Some guys come into the NBA with a great deal of hype. They embrace the hype and live up to it while staying in the public eye even after their careers are over. Some guys enter the league with the same hype only to fall short of the expectations and leave the bright lights of the NBA career for good.
Players like Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal, or Magic Johnson have never left the forefront of the NBA scene upon their retirement. Shaq and Barkley can be found doing their commentary on NBA on TNT, while Magic has been at the forefront for the Lakers' franchise ever since his retirement. They embrace it and it comes to them as second nature.
It mostly has to do with their playing careers not living up to the standards that were once entrusted on them, but the players we will look at are players that, if you haven't forgotten about their playing careers, then you have not followed their life after the NBA. Some are lesser known coaches, some have stepped away from the game completely, and some have not had much of a life after the game they loved so much. Here are some first round picks we decided to take a look at.
15 Cherokee Parks
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="2184"] via yahoo.com[/caption]
Cherokee Parks was the 12th pick in the 1995 NBA Draft. He was a 1992 NCAA Champion and a 6'11" center/ power forward that played for seven NBA teams from 1995-2004. Success, however, was hard to find in the pros, as he only has career highs of 7.1 ppg and 3.8 rpg in 23.3 mpg. Parks attempted a comeback following his NBA career. In 2011 he was linked to a French team by the name of U.S. Aubenas where he was able to stay till 2013.
Parks also made his attempt at the business world. He opened a club in Huntington Beach called the Brigg. It was a punk rock club staffed with Huntington natives like himself. Unfortunately the Brigg failed. Parks can still be found around Duke University games from time to time.
14 Ron Mercer
Another NCAA Champion, Ron Mercer won his in 1996 at Kentucky. He was also two-time Tennessee Mr. Basketball in high school, and SEC Player of the Year and an All-American in college, Mercer was chosen with the 6th-overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft. He did earn a All Rookie First Team during his time in the league which lasted till 2005.
Mercer's post basketball life seems like that of comfort and giving back. Mercer hosts basketball camps and stays active in the communities all while continuously posting to Twitter, pictures of him enjoying a cigar on the golf course. He may not have had the All-Star career his was once destined for, but it seems Mercer was smart with his earnings and has used his resources well.
13 Keon Clark
Probably the most tragic story on our list. Clark was drafted out of UNLV with the 13th pick in the 1998 draft. A long athletic power forward/ center, Clark was also plagued by his personal problems. Following his career, Clark told an interviewer that he never played a NBA game sober, often drinking during halftime. He is still the leading shot-swatter in Raptors history with 12 blocks in a single game.
Since his retirement, his personal demons have still gotten the best of him. He is currently serving a eight-year sentence in Illinois on weapons charges. Prior to that he was also to stand trial on marijuana and weapons charges when US Marshals had to track down Clark. Those charges were actually dropped for reasons of not having a lawyer present for sentencing, but it was not enough to keep Clark from finding himself behind bars anyway.
12 12. Trajan Langdon
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="850"] via nothingbutnets.com[/caption]
This Duke product was an All-American and three-time All ACC before being drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 11th pick in the 1999 draft. Trajan Langdon's NBA career would not be as successful as his college career. After just three years of service, Langdon finished his career overseas in 2011.
Since his playing days ended, Langdon has stayed close to the game and the NBA. Langdon served as a scout for the San Antonio Spurs form 2012 - 2015, and in 2016 he was named assistant general manager of the Brooklyn Nets. That might be a tough job at the moment, but Langdon seems poised to have a nice front office career.
11 DeSagana Diop
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="2048"] via joincprime.com[/caption]
A Senegal native, DeSagana Diop carved out a 12-year career across four teams. Diop played high school basketball in Virginia at Oak Hill Academy where he was recognized and drafted the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 8th pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. He never averaged higher than 18.6 minutes per game, but was able to be a reliable big man off the bench during his lengthy NBA career.
These days, Diop is a coaching associate with the Utah Jazz. Prior to that, he was on the coaching staff and later an assistant coach of the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League. Diop stays involved with bringing basketball to Africa. He was involved with NBA's Basketball Without Borders trio to Africa in 2010. This program has benefitted the young men and children of Africa and the NBA alike in bringing the game to those who do not have the opportunities otherwise.
10 Jared Jeffries
Jared Jeffries helped the Indiana Hoosiers back to the NCAA Title Game during their 2002 Cinderella run. A Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Big Ten Player of the Year, and All-American, Jeffries forewent his junior and senior seasons to enter the NBA Draft. There, he was selected with the 11th-pick in the 2002 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards. Injuries and an undersized frame did halt Jeffries NBA career a bit, although he was able to play parts of 11 seasons.
In 2013, Jeffries retired from the NBA game as a player as he entered a role in the Denver Nuggets front office as a personnel scout. Also in 2013, Jeffries began hosting a fishing television series titled Modern Fishing With Jared Jeffries on the Outdoor Channel.
9 Chris Wilcox
He may be not as well remembered as Juan Dixon, Steve Blake or even Lonny Baxter, Chris Wilcox was a member of the 2002 NCAA Champion Maryland Terrapins. The Clippers used their 8th-overall pick 2002 NBA Draft on the 6'10" big man. He experienced his best basketball as a member of the Seattle SuperSonics from 2005-2008 but was able to play all 82 games just once in his career, with the second-best being 65 games.
Unfortunately, Wilcox's career was cut short due to a heart irregularity. He last played for the Boston Celtics.
Upon trying to find out what Wilcox has been up to, we just kept running into his wedding photos, as pictured above. The wedding was held in Myrtle Beach. Wilcox also continued to run a charity golf outing for lupus awareness in Myrtle Beach.
8 Jarvis Hayes
A standout at Georgia, the Washington Wizards used a top 10 pick on Jarvis Hayes in the 2003 NBA Draft. Hayes was a formidable scorer off the bench during his time in Washington, but by 2010 he was out of the NBA.
After the NBA, Hayes became a naturalized citizen of Qatar and represented the National team in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship. More recently Hayes has landed a spot on the SEC Network. Hayes broadcasts both in the studio and at games. The former Bulldog commentated over 120 games during the 2016-2017 season.
7 Michael Sweetney
An All-American and Naismith Player of the Year Finalist at Georgetown, Michael Sweetney was drafted with the 9th-overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. Weight issues and injuries limited Sweetney's NBA career to four years and 233 games. After a stint in the NBA Developmental League, Sweetney took his career overseas.
More recently, Sweetney has become a spokesperson for depression. Sweetney sited that the weight issues that held him back were the result of a way for him to cope with his illness. Sweetney is now an assistant coach for a Maryland high school and is rumored to be a player in Ice Cube's Big 3 League.
6 Luke Jackson
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1100"] via dailyemerald.com[/caption]
The Cleveland Cavaliers used the 10th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft on Luke Jackson out of Oregon, one season after landing franchise centerpiece LeBron James. Jackson was a scorer to complement LeBron and help build the Cavaliers. It never worked out. Injuries and inconsistent play led to Jackson's career lasting just 46 games in Cleveland and 73 overall.
In 2013, Jackson was named head coach of Northwest Christian University. There, he has put together a 88-38 record and has brought two regular season titles to the school. Jackson has also had the school in three NAIA D2 tournaments in four years.
5 Sean May
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1500"] via dailytarheel.com[/caption]
As an NCAA Champion, Final Four Most Outstanding Player, All-American, USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year, Sean May entered the NBA with all the accolades and makings of a star. The Bobcats nabbed him at 13th in the NBA draft, but injuries forced May out of the NBA after appearing in just 4 seasons and never more than 37 games in a given year.
May was able to continue his play overseas, even winning a French Cup, Turkish Cup and a Turkish League. These days, May has returned to University of North Carolina as a director of player development and later as an assistant coach.
4 Acie Law
A big-time college player, Acie Law was a 1st team All-American and Texas A&M legend. Law has his number 1 retired by the university.
Two years after passing on both Chris Paul and Deron Williams, the Atlanta Hawks thought they finally landed their point guard in Law. He would never play more than 15.4 minutes per game and left the organization after 111 games. By 2011 he had taken his career overseas.
Recently Law became an assistant coach at Ranger College in 2015. Following the stint as an assistant, Law became an analyst for the Texas A&M fan site TexAgs.
3 Joe Alexander
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="599"] via bluegoldsports.com[/caption]
Joe Alexander entered the 2008 NBA Draft as a strong, highly athletic forward that was labeled the best athlete in the draft. The Milwaukee Bucks grabbed him at 8th-overall. He would play just 59 games in Milwaukee, and 67 NBA games overall. Hamstring injuries and the lack of any pro-level skills outside of his jumping prowess held his NBA career back.
Alexander and his family traveled a lot when he was a kid. He was actually born in Taiwan, later moved to Maryland, and again located to China. These days, Alexander plays professionally for a team in the Israeli Premier League named Maccabi Tel Aviv. He has helped his teams to Israeli Cups in 2015 and 2017. There, he was also able to garner Israeli citizenship since his maternal grandmother was Jewish.
2 Xavier Henry
A McDonald's All American that showcased his talents at Kansas. His freshman year went so well that he decided to forego his final three years of eligibility and was drafted 12th-overall in the 2010 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, his scoring mentality did not translate in the NBA, and he has never played more than 50 games in a single season, including just 23 starts overall. Henry has not seen NBA action since the 2014-2015 season but he continues to pursue a return through the NBA Developmental League.
On November 3, the Oklahoma City Blue acquired Henry, and he has been playing his basketball with them since.
1 Terrence Williams
Another storied college player, Terrence Williams opened eyes at Louisville University. A 6-foot-6 wing who was known for stuffing the stat sheet, the Nets used their 11th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft on the former Cardinal.
More recently, Williams was still looking for a new overseas deal, but an interesting story did pop up as we were seeing what the former Net was up to these days. In 2015, Williams signed with the AmeriLeague. Later that year, it was discovered the man known as Cerruti Brown was actually former McDonald's All-American/minor league guard Glendon Alexander. A reputation was disovered of Alexander's conman ways and the league was postponed and later shut down. That story can be explained here.