It hasn't hurt Bobby Jones' quest for a spot in the increasingly image-conscious NBA that he recently earned a degree from Washington in Comparative Cross-Cultural Writing.
"An English major never had one of those before," an official with one NBA team is said to have quipped after interviewing Jones.
And those studies have reinforced in Jones one hard truth.
"Not every story has a fairy-tale ending," he said Monday.
Jones' story just might, however.
The kid who arrived from Compton, Calif., in the summer of 2002 as Lorenzo Romar's first Washington recruit so unheralded that he was still available for the taking in late spring seems almost certain to be selected in today's NBA draft.
He never averaged more than 11.2 points at UW, but was a huge part of Washington's success the past three years with his defense, hustle and all-around play, and NBA teams apparently have taken notice.
In fact, there continue to be rumblings that he could get drafted in the first round, citing teams such as Dallas, the New York Knicks, Cleveland and Sacramento as possibilities. Jones was scheduled to have a second workout for the Kings on Tuesday.
More likely, he'll be drafted in the second round, though the ever-cautious Jones is taking nothing for granted.
"I'm pretty confident, but I'm still kind of nervous," he said. "But people tell me I'm definitely going to get drafted. It's just a matter of when, where and how high."
If Jones were to be taken in the first round, it would be the first time two former Washington players have ever been selected in the first round. Teammate Brandon Roy is a certain lottery pick likely to be taken no lower than No. 6 and possibly as high as No. 2 to the Chicago Bulls.
But several other former Huskies are learning they may have to accept playing somewhere other than the NBA if they want to continue with basketball.
Mike Jensen, for instance, isn't on any NBA team's radar and will instead attend a workout Friday at KeyArena for players interested in heading overseas. Germany may be an option, Jensen said.
"I've never been outside the United States before — I don't really count Canada — so I think it would be a great experience," Jensen said.
Still, he admits he had dreams of the NBA when his Washington career began. He had been listed among the top 100 recruits in the country by The Sporting News, among others.
But he accepted more of a supporting role with the Huskies early, then battled a shoulder injury as a senior that cost him the first six weeks of the season.
Playing anywhere next season, however, will help him forget how his UW career ended. The overtime loss to Connecticut in the Sweet 16 was a bitter pill for everybody on Montlake. But a foul by Jensen that resulted in a three-point play that helped force overtime was one of the most obvious turning points in the game.
"It was hard to deal with, but I think there could have been 10 or 15 other things in that game that could have gone a different way as well," Jensen said. "It was in the heat of the game and I was trying to win. I jumped up and he jumped into me. It's one of those things you see on TV and say, 'Man, why did that guy do that?' You think to yourself, 'I would never do something like that.' Then all of a sudden, it happens."
If he heads overseas, Jensen may bump into former teammate Jamaal Williams, who is currently in Italy at a camp for free agents interested in playing overseas.
Also likely heading overseas soon is Hakeem Rollins, who was a member of Washington's 2005 Sweet 16 team. He recently completed his degree and has an offer from a team in Belgium.
Two other members of the 2005 team, Tre Simmons and Will Conroy, hope to play at home this year.
Simmons, who played in France and Greece last season, is scheduled to attend Phoenix's free-agent camp this summer. Conroy, who spent last year in the NBA Developmental League, had been scheduled to attend a similar camp for the San Antonio Spurs but injured his leg and is waiting for that to heal before finalizing his plans.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or email@example.com
|Home-grown NBA talent|
|Brandon Roy and Adam Morrison will be the 19th and 20th players from Washington high schools taken in the first round of the NBA draft. The complete list:|
||Player, high school
||Jack Nichols, Everett
||Bob Houbregs, Queen Anne
||Tom Workman, Bishop Blanchet
||St. Louis Hawks|
||John Stockton, Gonzaga Prep
||Detlef Schrempf, Centralia
||Blair Rasmussen, Auburn
||Christian Welp, Olympic
||Doug Christie, Rainier Beach
||Scot Pollard, Kamiakin
||Michael Dickerson, Federal Way
||Jason Terry, Franklin
||Jamal Crawford, Rainier Beach
||Curtis Borchardt, Eastlake
||Dan Dickau, Prairie
||Luke Ridnour, Blaine
||Marvin Williams, Bremerton
||Martell Webster, Seattle Prep
||Nate Robinson, Rainier Beach
|Draft-day trades: (1) Traded to Chicago; (2) traded to Utah; (3) traded to Atlanta; (4) traded to New York.|