhyped Duke/UNC game starts at 9 on ESPN. Surely Dickie V will be there. If you like pageantry, it should be fun to watch at least a little. Tomorrow at DePaul is must-win territory for the Irish. A victory puts the team back on track. A loss puts us in bubble territory. Let's get it done.

A little more about Chris Quinn. Compare the two players:

Player 1:
Ranked 60th in the country by ESPN out of High School
Mr. Basketball from his state
Averaged 23.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 3.7 steals during his final high school season
McDonald's All-American
4th-team Parade All-America selection
USA Today Player of the Year from his state

Player 2:
Four star recruit by
Ranked 14th nationally at his position
Runner up for Mr. Basketball
Averaged 22.4 points and 7.0 assists during final high school year

Pretty similar, right? Let's go to their college careers.

Player 1-
15.6 Points, 252 Assists as a freshman
Several All-Freshman Teams
18.7 Points, 236 Assists (lead Big East) as a sophomore
Declared for NBA draft, pulled out after unable to determine Top 20 draft status
19.7 Points, 150 Assists as a junior
14.2 Points, 195 Assists as a senior
Undrafted, plays for Carifac Basket Fabriano of the Italian league

Player 2-
Backup/Wingman for more famous Player 1 for 3 years
14.3 Points, 104 Assists as a Sophmomore
12.6 Points, 86 Assists as a Junior
17.7 Assists, 187 Assists as a Senior
Undrafted, currently rookie starting point guard for Miami Heat

Of course I'm talking about Chris Thomas and Chris Quinn. Thomas had the whole world after his sophomore year. He was nationally recognized as a great talent and a for sure First Round pick. First rounders make millions. Had he been a lottery pick, his net worth would have doubled, even tripled. After pulling out of the draft, his career went downhill until he graduated, unwanted by the pros and unable to send his team to the dance.

Quinn, however, began college as the understudy. The next two years were spent playing offguard to the Chris Thomas show. As a senior, he played well but was unable to warrant a draft pick. He was signed by the Heat in the summer and expected to flame out. Second rounders don't even make NBA rosters. Why should CQ be any different? Somehow, the forgotten wingman has well surpassed his protege and currently makes $412,000 a year.

How did the two players' paths split so violently? How did the less heralded point guard become a success while his teammate is forced to bounce from job to job overseas? Part of it can be attributed to one's attitude. Somehow, Quinn was able to make it when Thomas failed. Some blame or credit must also go to the college coach. What does this phenomenon say about Mike Brey? Is he good at producing talent, or sometimes lucky? I really don't know the answer to that.

What is apparent, however, is that Chris Quinn will remain in the NBA for at least another year, maybe even produce a full career out of his experiences at Notre Dame. Thomas, however, must start over as a basketball player. 2007 will be spent trying to climb his way back up the totem pole he sat atop not four years ago.

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