The NBA Draft has come and gone. Four players from Syracuse University were eligible to have their name called among the 60 selections. Dion Waiters was first to advance when the Cleveland Cavaliers made him the fourth overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft. Fab Melo followed, joining the Boston Celtics who chose him with the twenty-second overall selection. Then came the second round, where the Boston Celtics reunited Melo with his Orange teammate, Kris Joseph, drafting him fifty-first overall. 60 were called, but Waiters, Melo, and Joseph never heard the name of their floor general, Scoop Jardine.
Jardine had suffered an injury to his foot while preparing for the NBA Draft in a workout with the Utah Jazz. He stated that he went to lay the ball up and came down with his defender, hearing his foot pop. The injury required surgery, which resulted in Jardine having to wear a cast. The cast, according to Jardine, was taken off this week on July 24.
"I'm going to try to be back by October for training camp. That's the goal I'm pushing for," said Jardine.
The injury took its toll on the recent graduate.
"I've really never been hurt before," he said. "Going to get surgery was really stressful. And the time of it all, you know, being four or five days before the draft was also very stressful and that was the reason of me not being drafted.
"It was hard to get back from it because it's something you wait for your whole life."
So how has Jardine been facing this adversity?
"Just being with my family." Jardine continued, "My family helped me through a lot of it which is why I come out to L.A.…I have a strong supporting cast. "I'm still up and down but I'm getting better."
Jardine continued, "My foot is actually getting better now and I see progress so it's helping me be motivated and try to get better and get back, cause if I let it beat me mentally, I'm not going to ever be back the same so I'm trying to stay high and my Dad's been the biggest of it all, helping me."
Having gotten to know Jardine's father, Tony, there is no question that Scoop is far from lacking love, support, and a backbone to help him stand, when necessary.
But, Jardine is no pushover when it comes to realizing his dream of playing in the NBA. He disclosed that he is currently motivating himself "…to cherish every moment and every workout and every game because being hurt, you really have a lot of time to think about a lot of different things."
One of those things being the reality that, according to Jardine, if he had not been injured, he knew for sure that the Dallas Mavericks would have drafted him, silencing those that spoke with utter certainty that out of the four Syracuse alum, Jardine had no chance of rising to the professional level.
While on the men's basketball squad at SU, Jardine seemed to take more criticism from fans than any other player. Jardine referred to that love-hate relationship, saying, "To me, you know, Syracuse got the best fans and they want to win just as bad as I did, so in the beginning, it was hard dealing with it but at the same time it made me stronger. It made me want to work there; not only work for myself but to work for the city of Syracuse."
With onlookers of Jardine's performance at Syracuse University stating that he was not prepared, Jardine was given an opportunity for a rebuttal as to why he is worthy of the NBA, to which he said, "First of all, I'm a leader, first and foremost, on and off the court. I'm an uplift to an organization especially in the locker room. I'm ready as far as playing right away."
These words come after a conversation I had back on media day with Jardine before his final collegiate season in which he told me that all he wanted was to play 25 good minutes, so that he could be ready for a Saturday game as well as the Monday game to follow.
That is the definition of a leader. Someone not worried about one game, but every game. Someone who does not need to be on the floor every minute, but rather, wants to make every minute they are on the floor count. Someone who trusts their teammates as opposed to always needing the ball.
"I've been in college five years. I know what it takes," Jardine re-iterated.
Which of these teams is the best option for Jardine to realize his dream?
"There's a possibility every team I worked out for," said Jardine. "They wanted to know when I'm going to be back, when my foot is going to be back, like, you know, 100% so they can bring me in and work me out, bring me to training camp."
As far as which team provided the highest comfort level for Jardine out of those that he worked out for, he did not show favoritism to any specific franchise.
"Every team that I worked out for," Jardine said. "My agent did a great job. All teams that needed a guard like myself…I didn't try to just work out for every team.
"I just tried to work out for teams that I felt I could make or get drafted by so every team that I worked out for is a high possibility of me getting drafted or making the team."
In a nation where the all-mighty dollar drives some to follow it at all costs, the Syracuse graduate has stayed true to himself.
Said Jardine, "It's not even about the money. It's where I'm going to be playing at. My dream is playing in the NBA, so trying to see what NBA team I can possibly make that's going to be a great fit for me and my career."