Since Jerryd Bayless became Arizona’s first one-and-done basketball player, he has been harder to track than D.B. Cooper.
Where is Jerryd Bayless? Here are some clues:
He has played for the following head coaches: Nate McMillan, Jay Triano, Dwane Casey, Lionel Hollins, Dave Joerger and Brad Stevens.
That’s six coaches in six years.
In the NBA, Bayless has worn jersey numbers 4, 5, 7, 11 and 32. At Arizona he wore jersey No. 0, but who remembers that?
He has started 59 of a possible 492 NBA regular-season games and is currently unemployed, a free agent at 25, when he should be hitting his basketball prime.
We’ll never know if Bayless betrayed his development by leaving Arizona after one season — the fractious Kevin O’Neill year — but the penetrating web site basketball-reference.com compares Bayless’ NBA career most closely to that of Sonny Hertzberg.
Sonny Hertzberg? He was a guard from CCNY who played for the 1950s’ Knicks and Celtics.
That can’t be what Jerryd Bayless had in mind when he left school in April 2008.
Many NBA players get fabulously wealthy on their much-coveted “second contract.” Ex-Wildcat Richard Jefferson’s second contract was worth $62 million.
By comparison, Bayless’ second deal, which just expired, was $6.2 million. The decimal points aren’t in the same place.
I bring this to your attention because the deadline for early entry into the 2014 NBA Draft expired over the weekend and 63 young men, much like Bayless in 2008 and Jefferson in 2001, signed up.
Bayless rushed his NBA process the way last year’s Pac-12 early-entrees did.
UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad, who spent part of the year with the D-League’s Iowa Energy, did not appear in 47 of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 82 games.
Cal’s Allen Crabbe scored 33 points for the Portland Trail Blazers. Not in one game. In one season.
Colorado’s Andre Roberson scored 75 points for the Oklahoma City Thunder — and 270 for the D-League’s Tulsa 66ers.
The one-and-done culture (and parts thereof) has become so encompassing that it now requires serious study to stay abreast of NBA teams and their rosters. That’s why I lost track of Bayless. Did you know he played for the Boston Celtics this year?
He’s the Suitcase Simpson of the NBA.
I’m not much of an NBA follower, but I turned on the Toronto-Brooklyn playoff game over the weekend expecting to see Bayless.
Instead, I saw the Raptors’ Nando de Colo.
It was an awakening. The NBA is now populated by so many one-and-done collegians, and by so many foreign players, that you have no frame of reference.
Nicolas Batum? Have you seen this guy play? He’s terrific. I thought he played for the Pelicans. Nope. He’s a Blazer.
Bayless is one of 13 Pac-12 players who left school after his freshman season. More than half became productive and wealthy, especially Kevin Love, DeMar DeRozan, Trevor Ariza, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Spencer Hawes, Jrue Holiday and O.J. Mayo.
The only true one-and-done busts from the Pac-12 have been Cal center Jamal Sampson, who started five games in a brief NBA career, and USC forward Davon Jefferson, who is playing in South Korea.
Thus, the odds are strong that Arizona’s Aaron Gordon and UCLA’s Zach LaVine, two of nine freshmen on the early-entry list of 63, will ultimately become useful (and wealthy) NBA players.
It’s often the upperclassmen, not the freshmen, who make the most egregious decisions to leave college basketball.
A year ago, Ohio State substitute forward LaQuinton Ross drained a wide open three-pointer with 2.1 seconds remaining to beat Arizona in the Sweet 16, 73-70. Ross returned for his junior year, became a starter, and averaged 15 points a game.
Good player. One career moment. Limited draft appeal.
Ross is projected by most draft boards to be a mid-second round selection.
The man who failed to guard Ross on that season-ending three-pointer, Grant Jerrett, turned pro after his freshman season, the most shocking one-and-done in Pac-12 history.
Jerrett now sits on the Oklahoma City Thunder bench, in civvies, waiting to suit up for his first NBA game.
Sonny Hertzberg he ain’t.