It's easy to pick those former NCAA stars, who seemed so great in their salad days, and wonder what went wrong? Some of them made the NBA and others simply faded into obscurity. I always thought Billy Owens should have been an NBA All-Star. I guess he just didn't care enough.
This article was inspired by the kind of thinking I just described. I was sitting at home, looking at an NBA box score when the name Stacey Augmon appeared. I thought to myself, "Stacey Augmon is still in the league? I haven't seen an Augmon highlight, or read his name in any game recap for years. I'll have to look into this..."
Sure enough Stacey Augmon is still an NBA player. Unlike the Billy Owens and Todd Days of the world, Augmon has stuck with it. Ironically, Stacey Orlando Augmon is now a member of the Orlando Magic. After spending his first 5 seasons with Atlanta, averaging double figures, he plummetted to average about 4.5 points per game over the next 11 seasons. For a man that was on top of the NCAA world, and a promising athletic small forward playing 30 minutes a night, how did he fall off so far, so fast? Why did he decide to hang around for 11 seasons as a shadow of his younger self?
Honestly, I don't understand it...but I admire it. What could possibly be better than playing on an NBA team? Yeah, he warms the bench most nights. He's a regular DNP-Coach's Decision, but I bet he busts his ass in practice. As I ponder the strange story of Stacey Augmon, I think about the great UNLV Runnin' Rebels team of the early 90's. Jerry Tarkanian's boys. That swaggering, point-shaving, cast of colorful characters that played on top of the world in Sin City, USA. Where are they now?
The man on that squad was none other than Grandmama himself, Larry Johnson. He was a ferocious power player that could drain the college three, and scramble across the court terrorizing oppents in the "amoeba defense"...Tarkanian's punishing pressure defense. LJ's story is famous. He was the most successful pro to emerge from the bunch and there's no need to get into his accomplishments. I'm more interested in the other guys....
The starting 5 on that team, in addition to LJ and Augmon, rounded out with Greg Anthony, Anderson Hunt, and a combination of George Ackles and David Butler at center. Greg Anthony was a draft pick of the New York Knicks, and played a solid NBA career for a number of teams. He's an intelligent guy by all accounts and I enjoy his commentary on the league for ESPN. For all the fame he achieved as a member of the Runnin' Rebs, and for all the games he played in the league, my favorite moment by far was his sucker punch on Kevin Johnson while wearing his pajamas.
Anderson Hunt is a sad story. The guy was named the NCAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Player in 1990 and went on to have another solid season in 1991, when the team lost one game all season...to Duke in the semi-final game. Someone told him he could be an NBA player and he went early-entry. That's the last we heard of Anderson Hunt from a basketball standpoint. He went undrafted by the NBA, and went in the CBA's 2nd round to the LaCrosse franchise as the 25th overall pick. Ouch. I tried to see if Hunt played in Europe or got into coaching, but the only thing I can find about him on the net is his 1993 arrest for marijuana possession at a traffic stop, and a 2002 attempted embezzlement arrest for which he was subsequently senteced to probation.
George Butler was drafted by the CBA in 1990 and played for the Rapid City franchise. Ackles was drafted by the Miami Heat in the 2nd Round of the same season, but never played a game in the show. Instead, Ackles played in Lebanon for the Beirut franchise, but returned home after a bombing scared some sense into him. He has spent a number of years playing for the Las Vegas Silver Bandits of the International League.
The other player of note on that club was Moses Scurry. He was an energizing sixth man for the Rebs that never missed a chance to scream bloody murder after grabbing a rebound. He was like a banshee. Along with Anderson Hunt and Butler he was also caught in a hot tub with notorious cheat Richard "Richie the Fixer" Perry. Ah, the good old days.....Scurry signed on with the Las Vegas Silver Bullets in the late 90's to play alongside Ackles. I don't know where he is now, but I bet he's noisy as hell.
There are others that I looked up, but honestly none of them are all that interesting. They had no pro prospects and most of them ended up in business or working for hotels and casinos in Vegas....imagine that. The legacy of that team will continue, and I won't forget the run they had over 2 years while I, too, was a college student.