You see these guys wearing your favorite school's jersey. They smile. They get up for your big rival. You know what they bring your team and how good they could be. You blog, tweet and call talk radio about them.
But you don't know them. You think you do, but you don't.
Every year, we have a lot of guys leaving college early to put their name in the NBA Draft. A lot more than you think do not get drafted. They could be relegated to the NBA's D-League or try to carve out a career overseas. They aren't all Anthony Davis.
Every once in a while, your team has one of these guys bolt. This year for my beloved North Carolina Tar Heels, Reggie Bullock fits that bill. He is leaving after his junior year to get into the NBA Draft. He may be a 1st round pick, but will most likely have to wait until the 2nd round to hear his name called. What!!! What is he doing!!! He's giving up on playing at UNC for one more season ... his senior season ... on what could be a highly ranked squad just to maybe make it in the League?
I would kill for that one season!
But I'm not him. I didn't come from where he came from. I don't have the financial considerations that he may have. I mean, how many people get this opportunity?
No, Bullock really isn't ready for the NBA. He will be a one trick pony in the league. A nice shooter who can guard a bit out there ... but not much else. At UNC, he'd be a key cog in the upcoming season with those abilities, but it won't translate as well to the League. Who knows? He could have a Hubert Davis kind of productive career. Or he could have Joseph Forte's career.
Still, I can't fault him. The Heels fan in me would love to have him back for his senior season. But I can't fault him. Why?
*This is a very weak draft. I seriously doubt Bullock will develop much more skill-wise than he has to this point. He'd be the same cat next year as he is now. May as well go now since the draft is so weak. This draft ... he could crack the first round. Next year with that amazing 2013 freshman class entering the draft, Bullock's stock will suffer.
*His class is gone. Remember that Bullock came to Carolina with Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall. Both just finished their rookie seasons in the NBA. Barnes is in the postseason. Marshall had a rough start but started to play well when the Suns gave him a chance down the stretch.
*From what I've heard, he is one of those kids who has a meager background. He and his family needs money. I can't fault him for that since he isn't sure any money would be available if he waited.
So cut these kids some slack when they leave. There may be more than meets the eye.