Javier Morales took first place in the 2010 Arizona Press Club’s Metro Sports Reporting category. For a different look at University of Arizona sports, check out Javier’s unique Web site: WILDABOUTAZCATS.net
Former Arizona center Sean Rooks, who went from being a redshirt player in Lute Olson’s program to a 12-year NBA veteran, knows what it takes to work from the ground up.
After learning Wednesday about former Arizona guard Josiah Turner’s decision to turn pro instead of transferring to SMU, Rooks believes today’s young players dangerously believe they can shoot right to the top. Turner told Yahoo Sports on Wednesday that he wants to pursue his dream of a pro career — starting in either the NBA’s Developmental League or overseas — rather than continue his collegiate career.
“(It’s) sad where sports has gone,” Rooks wrote on a thread on my Facebook page. “Kids have the 40-inch vertical (leap), the killer cross over … Everybody wants to be a PRO for all the wrong reasons but yet can’t make it through a year of school … (they) think it’s that easy to adapt to a professional life.”
Rooks not only survived but flourished in the NBA despite a second-round selection in the 1992 draft. According to Basketball-Reference.com, Rooks earned $17.2 million for seven different NBA teams. And that does not include the two years (2005 and 2006) in Spain that concluded his career.
He went from averaging 5.6 points and 2.8 rebounds as a redshirt freshman in 1988-89 — Sean Elliott’s senior season — to posting 16.3 points and 6.9 rebounds a game as a senior in 1991-92. A four-year college career is becoming the exception rather than the norm for NBA-bound players these days.