Some weirdos share an affinity for vintage train sets, others enjoy migration patterns of North American Geese, I like recalling the triumphs and tragedies of the forgotten college athlete. In fact, the domain name SearchingForBillyEdelin.com was in my head two years before it was ever registered. Yes, I'm that pathetic. Just salivating at the thought of having ownership of a URL that pokes fun at an underachieving Syracuse basketball player.
Anyway, to switch it up for a week here, I provide you with 16 profiles on forgotten players that always seem to get the "Ha! I remember that guy!" treatment. We're still keeping track of the current season, as Kansas remains the clear-cut numero uno and Purdue climbs back into elite status, but we'll try to get the nostalgic juices flowing too. If you happened to brush shoulders with any of these guys during their glory days, feel free to drop a juicy story we'd all love to hear.
1. Kansas Jayhawks (14 first place votes)
Jeff Boschee (1998-2002)
As one of the winningest programs of the last 15 years, Kansas is a hot-bed for successful college players turned afterthoughts upon exiting Lawrence. Kenny Gregory, Keith Langford, Russell Robinson,
Lester Earl, Billy Thomas all had prolific careers at KU, they just never amounted to much when basketball became a paid-to-play game. Neither did Jeff Boschee, the school's all-time leader in three-pointers made and all-around likable guy. Boschee seems to be forgotten because he was a backcourt running mate to Kirk Hinrich, and also because the Jayhawks were national runners-up the year after he graduated. But during his senior season Boschee posted the top offensive rating in the country before that algorithm was even part of the college basketball lexicon, all while leading the team in scoring, minutes and, well, scoring.
Boschee had a few stints playing minor league ball, but it of course never amounted to much. Today he's in second season as head coach at The Barstow School in Kansas City.
You see where we're going with this now, right?
2. Kentucky Wildcats (3)
Shagari Alleyne (2004-2006)
Could there have been a bigger "bound to fail" recruit during the Tubby Smith era? Standing at 7'3", Alleyne was one of the awkwardest players ever. Like, in the history of the world, ever. What exactly could this guy do, besides make Kenny George look agile? After three season of never cracking the Wildcats rotation, and showing the inability to even attend class, Alleyne got the hint that he couldn't cut it as an elite (or, heck, average) DI player, and transferred to Manhattan.
So with real basketball not an option, Alleyne signed up for the circus act that is the Harlem Globetrotters and took on the alter-ego of The Skyscraper. Upon a tour stop in Lexington, Alleyne provided the Herald-Leader's John Clay with this fantastic quote, which really just puts the recession into perspective.
"With the state of the economy right now, it's great to see people come out and want to see our presence and want to get a laugh in. Technically, they don't have to come out."
3. Syracuse Orange (3)
Preston Shumpert (1998-2002)
As Troy Nunes was quick to point out:
If you ever want to track down one of Syracuse's forgotten players, such as Billy Edelin, Josh Wright and Deshawn Williams, look no further than Utica's King of Kings Summer League. It's a veritable who's who of "hey, is that who's who I think it is?"
Shumpert never sunk that low, but yes, perusing The King of Kings rosters would make any Syracuse Super Fan tingle inside.
Preston was actually a pretty respectable player. Seven games of 30 points or more, 2nd all-time in three-pointers made (G-Mac surpassed him), and a career 14.2 PPG average. But his rise-and-fall arc came awfully quick. Eighteen games into his senior season, riding high and ranked in the top 10, the 'Cuse would lose nine of their next 13 and be relegated to the NIT, all while in-fighting grew between Shumpert and DeShaun Williams. The future looked dim for the program, but the following season a boy named Carmelo arrived on campus and Preston Shumpert couldn't have been more of an afterthought.
Maybe next time around, i'll write something on Craig Forth.
Gary Buchanan (1999-2003)
Since 2005, Villanova has won 11 NCAA Tournament games, which includes two trips to the Sweet 16 and one berth in the Final Four. But during the first half of the decade, the Wildcats did next to nothing former coach Rollie Massamino would be proud of; making the the field of 65 zero times. That some level of futility for them, huh?
But someone had to make this mediocre machine go, and that man was Gary Buchanan. The team's leading scorer his junior and senior seasons, Buchanan was a terrific free-throw shooter (career 91 percent) and once hit 73 consecutive from the stripe. His senior season was cut short however, as Jay Wright suspended Buchanan and 12 other players for using an unauthorized code to make free telephone calls, forcing the team to play in the Big East Tournament with just seven players. In their lone MSG game (a loss to Georgetown), Coach Wright played three freshmen by the name of Randy Foye, Allan Ray, and Curtis Sumpter for the entire 40 minutes. Those guys ended up being pretty good.
Brian Cardinal (1996-2000)
Forgive me. I wanted to offer up a player that made it look like I did a smidge of research, but it's tough to pass on the opportunity for 120 words on Brian Cardinal. The consummate hustle player who was such a nuisance to his opponents (because he loved to sweat, and play like your hyper-active uncle) Cardinal was given the nickname "Citizen Pain" and it stuck to the point where Fred Kroner used it as the title for his biography on the Boilermakers forward. He was also called "The Custodian," but that's lame.
A forward, Cardinal is the school's all-time leader in steals, and has carved how his niche in the NBA, currently playing for the Timberwolves as part of a 10 year pro career. I remember Jay Williams once comparing Tyler Hansborough to Cardinal. Not so fast, BC was much cooler.
Nick Horvath (1999-2004)
If you loved Duke, you were irritated by Nick Horvath. But if you hated Duke, you wished a malignant tumor on Nick Horvath. Adhering to a number of concepts written in The Official Preppy Handbook, Horvath piggy backed his way to 123 career wins, including a 2001 National Championship all while averaging a robust 9 and 2 (that's minutes and points).
Following his collegiate career, and in a dramatic turn of events, Horvath beefed up his wiry 6'10," 210-pound frame and found himself down under, adding 40 pounds and becoming a naturalized citizen of New Zealand to earn a spot on their national team. Too bad they weren't talented enough to qualify, forcing CBSSports.com's Greg Doyle to drop this harsh nugget on the former Blue Devil:
"Remember Nick Horvath from Duke, originally hailing from St. Paul, Minn.? Now he plays for that St. Paul suburb of New Zealand as a member of the Kiwi team that didn't qualify for the Olympics. The only thing worse than playing for another country's Olympic team is playing for another country's crappy, non-Olympic team."
Mike Gansey (2004-2006)
The obvious choice here is the easily identifiable Kevin Pittsnogle, but no I'm switching it up; that team's versitale forward was much more likable.
After hiding out in Western New York for two years, playing at St. Bonaventure, Gansey left after the school was hit with major penalties from the NCAAA for letting a JUCO transfer enroll with just a welding certificate. Gansey was courted by then Richmond coach John Beilein, and chose West Virginia as his next destination. In 2005, the Mountaineers went from a February bubble team to falling just short of a Final Four bid, making a run to the Elite Eight. In that game, they jumped out to a 32-18 lead on Louisville, but allowed the Cardinals to score 50 second half points and lost. It was part of one of the more memorable Regional Final Saturdays, as the game preceded Illinois-Arizona, in which the Fighting Illini forced overtime (and won) after being down nine with just a few minutes to play.
Today, Gansey currently plays the West Virginia Lottery, and is a member of the D-League's Erie BayHawks.
Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje (1997-2001)
The Hoyas were notorious for giving athletic scholarships to players with mind-boggling names. Boubacar Aw, Ashanti Cook, Sleepy Floyd, even Dikembe Mutumbo evoked perplexed looks before becoming a household name. But my personal favorite is Mr. Boom-Shay Boom-Shay. This guy was sweet. Fourth on the all-time Hoyas ‘ block list to be exact. Ruben was from Cameroon, multi-lingual and doubled up at Georgetown as both a biology and math major. but that didn't help his NBA draft status. Selected 50th by Portland in 2001, Ruben was mistakenly taken ahead of... well nobody of significance. The scouts clearly did their homework.
Currently in his second season as center of EWE Baskets Oldenburg, Ruben is putting up pedestrian numbers, and getting dunked on with high frequency. Even basketball fans overseas see the humor...
Cartier Martin (2004-2007)
When you're a program with just a single NCAA Tournament victory since 1996, and that win can almost be entirely attributed to Michael Beasley, the choice for quality and mildly memorable players are slim. Enter Cartier Martin, one of the Wildcats all-time leading scorers, but a player with just 43 games played in an NBA uniform. According to twitter, Martin is just grindin, and context clues suggest he's part of the Golden State Warriors roster. But upon further review, Martin is currently in the D-League, putting up decent numbers for the Iowa Energy.
He appears to have an allegiance of fans, as this tribute video is quite heartfelt.
Matt Sylvester (2001-2006)
A career 6.3 PPG player, Sylvester was white, lanky and an unassuming forward for the Buckeyes. So, naturally, it would make sense he would find the ball in his hands with just seconds to play against the 2005 (and then undefeated) Illinois Fighting Illini and hit the game-winning shot with such confidence. He came off looking like a cold-blooded assassin. The game was of major importance for Illinois, with Selection Sunday just a week away Bruce Weber's kids had flexed their muscles all season and were hoping to have an unblemished record dancing into the tournament. Not to be. Even Gus Johnson was there to call it!
Sylvester resurfaced in dramatic fashion the following season. Once again, finding the ball (and getting zero respect from the opposing defense) with time winding down and the game on the line.
11. Gonzaga Bulldogs
Casey Calvary (1997-2001)
As Gonzaga has maintained their stature as the country's healthiest mid-major program, there have been a handful of generations that we remember them by. No doubt, the first generation was led by Casey Calvary, who ignited the Cinderella flame with the famed tip-in to advance the Zags to the Elite Eight in 1999.
Today, Calvary is just a regular dude, working for Baker Construction and Development in Spokane. Check out the Lost Lettermen's interview with him.
12. BYU Cougars
Rafael Araujo (2002-2004)
It's a bit difficult to peg a recent forgotten star from the Cougars' program, so the Brazilian will have to do. The seven-footer was the 8th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, and led BYU to the tournament, where they exited quickly at the hands of Gerry McNamara. But before transferring to Provo from Arizona Western Junior College, Araujo tested positive for the steroid nandrolone and was disallowed from participating in that year's World Championships, or any international game for the next two years. Carrying some extra baggage into a new school, he tested clean upon arriving at BYU and the issue soon became a moot point.
He can be tagged as a bust because he was drafted so high. Araujo averaged only 2.3 points in a few forgettable seasons with Toronto. He was traded to Minnesota and quickly released. Ho hum. I'm much more interested in writing Jimmer Fredette's epitaph five years from now.
Kelvin Torbert (2001-2005)
Torbert is such a has been, his Wikipedia entry is bare and French, as he's spent the last five years bouncing between leagues in France and Belgium.
Highly touted out of Flint, Torbert was an elite "get" for Tom Izzo, ranked #2 in his class. But the deficiencies in his game were severely exposed after four years in East Lansing. In short, nobody was scared of him. Some said he considered going straight to the NBA, so it's amazing to think that this guy never was a first-team all-conference pick, nor did he ever lead the Spartans in scoring. By the time he was a senior, it was a feeling of "good riddance."
Check out a recent profile of Torbert in Dime Magazine. Ironically in the provided photo, he's being guarded by Chris Hill, an equally forgettable Spartan.
14. New Mexico Lobos
Clayton Shields (1994-1998)
Much like their Mountain West nemesis Brigham Young, it's difficult to find a standout Lobos player who just fell off the map after leaving campus. Kenny Thomas, we all know about him, he's had a respectable 11 year NBA career. But Shields, however, is an afterthought in that he played before the internet was really at its peak.
To continue whatever sort of legacy remains, you can purchase a signed basketball card of his likeness.
Julius Page (2000-2004)
Julius Page played for Pitt when the Panthers made a return to national prominence under Ben Howland, and exuded everything cool. During this tenure, the Panthers notched 107 victories, the most in school history, and earned three Sweet Sixteen appearances. Page played an integral piece of the puzzle for the Panthers alongside fellow forgotten players like Ontario Lett, Chevon Troutman, and Carl Krauser. His reliability on defense and consistency on offense allowed him to be a four year starter, and he currently ranks currently 12th on the all-time school scoring list with 1,512 points. During Julius' senior season he was hampered by an ankle injury that nagged him all year long, which is probably why NBA scouts never gave him a chance. Page spent the latter part of last decade bouncing around various European leagues before an injury ultimately sidelined him, sparking an interested in becoming an entrepreneur.
Derek Zoolander focused on academia when he opened "The Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good and Wanna Go Other Stuff Good Too," and Page has mimicked that concept in the world of fitness with his "Just Play 24/7 Fitness Centers." Page brings the vague and half interested attitude towards working out. His vision includes opening a chain of fitness clubs that feature basketball courts, rock walls, batting cages and even a log flume! Well, I made that last part up, but you get the idea. Page was a skinny guy at Pittsburgh and it now finally clicks; it was because of his disdain taste for the conventional fitness methods of lifting weights and running that turned him on to this more unique approach. Currently, he's seeking investors for his concept club, which will still house the normal amenities of your local workout facility, but financial support seems to be limited at this time. We think those Yinzer's put down the Permanti's sandwich and start supporting his cause.
Duany Duany was not black, he was purple. The native of Sudan was so dark...well I'll just stop right about there. Brother of Syracuse's Keith Duany, Duan's career should not be overlooked just because he was unable to ride the coattails of Carmelo and win the 2003 National Championship; he had a respectable career in Madison highlighted by a trip to the 2000 Final Four. All five Duanys played Division I college basketball, and for one season did so at the same time.
Today, Duany is helping to serve as a pipeline between talented Sudanese kids and DI schools in the United States. Mississippi State's John Riek, and DePaul's Mac Koshwal are just a few of the notable names who have recently come stateside thanks to the Duany family.