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5/29/2008 02:20:00 PM

Sports Phenoms Who Never Lived Up to the Hype

Darko Milicic
Even a change of scenery hasn't helped Darko Milicic.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
By Lang Whitaker, SI.com

When the Reds called up outfielder Jay Bruce this week, baseball fans watched with baited breath and internet message boards started buzzing. Would he handle the pressure and make it in the big leagues? Would he wobble and flirt with disaster only to rebound spectacularly (like SI coverboy Josh Hamilton)? Or would Bruce, like so many other sports phenoms from the past, bottom out, never to be heard from again? Here are my top five most memorable sports phenoms who never lived up to the hype.

1. Brien Taylor: Selected by the Yankees as the first overall pick in MLB's 1991 draft, Taylor squeezed a then-record $1.55 million signing bonus out of the Yanks. Two years later, this hard-throwing lefty tore up his shoulder in a street fight and effectively ended his career without ever making The Show.

2. Darko Milicic: In the 2003 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons passed on Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in order to select the largely unseen and internet-hyped Darko Milicic. Darko got paid big bucks last summer in free agency and has posted solid if unremarkable numbers in the NBA, but he's never come close to matching the hype that followed him into the League.

3. Todd Van Poppel: Back in 1990, Van Poppel was projected by some as the greatest high school pitcher of all time. The Braves, drafting first, were wary of Van Poppel's salary demands, and instead, then-Braves GM Bobby Cox drafted a shortstop named Larry Wayne Jones, who has turned in a Hall Of Fame career.

4. Ryan Leaf: One of the most dominant college quarterbacks of his era, Leaf stirred debate over who should be taken first in the 1998 NFL draft, himself or Peyton Manning. The Colts went for Manning, the Chargers went for Leaf, and soon after, Leaf went off. He bounced around the NFL for four years and retired with nearly three times as many interceptions as touchdowns.

5. Todd Marinovich: The perfect storm. As a high schooler, SI told the world that Todd's dad, Marv, was raising him to be the ultimate quarterback, even keeping him from eating McDonald's. He went on to USC and even took snaps in the NFL, but consistent brushes with the law and problems with drugs kept Todd from achieving the sky-high goals he (or his father) set for himself.

Who are the most memorable sports phenoms who couldn't match the hype? Let us know below...

Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com
posted by SI.com | View comments |


Posted: May 29, 2008 3:12 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Tony Mandarich
Jim McIlvaine
Dave Brown
Ron Dayne
Kordell Stewart
Most of the recent Penn State RB's who were drafted
Akili Smith
Most of the recent Detroit Lions WR's
Nick Saban
Posted: May 29, 2008 3:34 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Akili Smith wasn't even good enough for the CFL, seeing him live made me feel like I paid about $15 too much for my $15 ticket.
Posted: May 29, 2008 3:48 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
1993 NHL #1 Pick. Alexander Daigle
Posted: May 29, 2008 3:54 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I'm always amazed that people will even comment. Every one of those athletes could run faster backwards than either of the anonymous posters.
Posted: May 29, 2008 5:07 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Hate to think what "baited breath" would smell like!
Posted: May 29, 2008 5:43 PM   by Anonymous Mailman
drew henson anybody??
Posted: May 29, 2008 5:46 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
well you guys say darko milichek how about fredrick weiss 2st round new york knicks i ought to know i still live that nightmare today oh & julius jones dallas cowboys shoulds took stephen jackson
The "next Larry Bird", Michael Smith of BYU
Posted: May 29, 2008 6:18 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Tony Mandarich, the only collegiate player to ever make the All-Madden teams should be first on this list. Sam Bowie, drafted before a skinny guard from North Carolina. Brian Bosworth, Bo knows Boz. Rick Mirer and Ron Powlus, were supposed to be the second coming of Joe Montana, they even gave them Joe Cool's number 3 jersey to wear, but they never lived up to the hype. Andre Ware and David Klingler, set all kinds of NCAA records, terrible pros.
Posted: May 29, 2008 6:47 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Hideki Irabu...pronounced I-Rob-U
Posted: May 29, 2008 7:12 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
freddy adu
michelle wie
chan ho park
shawn bradley
Posted: May 29, 2008 7:16 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
How about Brian Bosworth, John Daly even though he wasn't drafted, he still sucks, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. who isn't drafted either, but will never win a championship.
Posted: May 29, 2008 7:41 PM   by Anonymous pmelchre
And I'm always amazed that comments from the dick above me get approved by the moderator.
Posted: May 29, 2008 8:21 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
^^Akili Smith^^
Posted: May 29, 2008 9:14 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Drew Henson
Posted: May 29, 2008 9:58 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Drew Henson Quaterback and Third baseman
Posted: May 29, 2008 10:36 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Redskin first round pick Mike Westbrook.
Posted: May 29, 2008 10:42 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Akili Smith
Andre Ware
Todd Marinovich
Chris Washburn
Shawn Bradley
Posted: May 30, 2008 12:08 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
such a stupid comment, so i can not comment on a basketball game because all the players are better then me.
Posted: May 30, 2008 2:58 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
It's the truth too. Every single one of those douches is a critic. Meanwhile, they would give their left nut, leg, and half their brain just to be one of those dudes for one hour,

Samy Fineman (not anonymous) Look me up.
Posted: May 30, 2008 6:31 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Its not about running faster than any of us, get that point, its about if they lived up to the expectations... so none of them did... or maybe you are one of those "soon to be, never been" stars
Posted: May 30, 2008 8:08 AM   by Anonymous Kenny
1993 NHL Entry Draft the Ottawa Senators took Alexander Daigle ahead of the likes of Paul Kariya and Chris Pronger.
Posted: May 30, 2008 9:09 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Alexander Daigle
Posted: May 30, 2008 9:15 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
While it is true that even these busts could run faster than the average Joe, the posts are for other athletes who do not live up to their potential, you dumb ass...
Posted: May 30, 2008 9:35 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Brian Lawton - Minnesota North Stars
Posted: May 30, 2008 9:59 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
#1 by far-Tony Mandarich. Was supposed to be the greatest physical specimen to hit the NFL.

JD Drew- Too good to go to Philly when they drafted him. Yeah Right!

Reggie Bush-still early but comparisons to Barry Sanders made me sick! He'll NEVER live up to that hype.

Michael Olowakandi- Average career at best after being selected #1 overall.

Soon to be OJ Mayo. Quite possibly the most overrated athlete I've ever seen in my life. If he survives 5 years in the NBA I'll be shocked.
Posted: May 30, 2008 10:41 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Although Eric Lindros had a fine career, he garnered so much hype that he had the stones to tell the Quebec Nordiques NO when they drafted him. He was billed as the cant miss next great one, and never lived up to it.
Posted: May 30, 2008 10:46 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
It amazes me these articles keep getting written. Ryan Leaf was a bad QB? really? Get out of town!
Posted: May 30, 2008 10:49 AM   by Anonymous Shaun
Eric Lindros
Dan "Bid Daddy" Wilkinson
Ricky Williams
Ralph Sampson
Kwame Brown
Posted: May 30, 2008 11:06 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Felipe Lopez
Posted: May 30, 2008 11:24 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
felipe lopez
Posted: May 30, 2008 11:52 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
99 percent of all these well-chosen "overhyped phenoms" are just that because Sports Illustrated and ESPN hyped these guys trying to sell mags and attract ratings. Shows you what sportswriters know.
Posted: May 30, 2008 12:06 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Sergio Garcia, Rashann Sallamm, Rocco Baldelli, Phil Hughes (For now), Tyrone Wheatly, Kordell Stewart, Paul Wilson, of the METS- remember that fearsome foursome of starters they were supposed to have back then, they all sucked until Isringhasin showed up late, Mark Prior, Craig Hanson, Mark Mulder, Bryan Bullington, Kwame Brown, Jayson Williams- DUke, Sebastian Telfair, Steve Emtman, Dan Wilkinson, Health Shuler, Danny Warfeul, Ki-Jana Carter, Peter Warwick, Andre Wadsworth, Curtis Enis, Tim COuch, David Boston, Courtney Brown, Gerard Warren, MICHAEL VICK, David Carr, Joey HArrington, Charles Rogers, Mike Williams (the wideout from USC), Robert Gallery, Alex Smith, SOON TO BE Jamarcus Russell
Posted: May 30, 2008 12:10 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Felipe Lopez
Posted: May 30, 2008 12:11 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
David Clyde, a high school pitching phenom from Houston, was drafted first by the Texas Rangers in the 70's and was sent directly to the Show. It was a circus. He was out of baseball after parts of 5 seasons.
Posted: May 30, 2008 12:22 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Posted: May 30, 2008 12:47 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Two Words - Jeff George!
Posted: May 30, 2008 12:52 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
David Clyde
Posted: May 30, 2008 1:06 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Pretty much any Bengals 1st rounder in the 90's.

And we can't ignore Alex Daigle's famous quote "Nobody remembers who was drafted #2." Hint - #2 has won a Stanley Cup, Norris Trophy and a league MVP.
Posted: May 30, 2008 1:18 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Tyrone Wheatley
Freddy Adu and Michelle Wie are still teenagers - it's much too early to call them out.

I would add Ralph Sampson.
Posted: May 30, 2008 1:41 PM   by Anonymous Mike
Kwame Brown!
Posted: May 30, 2008 2:39 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Hideki Irabu!
I live in Binghamton, home of the Mets' AA club and when the Norwich Navigators had Irabu start his first professional American game in Binghamton, not only was the stadium packed with fans but the media American AND Japanese were flocking to the stadium. Of course within the first inning or so the B-Mets rocked Irabu for upwards of seven runs. YET, the Yankees didnt see this as a precursor to what would happen, and they called him up to the bigs after 2 or 3 more starts. HAHAHAHA!
Posted: May 30, 2008 2:59 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
billy ripken
Posted: May 30, 2008 3:06 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Someone needs a sedative. As the first poster in this list, I simply answered the question. I never said that these people were bad athletes or bad people. The author asked which athletes weren't able to convert from college to the pros.

Yes, it would be nice to have their abilities for a little while, but sports entertainment has become a high-priced ticket. When you spend $4 for a bleacher seat at a minor league baseball game, you don't hear many boos, but when tickets cost $100 - $1000 each and someone doesn't play up to snuff, you now have the consumer who feels shortchanged.
Posted: May 30, 2008 5:14 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
"I'm always amazed that people will even comment. Every one of those athletes could run faster backwards than either of the anonymous posters."

Thats not the point bud. These athletes get paid mind boggling amount of money to do what they do. We as fans have the right to post on these topics because we help pay their salaries. Bad mouthing pro athletes is nothing new, there were just no forums like these in the past for fans to speak their minds. So get off your high horse pal.
Posted: May 30, 2008 6:25 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Freddy Adu? Playing on the national team hardly a bust makes...
It's "bated breath" (as in short for abated, i.e. held). Not "baited."

Someone who gets paid to write should know that.
J.J. Reddick
Desmond Howard
Aundray Bruce
Michael Olowakandi
Gino Torretta
Posted: May 31, 2008 10:03 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Representing the southern region of the North Coast:

Courtney Brown
Gerard Warren
Butch Davis
Posted: May 31, 2008 12:03 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
soon-to-be tyler hansbrough
Posted: May 31, 2008 1:11 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
The guy that said Drew Henson below is right, he not only was a flop, he flopped in baseball and football, a feat that not many can lay claim to.
Posted: May 31, 2008 1:46 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Kordell Stewart was harsh.
How about Brian Bosworth?
Posted: May 31, 2008 2:20 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Sam Bowie. Remember the guy PDX drafted ahead of a fellow named Jordan when they lost the coin flip for Olajuan?
Posted: May 31, 2008 5:39 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
bryant "big country" reeves.
Posted: May 31, 2008 6:19 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Tim Couch???? Courtney Brown??? im a browns fan so i maybe a lil bias but Tim Couch over Mcnabb, Holt, Edge, Champ??? still hurts...
Posted: May 31, 2008 7:14 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Scott May, anyone???
Posted: May 31, 2008 7:14 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
baseball fans watched with BATED breath
Have we forgotten the massive talent that was LaRue Martin? Drafted No. 1 overall by the Trailblazers, thereby creating a gigantic sucking sound that was heard throughout the Pacific Northwest for the next two decades.
Posted: May 31, 2008 7:26 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Clint Hurdle. Supposed to be the next big thing before the term "next big thing" was invented.
Posted: May 31, 2008 7:28 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
This whole "you can't play so you can't comment" thing is garbage. It is true- if I was drafted in the 1st round of the NBA I would be a bust, that said I am 5"10 145 not very good at basketball and won't get drafted. This is not a contest about the worst players, it is the worst players who everyone thought would be good.
Posted: May 31, 2008 7:32 PM   by Blogger Mo
Kwame Brown, Kwame Brown, Kwame Brown and Kwame Brown.

BTW did I mention Kwame Brown?
Posted: May 31, 2008 7:36 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
"I'm always amazed that people will even comment. Every one of those athletes could run faster backwards than either of the anonymous posters."

And a drunken Ernest Hemingway scribbling on a bathroom wall in a Key West bathroom circa 1950 is better than your writing. And yet you graced the world with it regardless!

The point is, they are not to be compared to us. They are to be compared to their peers, and judged by their pay, and their performance in relationship to their "hype."

It should also be noted, this article is as much a statement about journalists, and their ability to recognize talent, or the lack thereof, as it is about these athletes.
Posted: May 31, 2008 7:41 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Eric Lindros
The Arizona Cardinals
Posted: May 31, 2008 7:46 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Luke Walton...over hyped by his dad his biggest and one and only fan.
Posted: May 31, 2008 7:49 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Eli Manning - Crybaby of the 2004 draft. I thought he was gonna join "As the World Turns".
Patrick Ewing was the most overrated player in the history of team sports. Selfish, lazy and "uncoachable" (when the Knicks were winning, he told the coach "I'm not gettin my touches," and got the coach fired. We call him peee-ew ing in NYC
Posted: May 31, 2008 8:17 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Levy Lee from Topeka, Ks
Marcus Dupree
Posted: May 31, 2008 8:23 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Marijuanavich of course, but I always think of the hype of Benoit Benjamin as being overdone. He came in to the NBA with Don King as his agent (or manager) so was hyped to the moon. He was a decent player, but couldn't justify the money King was trying to get.
Posted: May 31, 2008 8:45 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Not drafted, but Danica Patrick has to be up there. She is a big part of the media hype machine. If anyone thinks that the Japan 300 wasn't a gimme, is not paying attention. That race is meaningless. Besides, people were starting to question her driving capabilities and if she could win a race. Loosing doesn't sell products....
I'll concur that we expect pro athletes to give us the bang for the buck. But in the old days, it used to every boy's dream (prior to title IX) to be a great college athlete and it was just gravy to become a pro.

Now, sadly being a great college athlete is just a means to an end.
Although it pains me as an Irish fan to say this, I have to go w/ Rick Mirer and Ron Powlus. Mirer was great in college, very much bolleyhooed ... but did not pan out w/ the Seahawks or any other team he played for. Powlus, was incredibly hyped up going into college. I believe Beano Cook predicted he would win 3-4 Heismans. He one zero and never played in the NFL to my knowledge.
Don't forget Jim Drukenmiller . And who was that linebacker who reported for his first practice with the Vikings in a chopper? He was such a bust I cannot even remember his name, and he was a Heisman winner I think...
Byron Leftwich. I was way wrong about him.

For some random reason I remember Beano Cook saying that Ron Powlous would win three Heismans. :D
Posted: May 31, 2008 9:26 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
David Clyde
Posted: May 31, 2008 9:59 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Ben McDonald, Orioles pitching phenom of the late 1980's who couldn't keep his pitches from flying over outfield walls once they left the bats of opposing hitters.
Posted: May 31, 2008 10:05 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Ryan Leaf didn't retire. He quit! You can't retire after a mediocre career that lasted all of 5 years. It's flat out quitting.
Alexander Daigle. The amount of money he was given and the zero production he produced is basically the reason why rookies never get big money until they prove themselves in the NHL.

Plus that quote was priceless about the 2nd round pick, who is Chris Pronger.
Oh yeah, and about Daigle... he is still living good after all these years because of the amount of money he was given.
Posted: May 31, 2008 10:21 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Evil Nike creation Michelle Wie!!
Posted: May 31, 2008 10:25 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Shevchenko at Chelsea.
Posted: May 31, 2008 10:50 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Joe Charbonneau. I'm a little surprised nobody's mentioned him.
Posted: May 31, 2008 10:53 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Anybody remember Damon Bailey? I guess you almost have to have been forgotten about to make this list, but Bailey was Mr. Hype from 8th grade on. He was successful in high school but only had moderate success in college and no success in the NBA. He was back coaching his old high school team but believe he only lasted one season.
Posted: May 31, 2008 10:54 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Brian Bosworth... if you're old enough to remember, he was one of those guys who was "all over the place" media-wise before he did *anything* in the NFL. I was lucky enough to watch that game against the Raiders (Sunday night... Monday night...?) when Bo Jackson ran over/through him in the end zone like he was made of paper. Which he evidently was.
Posted: May 31, 2008 11:15 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Brian Bosworth!!!!!!
Posted: May 31, 2008 11:31 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Sin Finch
Posted: May 31, 2008 11:32 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Posted: May 31, 2008 11:37 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Gotta go with "Baby Jordan" Harold Miner.

I can remember his Nike commercial where he says [paraphrasing] "People say I am the next Michael Jordan, maybe I will just be the first Harold Miner."

Should have stuck with being the next Jordan, Harold!
How about anna kournikova? Never did win a single championship...
Posted: May 31, 2008 11:41 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Toe Nash
Posted: May 31, 2008 11:48 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
The Spring Training COVER of Sports Illustrated in about 1974 had only the word "Phenom" on it and a picture of an up and coming Kansas City Royal on it.

No, it wasn't George Brett. It was some dude named Clint Hurdle. Nice enough guy. Good baseball man. Loyal almost to a fault. Damn good manager for the Rockies. But definitely did NOT pan out as anything CLOSE to his hype, which was a lot for that time.
Posted: May 31, 2008 11:51 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Tony Mandarich! I remember the cover, SI!

What Packer fan, myself included, cursed the team everytime we played the Lions? We coulda had Barry Sanders but instead took juicer! The football gods made us suffer for that outrage for years...
Posted: May 31, 2008 11:55 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
O.J. Simpson
Posted: May 31, 2008 11:57 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Gerry Cooney
Posted: June 1, 2008 12:07 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
No one ever drafted me. That was the biggest mistake of all.
Posted: June 1, 2008 12:11 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
george bush
jimmy carter
Posted: June 1, 2008 12:18 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Maurice Clarett

Ty Tryon (the next Tiger Woods)

Eric Lindros

Brian Bosworth

Tony Mandrich
Posted: June 1, 2008 1:43 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I would like to know , just as a bit of general information, does any body actually think before responding to this nonsense ?

These "phenoms" did not make the hype , those screeming belchers of ballyhoo, the ratings-prostitute Neilsen streetwalkers and asinine personality promoters did the hyping.
So some players did not live up to a claim that they did not make -- to a reputation that they did not earn ....shocking !
Some of those here posting may believe themselves to be well informed , logical, maybe even intelligent.
Don't look now sportsfans , but some of you clearly are not quite up to scratch. That is if the sports world is one where facts, logic and chains of reasooning involving cause and effect are still allowed to have their moment. Some of you need to break the apparent habit of a lifetime and actually think -- for yourself that is .
Anna Kournikova--"tennis phenom"--who did not win a single tournament.
Posted: June 1, 2008 2:26 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Kent Benson: Much-heralded bruiser center from Indiana imploded in the 1976 pre-season. It was all caught on tape from a baseline photographer: Benson runs downcourt, sets up in the post and elbows Kareem Abdul-jabbar in the abdomen. Kareem falls in front of the camera, gets up, calmly walks up to Benson and clobbers him in the jaw. Kareem injured his hand while breaking Benson's jaw (and ending his career).
Posted: June 1, 2008 2:45 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
don't you mean "bated breath?' go look it up!
Posted: June 1, 2008 3:06 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Heath Schuler.

He left the NFL a multimillionaire and is a Congressman from North Carolina now.

So, he just ended up somewhere else where he can again do nothing and get paid well for it.
Posted: June 1, 2008 3:24 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Patrik Stefan, 1st Overall Pick in 1999 NHL Entry Draft by the Atlanta Thrashers. Later traded to the Dallas Stars, where he ended his lackluster career at the age of 27. Champ!
Posted: June 1, 2008 3:47 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Daigle, totally. And I'd say Daigle moreso than most of those on the list.
Posted: June 1, 2008 4:49 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
How could you forget Brian Bosworth? I remember all the hype about him and his stupid hair. On a personal note, I actually met Todd Van Poppel when he was pitching for the Medford A's in the minors. He was a nice enough guy but man did his acne make it hard to look at him in the face!
Posted: June 1, 2008 5:43 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Joe Don Looney
Next case.
Posted: June 1, 2008 7:25 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
100% Alexander Daigle (NHL) In 1993 Ottawa Senators chose the Center (Daigle and signed him to biggest entry level contract of 12 Million and the guy never amounted to anything. Other players chosen after Daigle in same draft include Chris Pronger, Paul Kariya, and Nashville's Jason Arnott. Crazy stuff !!
The second-generation Nicklaus, the second-generation Miller, and the second-generation Player, all PGA flameouts. Still in the PGA, Bobby Clampett leads, but he actually won a tournament.
Michelle Wie is in contention on the distaff side of the ball.
Posted: June 1, 2008 8:36 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
chan ho park has had a pretty decent career.
landon donovan was supposed to be the great american hope for soccer, turned out to be the baseball equivalant of a AAAA player.
Archie Griffin
Tim Couch
Posted: June 1, 2008 10:00 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I'm a huge Duke fan, but I have to go with Christian Laettner. He was the dominant college player of his time, even securing a place on the original Dream Team. This third overall draft pick finished his career with a 13, 7, and 2 stat line.
Posted: June 1, 2008 10:48 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Blair Thomas
Posted: June 1, 2008 11:02 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Kerry Wood.
Sidd Finch
Posted: June 1, 2008 11:16 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Ben McDonald was supposed to be this all-world pitcher out of LSU, I think it was. He went to the O's and, well, flopped. His story was comparable to Brien Taylor's.

The NBA draft has devolved to a point where it's not appropriate to include basketball stars any more. I mean, Patrick O'Bryant was a lottery pick who consequently flopped - in the D-league.
Posted: June 1, 2008 11:45 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Joey Harrington (remember him?)
#1-Heath Shuler
#2-While still on my beloved Redskins, Steve Spurrier as coach.
Posted: June 1, 2008 12:17 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I went to High School with Marjuanavich and I tell you, he definitely deserves to be placed on this list. Good call!
Posted: June 1, 2008 12:42 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Bill Willoughby
Ralph Sampson
Sam Bowie
Albert King
Posted: June 1, 2008 12:47 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Ya...I remember when Van Poppel's baseball card was being hyp-ed as the next big investment opportunity. OOPS!
Posted: June 1, 2008 12:59 PM   by Anonymous dennisdawg
But while you're commenting on players still active,remember: at this time, last year, Eli Manning would've have headed almost every list. No more, tho.
Posted: June 1, 2008 1:16 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I must be getting old. Almost nobody seems to have mentioned Brian Bosworth, the "flamboyant bad-boy" Oklahoma linebacker who was the subject of a full-length Sports Illustrated cover story as a college player. He went to the Seattle Seahawks with a huge signing bonus, and had crashed out of pro football after, what? One or two seasons? RIP, Bos.
Posted: June 1, 2008 2:09 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
"Baited breath"? Give me a break. I think you meant "bated breath." See http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/baited.html. And somebody do some proofreading, OK?
I'm surprised few people said Jay Williams, after he won Player of the Year in college basketball at Duke and then was an idiot and crashed his motorcycle. Maybe it's because no one remembers him anymore.

Also, for players like Mike Vick and Mark Prior, I think it's a fine line.

Mike Vick was pretty darn good before he was an idiot, so in the time he had, I think he lived up to the hype.

For Mark Prior, I would say he did live up to the hype because it wasn't really his fault or a problem with his real talent level. After going 18-6 (including 10-1 after the All-Star break) in 2003 and a 3rd place finish in the Cy Young voting, I think we all agree that he lived up to his hype that year. It was a problem with Dusty Baker stretching his young pitchers (such as Prior and Wood, among others) too far and ultimately, causing career-changing injuries.
I'm surprised more people haven't mentioned Jay Williams (I only saw two people) after he won PotY honors at Duke and then was an idiot and crashed his motorcycle.

Concerning players like Mike Vick and Mark Prior, I think it's a fine line.

Mike Vick was pretty darn good for a long time before he was an idiot, so I wouldn't include him in this discussion.

For Mark Prior, I wouldn't include him because it wasn't really a problem with his talent level, and his problems weren't really his fault. After an 18-6 season and a 3rd place finish in the NL Cy Young voting in 2003, I think we all agree that he lived up to expectations for that season. Dusty Baker's tendency to stretch his young pitchers (such as Prior and Kerry Wood) too far ultimately caused their career-altering injuries.
Posted: June 1, 2008 2:50 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Hmmm. "baited breath" I also recently saw "peaked my interest." I understand that the guy writing this probably just got out of college, but the editor should catch errors.
Posted: June 1, 2008 3:05 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Sam Bowie - Drafted 2nd, ahead of Michael Jordan

Christian Laettner (put in the Darko category)
Posted: June 1, 2008 3:06 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Luc Longley
Posted: June 1, 2008 3:47 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Heath Shuler (Redskins)

Kwame Brown (Wizards)
Posted: June 1, 2008 4:01 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
No mention of Sam Bowie who was drafted by the Blazers at number two instead of MJ.
Most over-rated: Derek Jeter.
Posted: June 1, 2008 6:43 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
LaVar Arrington
Posted: June 1, 2008 7:10 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Summer Sanders. Everyone said that she would dominate the 1992 Olympics but got a medals in the IMs, and only got a individual in the 200 fly.
Posted: June 1, 2008 7:29 PM   by Anonymous Mark
Herschel Walker! You know what the Vikings gave up for him? That's why the Cowboys have been so GOOD ever since!!!
Posted: June 1, 2008 10:07 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Some loser on may 29,2008 and 3-12 pm dissed my ron dayne. Ron Dayne is amazing, obviously you didn't see him playing at Wisconsin. So he didn't have the greatest NFL career, but he's about a million times better then the loser who dissed him will ever be.
Posted: June 1, 2008 10:09 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
It's "bated", not "baited"
Kwame Brown (Wizards and Lakers).
Posted: June 1, 2008 11:31 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
The more I think about it, the more I believe that the people on their high horses are simply blog trolls...
Posted: June 2, 2008 12:09 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
1. Tony Mandarich
2. Rashaan Salaam
3. Tim Couch
4. Curtis Enis
5. Todd Marinovich
6. Brian Bosworth
7. Ryan Leaf
8. Lawrence Phillips
9. Akili Smith
10. Charlie Ward
11. Andre Ware
Posted: June 2, 2008 12:33 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
How about Joe Don Looney?
Posted: June 2, 2008 12:34 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Schea Cotton
Posted: June 2, 2008 12:45 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Ricky Williams
Herschel Walker

Damn near every Heisman winner.
How can someone list Mark Mulder? He won a freakin Cy Young award and dominated for years as one of the A's "Big 3" til shoulder injuries. I would say he lived up to the hype.
Jonathan Bender, anyone?
Wow. I haven't thought of Joe Don Looney in many many years. He was a bona fide pure-dee grade A psycho, by all reports. I remember a story of him the week of one of the Cotton Bowls, creating mayhem and assault in downtown D and the like. I never knew anything about him as a player, only as a felon who wasn't prosecuted because, well, you know, football and Texas.
You needed Tony Mandrich on this list. e was supposed to be the ultimate blocking machine and washed out after a dull career.
Okay, wait a minute. Somebody mentioned that Jeter guy whose salary is higher than that of many enttire rosters. But, you don't fault a closer for not doing well in the early innings, do you? You don't dis a middle reliever for not finishing, I hope? So why blame Mr May for disappearing before the post-season?
Note: You use flavored Listerine before you go out on a date; that's "baited breath."
Posted: June 2, 2008 12:17 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Shawn Bradley was supposed to be the most unstoppable force to ever hit the NBA when he was drafted #1 overall by the Sixers. He went on to have a career of getting highlight dunked on over and over.
Posted: June 2, 2008 1:18 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Arazi and Fusaichi Pegasus
Posted: June 2, 2008 2:00 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Len Bias
Posted: June 2, 2008 2:05 PM   by Anonymous D-Love
Can't believe no one has mentioned Danny Ferry!
Posted: June 2, 2008 2:46 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
In response to previous statement:

freddy adu - He's 19 today. Hardly a wash. In fact, he's maturing nicely in Portugal.

michelle wie - She's also 19. Where do you get off naming these people?

chan ho park - Not exactly bad, got about 30-40 more wins than loses.

shawn bradley - The only name that belongs here.
Posted: June 2, 2008 3:39 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Tom Brady, would be nothing without the cheating.
Posted: June 2, 2008 5:54 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Sebastian Telfair. He had his own show before he was even a pro.
Posted: June 2, 2008 6:27 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
How can you say Freddy Adu belongs on this list? He's playing in Portugal now which sadly is way better than MLS will be for a long time.

Sold out to George Steinbrenner for $17 million so he would not play at Michigan and whip the Buckeyes. Never got past AAA at Columbus. LOSER!
Posted: June 2, 2008 11:04 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Here's one for you Brown's fans... How about Mike Junkin, the "mad dog in a meat market"
Posted: June 3, 2008 3:16 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Probably going to have to start including Mark Prior in these lists soon as he's just injury prone and will never live up to his talent level.
Posted: June 3, 2008 9:45 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Im kind of foggy on the details of this one, but...

Do any of you remember the Dan and Dave Nike commercials of the Decalthalon athletes from the Olympics in '92.

I think it was Dan that didnt even make the Olympic team and Dave finished about 10th.
In the field of undeserved notoriety, we must include Brandi Chastain. The 1999 Womens FIFA final ended in a shoot-out. The advantage is always with the shooter in a penalty kick. This is why the huge proportion of them are successful. That is why 9 out of 10 of the shots were scores in this phase that year. So you must credit goaltender Brianna Scurry for the only stop, which meant the victory. Although Ms Chastain is the one who removed her top, thus she became the poster girl.
Posted: June 3, 2008 7:02 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Rashaan Salaam
Kijana Carter
Matt Bush( #1 overall pick in MLB draft 2003, Will most likely never see the pros)
Posted: June 3, 2008 7:04 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
To the person talkin about us commenting on athletes who can "faster backwards than either of the anonymous posters"...NO SHIT, but noone is paying us to run fast. These dickheads still made millions of dollars for sucking
I have to say that I'm shocked to see that Greg Oden's name hasn't been mentioned yet.

This guy was supposed to be the second coming of LeBron James, and he blows his knee out before the season even begins.

Also, to the person who said Kordell Stewart didn't live up to his hype, I have to say I agree, but disagree. He kinda sucked as a quarterback, but when he was "Slash", he was the shit and you know it.
Posted: June 4, 2008 8:50 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
tremonius, you have merely demonstrated how little you know about women's soccer. Brandi Chastain was a terrific player who made 192 appearances and scored 30 goals for the U.S. National team (despite playing as a defender for several dozen of her caps). She was a member of two World Cup champion teams and two Olympic gold medal teams, starting most of those games. She never had much hype to begin with, an she more than lived up to what little she may have had. Your rant about the penalty-kick shootout completely ignores the kind of player she was.
Posted: June 4, 2008 8:59 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Barry Zito
Brandi (I guess) say: "tremonius, you have merely demonstrated how little you know about women's soccer."

Here's what I know about some other stuff.

There is a new book on the shelves about the greatest game ever, the '58 NFL champeenship. It was, as I remember, not particular exciting. Ameche grinds over the goal in overtime. Many many were more thrilling. No, what made this one so memorable for ancient sportswriters is, it was the last White Boy Bowl. After that, integration.

Bo Diddley didn't get diddley, and you don't hear about T Bone Walker neither. Just let a white boy take their goods and present 'em. Elvis.

Great, great Jazz drummers. Jo Jones, Max Roach, Philly Joe Jones, Chick Webb. But who has the gig outdoors in the ball park, the Carnegie Hall concert, and the movie on his life? Right; Gene Krupa, white boy.

Brianna Scurry saved the day for the Americans that game in 1999. However, Brianna Scurry isn't white. So Brandi Chastain takes off her top after doing what 90% of the other players on both teams had done, and she becomes the poster girl.

She had a good career. Great. But she drew back more than she deserved for this game, and it had nothing to do with the game itself.
Posted: June 4, 2008 2:10 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Harold Miner "Baby Jordan"
Posted: June 4, 2008 3:59 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
tremonius is a racist idiotus
Posted: June 5, 2008 12:48 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Any Duke basketball player. Some have had 10 year NBA careers, but none have lived up to the hype they recieved in college.
Posted: June 8, 2008 9:44 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Who the heck put Tom Brady in there? Saying he'd be nothing without cheating???
Posted: June 10, 2008 2:53 PM   by Anonymous BearsFan
Any (and every) running back selected by Da Bears since 1986.
Posted: June 12, 2008 11:36 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Len Bias couldn't live up to the hype since he was derad before ever stepping onto the Celtics court.

Whoever put Gerry Cooney on the list is wrong. Cooney demolished his opponents and was leading on 2 out of 3 score cards when Larry Holmes stopped him in the 13 rd of their world title fight. Hardly a flop.
Posted: June 20, 2008 4:00 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Sidd Finch
Posted: June 20, 2008 2:00 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Danny Ferry of the Cavs. The price they paid for him kept Cleveland out of contention for nearly a decade.
Posted: June 25, 2008 1:17 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Health Shuler
Posted: June 25, 2008 2:50 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Posted: June 25, 2008 2:51 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
sean dockery and eddie curry???
both had high school show in chicago preps while being ranked nationally
Posted: June 26, 2008 3:31 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Harold Miner - Baby Jordan? haha
Posted: June 28, 2008 8:34 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
felipe lopez
Posted: July 4, 2008 6:24 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
A lot of QB's.

Cade McNown, Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith, Kordell Stewart....
Posted: August 22, 2008 2:03 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Art Schlister Ohio State Gambling QB.
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