Web Exclusives: From the P-Nut Gallery
a column by Nate Sellwyn email@example.com
the P-Nut gallery to the pros!
N.B.A. has a new international star waiting in the wings
By Nate Sellyn '04
I write to you this week with a heavy heart. I have recently been
informed that I will not continue inhabiting the P-Nut Gallery during
my senior year, barring unforeseen idiocy on the part of all 29
I... hold on, are you all right? Hey, come on now, shooter
don't cry. Hey, hey, it's gonna be all right. Here's a hankie...
and a hug. Yeah, I know, I love you, too.
Really, it's for the best. I haven't been fired although
that would likely have happened anyway. I'm actually doing something
every athlete dreams of. I'm going pro. Putting my name in the NBA
Draft. Again. Hey, it may cost me my senior year, but I've decided
it's something I need to do. Don't worry, unlike Lebron James, Dajuan
Wagner, and Darius Miles, I've got real reasons.
First, though, I'll give you some history. Yes, I said I'm declaring
my eligibility for June's NBA Draft again. I dropped this bomb the
first time when I was a senior in high school. If you're a good
P-Nut reader, though, you knew that already. That year was my fourth
season playing varsity ball in British Columbia's competitive A
division. I averaged just under 10 points, seven rebounds, and a
nearly immortal seven steals a game. That's right, seven steals.
When I ran the press, opposing point guards often ran right out
of the gym in fear. After my senior year concluded, my coach and
I decided there was only one place for me to go, regardless of certain
Princeton acceptance letters. My game wasn't suited for college.
It was tailor made for the hardwood of the NBA.
I declared myself eligible that May, and the scouts started calling.
Initially, there were minor concerns about my size. I didn't have
the benefit of a college weightroom at that time, and some of them
thought my 6'2", 150-pound frame couldn't handle 82 games of
banging in the paint and chasing down the likes of Earl Boykins.
Others felt given that I only hit one three-pointer during
my entire high school career that I didn't have NBA range
on my jumper. I knew I'd prove them wrong, though, like countless
other guys who were skipping varying years of college for real cash
and real groupies. I mean, real cash and real competition.
Things hit a snag, though. The NBA, at that time, didn't allow
international players to declare for the draft unless they turned
18 before the declaration deadline. Given that this was sometime
in mid-May, and I graduated when I was 17... my hopes were dashed
by NBA bureaucracy and my Canadian heritage. They wanted my fearless
defense, dazzling handle, and rugged good looks to stay in the Rockies.
The NBA wanted to hold me down, and they succeeded.
My first year of college changed everything. I didn't feel I'd
get the respect I deserved playing for Princeton, so I held back.
Since I wasn't playing, or doing anything else resembling exercise,
I fell out of shape. When the NBA draft came around again, I just
didn't consider myself ready anymore.
This year, though, things are different. I've been secretly playing
in Dillon Gym every morning. My jumper has evolved into a thing
of Larry Bird-esque beauty. I can touch the rim with both hands.
I bought a headband.
Also, I'm no longer a mere 6'2", 150 pounds. I weigh an easy
165 and I can bench my own weight like three times. I run a 50 in
6 seconds flat. The headband is purple.
The scouts are calling like teenage girls at a Justin Timberlake
concert this time; they're anxious. Sports Illustrated senior writer
Alex Wolff '79 saw me one day, hitting four free throws in a row,
and word got out. The Celtics have been to campus, asking all the
right questions. The Lakers, too. Even the Nuggets. "The Next
Steve Nash: Canadians Conquer the NBA," read an unpublished
E.S.P.N. article. Last week, I even picked up a girl because she
knew I was, in her words, "that guy who talks about how he's
going to be in the N.B.A. all the time." Good move, baby, good
Why now, you might be asking. I've got another year of college
left. Why not wait and get my degree? Maybe even help Princeton
to Ivy title next year, and March success.
The answer is, I just can't. I've got brothers and sisters in
private school. I have bills to pay $14.07 for long distance
in February, and maybe just as much in March. Maybe I can return
to campus one day, finish things up, but I can't walk out to Prospect
anymore. I need a Cadillac Escalade with an X-Box in the back. Besides,
the endorsement opportunities aren't here. If you had to choose
between free Nikes and free U-Store gear, which would you pick?
Besides, the game needs me. They're hungry for an opportunity
to tap the Canadian-Jewish fan base. Forget Europe's Darko and Sofoklis.
The N.B.A. wants an international rookie superstar with a name that
doesn't remind them of a super-villain.
I'd love to stay, Princeton, but I need the cash, and the game
don't wait. Next time you see this purple headband, it may well
say Lakers on the side, or at least North Charleston Lowgators.
You can reach Nate at nsellyn@Princeton.EDU