Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd, LeBron James, & Team USA Meet Canada’s Carl English
Last September, Seattle asked English to attend their training camp. The club was loaded with perimeter players and he got cut. However, game can always recognize game and English remembers a conversation he had with Sonics’ star Ray Allen.“I remember Ray saying to me before I left there. He said to me that he wasn’t sure what this situation could give me. He said no matter what that I was good enough to play at this level. No one can take that away. A lot of it is getting in the right situation at the right time” …
Two years ago I wrote this feature on Carl English for a Canadian Basketball publication, Ballerz Magazine. Back then, English was a three-point gunner on the verge of landing an NBA contract.
Interviewing English was a pleasure. He was classy, accommodating, and provided thoughtful answers. Since writing this story, English unfortunately remains on the outside, plying his trade for a Croatian team and hoping for another shot at The Association.
That shot could come with a solid performance in the upcoming Americas Tournament. English will be a featured player on the Canadian team, so scouts will get another look at the talented combo guard. With the qualifying tournament around the corner, I thought HoopsVibe The Blog readers might have interest in English’s story.
HoopsVibe The Blog readers might have interest in English’s story.
One final note: Team USA is the obvious favorite. As a Canadian I respect, appreciate, and admire their talent. I have to. You guys kick our ass! But the story of my countrymen, English, is worth respecting, too. It’s about so much more than basketball.
Thanks for reading. As always, your thoughts are welcome in the comment box below.
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April 2005-Will the NBA Ever Speak English?
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It was the 2003 NBA Draft and Carl English had invited his family to a downtown
That moment never happened. The entire NBA took a pass. Twice. No team picked Carl English in the first or second round.
Two years later, he’s just finished his season with the Florida Flame of the NBDL. There were no Sunday games on ABC just long bus rides, half-empty stadiums and meager paychecks. But things have never been easy for Carl English.
When he was five, English lost his parents in a house fire. He went to live with his Uncle Junior and Aunt Betty in tiny Patrick’s Cove,
Nothing could stop basketball practice. Snow would be removed from the court with a shovel; the rain wasn’t an issue either. During the summer, he would ignore the heat and stay out on the road perfecting his moves.
His dedication and talent went mostly unnoticed until 1999. That summer, English toured the with a Canadian All-Star team and caught the eye of a few Division 1 schools. Baylor, Notre Dame and
With his bags packed for
Over the next three years, Carl English put in work and became a college basketball star. Dick Vitale loved the Canadian’s game and his Hawaii Rainmakers got their shine on in the 2001 and 2002 NCAA tournament. ESPN Magazine and USA Today both ran feature stories on English. After his junior year, the kid from rural
The next few months in Carl English’s basketball life make very little sense. Combo guards who can shoot usually end up being selected somewhere in the first round. Throw in his leadership skills and most thought he could have a solid NBA career. So what went wrong? How did guards like Marcus Banks, Reece Gaines and Troy Bell get picked in the first round instead of English? How could NBA teams take European and American teenagers over a mature player such as English? Why would the Toronto Raptors pass on a Canadian with the fifty-second pick to take prospect Remon Van de Hare?
The problems started at the
Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki have changed the way NBA teams draft players. These three players entered the league as teenagers and quickly became superstars. Teams now had to take high school kids and international players based on their potential over established NCAA stars. In English’s 2003 draft year, five high school players and 15 Europeans were selected. With the exception of first overall pick LeBron James, none of them have made any real impact in the NBA.
In June of 2003, the Toronto Raptors had bigger issues than Carl English. They had just missed the playoffs for the first time in three years. The front office was taking heat for giving Michael “Yogi” Stewart millions of dollars and funding the first few years of Hakeem Olajuwon’s retirement. Coach Lenny Wilkens had just been fired. Vince Carter was struggling with injuries. Former Raptors’ GM Glen Grunwald was trying to keep the dinosaurs from going extinct and missed what a talented Canadian could bring to the club.
Two years after the 2003 draft, English can’t explain what happened. However, he insists that it’s behind him.
“I try not to think about. I mean it was the draft. I thought I was going to go and didn’t. But there’s no use looking back on decisions I’ve made. I got to go forward and try to get into the NBA. I mean, I can’t look and say things I should have done. What if? What if this? What if that? So, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. I did when it happened. I’m over it now.”
The Indiana Pacers had scouted English and invited the guard to their 2003-2004 training camp. At his first pro camp, the kid from tiny Patrick’s Cove showed that he could ball with the best players in the world. Superstar Reggie Miller even took English under his wing. Unfortunately, his NBA dream came down to numbers. The Pacers already had 16 guaranteed contracts and stuck with second round pick James Jones instead of English.
“I remember Ray saying to me before I left there. He said to me that he wasn’t sure what this situation could give me. He said no matter what that I was good enough to play at this level. No one can take that away. A lot of it is getting in the right situation at the right time.”
That right situation hasn’t come. There have only been rumors. During the 2004 season, the Raptors were apparently looking to sign English, but went with Jannero Pargo and veteran Rod Strickland. He’s also been linked to
Right now, there’s no Air Canada Centre or
What do you think of English’s story? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts. And keep an eye out for English in the upcoming Americas Tournament.
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