Luke Recker and Reggie Evans surely have heard all the jokes.
They've listened to the basketball know-it-alls who've been saying they hope the former Iowa players took plenty of foreign-language courses in school because they'll be needing them when they play in their next league overseas.
Neither, of course, was chosen in the recent NBA draft. Recker was particularly disappointed, and there will be more on that later in this column.
So now, both Recker and Evans are scrambling. They're playing in summer leagues, trying to find a team that needs them.
Who knows, maybe they'll get lucky.
Maybe the Miami Heat or some other team will need a guy like Recker who has lost weight, finally gotten into shape and who, at times, can be a shooter deluxe.
Maybe the Minnesota Timberwolves or some other team will overlook the fact that Evans is one-dimensional and take a liking to his tenacious rebounding ability.
The good thing is both at least have a chance to prove that the NBA teams made mistakes by not drafting them.
Recker and Evans are among several former Hawkeyes playing in NBA summer leagues.
Recker was on the Heat's summer league roster. He had a couple of 15-point games while helping his team to a 5-0 record. Orlando and Detroit tied for second place in the final standings with 3-2 records.
Evans was invited to the Timberwolves' five-day mini-camp.
Dean Oliver, who spent some time with the Golden State Warriors last season, is on the Milwaukee Bucks' summer team made up of rookies and free agents.
J. R. Koch, who played in France last season and has also competed in Belgium and in the defunct International Basketball League, is with the Pacers' summer league team. He was a second-round draft choice of the New York Knicks in 1999, but didn't make the squad.
Recker, who averaged 18.1 points for Iowa as a senior, said he was very disappointed to not get chosen in the NBA draft. What made it worse was that people who supposedly know about such things kept telling him he'd be drafted.
"Most teams were saying, ‘You're going somewhere, don't worry about it,' Recker told the Miami Herald. "Then to not hear your name called was a big disappointment. It was hard. I couldn't really sleep that night. It was something I'd worked for all my life.''
Memo to Recker: Next time, don't listen to all of those voices. They tell you only what you want to hear.
Now, as the Florida paper says, Recker is "fighting for his basketball life. No paycheck. No fancy cars. Just free lodging, a per diem and an opportunity."
The paper added it's "difficult to say what Recker's NBA chances are. There were several teams inquiring about his services after the draft, but knowing the Heat lacked pure shooters, he signed with Miami.
"After playing sparingly in Miami's first game Tuesday, Recker made a splash Wednesday with a game-high 15 points and five rebounds, shooting 6 for 12 from the field. But even a strong performance (in the summer league) won't necessarily translate into an NBA future.''
Here & There
Is there a more pitiful person in sports than baseball commissioner Bud Selig?....I don't know if Bruce Kimm is using mirrors, a Ouiji Board, a bunch of oxygen masks or what, but the Cubs—the Chicago version—are showing they aren't ready to be put to sleep quite yet. But don't bet your last dollar that Kimm will be rehired for the 2003 season. The Cubs aren't that smart. Also, before you start getting excited about the Cubs, remember that they can't play Florida forever. The Florida players don't even want to play for that team anymore.....And, by the way, has anyone in Des Moines heard from Whitey Herzog lately?....Herm Rohrig, 84, who was supervisor of football and basketball officials in the Big Ten for 16 years, died Sunday in Lincoln, Neb…..Just so you'd know, I also conducted a very unscientific poll on who Iowa's next governor should be. Mike Gartner finished dead last in that one, too. He didn't get a single vote. Steve Deace and I finished in a tie for first, but I'm letting Deace take the job because I'm too busy.....If the baseball players go on strike as expected in August or September, don't look for me to ever spend another nickel at a major league park......Memo to my good friend Rob Borsellino: Just be glad you're not the Indiana Pacers' play-by-play announcer. Then you'd have to actually pronounce the last name of that 7-1 player from Italy throughout a broadcast. But I know you're always careful with how you handle the letter "u.'' And, if you and I are someday the two finalists for that Pacers' play-by-play job, you'll get my vote in the tie-breaker—especially if that Italian guy is on the team. Somehow I think I'd keep screwing up the guy's name.
Anybody around town miss the Barnstormers yet?
Ronald Wesley Maly
Vol. 2, No. 38
July 15, 2002
[Maly's e-mail address is email@example.com]