(Note: This video is from last year.)
Q: What happens when you’re a white, undersized, slow college basketball superstar who can barely jump over a credit card?
A: You get labeled as an inevitable NBA bust.
Thus is the life of the Celtics’ newest goofy-looking, pasty-skinned big man, Luke Harangody. Think Brian Scalabrine mixed with college statistics that would make even Christian Laettner jealous.
Despite having his way with college basketball the past few years, despite being a three-time All-American, one-time Big East Player of the Year, and the only Big East player to ever average 20-10 in conference play during an entire career, Harangody’s accomplishments have always come with an asterisk: *Draft at your own peril.
Harangody could have scored 35 points per game and pulled in 14 rebounds every night, but it wouldn’t have changed the fact that he’s 180° from the NBA prototype. (Boston Globe)
“I’ve had to deal with that,’’ Harangody said. “I put my name in the draft last year and I’ve heard it ever since that you’re going to be a second-rounder, but that only just motivates me more. I feel like I’ve put my dues in college and I wasn’t good enough to get in the first round but I kind of just have to start over again and do the same thing as when I came to college because I wasn’t really a big name then. I have the motivation and it’s great. I’ve got to start all over again, and I’m just another player.’’
I’m one of the doubters. I loved Harangody’s game in college, but he’s going to have to seriously improve his athleticism if he expects to make it in the League. Still, as Harangody would be the first to tell me and all those other nay-sayers out there, his physical limitations haven’t slowed him down yet.
If Harangody has anything to say about it, he’ll continue to keep those limitations — obvious to everyone else — well in his rearview mirror. This is the same guy who was banned from playing one-on-one against his brother while growing up because the games would undoubtedly evaporate into fist fights; who thought he was never going to amount to anything when Rob Kurz continuously kicked his ass during freshman practices, then became Big East Rookie of the Year; who once tied his previous personal-best in bench press, but was so furious he didn’t beat it that he kept trying time after time even though he was already dead tired.
Harangody’s not wired like the rest of us. It’s why, for four years, he was able to succeed against players bigger, longer, and more athletic than he. Scratch that, he didn’t merely succeed — he dominated. Tell him he’s too short and he’ll dunk on you. Tell him he’s too slow and he’ll drive right by you. Tell him he’s not good enough and he’ll slap 20 and 10 on you, all while you wonder how in the world this farmer-looking dude keeps scoring buckets.
Can he still do it in the NBA? Against all odds, can Luke Harangody still be an impact player at the Next Level? Only time will tell, but if he fails to be a good pro I’ll bet you one thing: It won’t be because of any lack of effort.
It will simply be because those damn limitations, the same ones he’s been able to keep in his wake for so long, might finally rear their ugly heads.