Shue finally saw
Dawkins in the state tournament in Jacksonville. That night, Williams, who was
at the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in North Carolina, remembered being
so anxious to hear Shue's reaction that he pulled off the road and called the
coach's motel room from a pay phone. Shue, as the others before him, couldn't
believe the size of Dawkins. "He was a giant playing with little kids. He
did unbelievable things on the court for someone that size," Shue recalls.
However, Shue noticed something else, an omen of things to come. "Even then
he was inconsistent. He did the good things only every so often," he
thought about scouting a high school player after the Utah Stars of the
American Basketball Association drafted Moses Malone out of Petersburg. Va., in
1974. "I wondered if there was another Moses out there." Williams says.
So he put together a list of high school players who had the potential to be in
There were but
three names: Bill Cartwright, Bill Willoughby and Dawkins. After seeing each of
those players, and also weighing the merits of Marvin Webster, Joe Meriweather
and Rich Kelley, the top senior centers coming out that year, the Sixers staff
decided that Dawkins was worth the gamble.
When he heard the
news, Al Domenico, the 76ers trainer, thought, "Are we nuts? What can you
possibly do with a kid coming out of high school?" Steve Mix, one of the
team's veterans, remembers wondering "why we wasted a good draft
Others had few
doubts. McMahon, one of the league's most astute judges of talent, thought
Dawkins "was probably still going to grow. He could possibly get to seven
foot three in a few years. No other center at that time had that
"When is your birthday, Darryl?"
"Every year," Chocolate Thunder retorted.
Being 18 is a
time for many things in a young man's life. It is a time to rejoice in that
feeling of invincibility that youth brings. There are cars, girls, parties,
hanging out with the guys, sports. And in the privacy of his room an
18-year-old stares at the posters of his favorite professional stars, and
dreams. But what do you do when the next time you walk out your door the dream