Recently, I’ve been reading a fairly standard column for this time of year – the “NBA draft stock report.” Just like countless other draft gurus, ESPN’s Chad Ford has been monitoring the successes and failures of numerous college basketball players that are considered NBA prospects. I will guiltily confess to devouring these reports with regularity, even though they are typically formulaic and unenlightening. Such columns serve essentially as gossip, and we know that sells.
I was struck by a sentence in the March 23rd edition of Ford’s column. About Louisville’s senior forward Terrence Williams:
He has all the physical tools to be a lottery pick, but his game has rarely matched his talent. Poor shooting percentages, high turnover rates and some off-putting on-the-court behavior have given many scouts pause.
Because I follow Louisville basketball a bit more than I should, I wondered about the veracity of the italicized section. For some reason, Louisville’s games are constantly broadcast here in New York. One of my closest friends is a Louisvillian, so I find myself much more cognizant of the Cardinals’ inner-workings than most people are on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. In my experiences watching and discussing Louisville, I have never heard of any on-the-court behavioral issues on Williams’ part. My friend was just as confused as I was. If anything, broadcasters continually praise Williams as a delightful young man, dedicated leader, and consummate teammate. I considered posting about this assessment, but decided there were bigger fish to fry.
Today, in another moment of weakness, I found myself reading Ford’s chat on ESPN.com. A reader asked about the draft stocks of Williams and teammate Earl Clark. An excerpt from Ford’s answer:
And both have been maddeningly inconsistent … especially Williams. Combine that with some off the court concerns and you can see why they may not crack the lottery.
I officially have no idea what is going on. First, Williams had problematic on-the-court behavior. Now, he has off-the-court concerns. Those are fairly serious statements, and more than a little disconcerting considering that no one I know can think of a single explanation for these characterizations. It’s probably too much to call this libelous, but it would be awfully nice if Ford would explain the thinking or information behind these assessments instead of remaining unspecific.
I ask you plainly: do you know what Ford is talking about? Has Williams had any behavioral problems that would warrant regular mention? My current status is curious, but it’s more than capable of escalating to angry if these characterizations remain without illustration or explanation.