Thursday , Jan , 05 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Odds are …

I’ve decided there’s a new key to being successful in basketball.

It’s not height … not quickness. It’s not muscle and it’s not shooting percentage.

Some may say that this asset is a result of life occurrences and others may claim it’s an innate ability.

Some have it, but many don’t.

Want more clues? I’ll give you some prime examples of those who do have it.
 
Case #1: Adam Morrison
            When Gonzaga’s head coach Mark Few first saw Morrison in a high school game, he said “He’s got a weird gait, he’s hunched over, he’s got a strange-looking body and a really odd stroke. And he plays no D whatsoever.” But the box-score read 31 points for Morrison. Turned out Gonzaga was the only school to offer Morrison a scholarship, and even then, his name on the roster wasn’t a sure bet. Now, he averages around 28 points per game and is being called “the next Larry Bird.” Oh, and not to mention the fact that he has Type 1 diabetes and can often be seen giving himself insulin shots on the sidelines.
 
Case #2: P.J. Tucker
            At Enloe High School in Raleigh, North Carolina, Tucker was dominant. Averaging 25 points and 13 rebounds a game, the kid could play. But when he reached his senior year, none of the area schools wanted him. Not N.C. State. Not Carolina. Not Duke. Not Wake Forest. Why? Scouts said he was too short, he couldn’t shoot from outside, and he had no grades. Luckily, Texas took a risk and added him to their squad. In 2004, he helped the Longhorns knock Carolina out of the NCAA’s and could possibly do the same to another school that initially rejected him. Watch out Duke.
 
Are ya’ seeing a trend yet? One more hint … just to prove my point.
 
Just being able to prove oneself doesn’t stop at the high school or college levels. Granted, the NBA is a whole different level of play – the pros are bigger, stronger, and, well, just plain better, but the odds of making it are also tougher. And so I present you with Case #3: Steve Nash. 
 
As another Adam Morrison and P.J. Tucker types, nobody wanted him in college. Stuck at Santa Clara, he managed to make it big, landing a spot on the Phoenix Sun’s bench. Key word: bench. He sat behind Jason Kidd and put up a pathetic 3 points a game. But the scrawny, unathletic-looking Canadian, who appeared to be the total anti-baller, worked his but off to become the league’s MVP. In short … he’s freaking awesome in the pros.
 
So, if you’re a little slow, or if my convoluted guessing game just wasn’t clicking, here’s the answer:  Those who defy the odds against them are the ones who make it in the hoops world. The way I see it, if you can beat the expectations and criticisms of the scouts and fans, then you can beat any opponent on the floor.