On we charge through the summer reading list, but make sure you catch the first four parts of the introductions if you feel a little behind in your readings. On we go to the first Directional Michigan slots!
Here we come to our first apparent bounty of the schools we run through. Sure, others have provided either relative brand names or multiple player entries, but Central Michigan provides us with both. Not only do they have two entries into the tournament, but two players who went on to have fairly significant careers beyond their (fairly impressive) college days. And when I say significant, I mean both in terms of on court achievements and off-court pursuits.
We're talking regular and postseason success at the collegiate and professional levels, movie credits, restaurant ownership, hairstyle versatility - these two guys have got it all! (Though one probably has it a little better than another, depending on your definitions of success.)
Let's check it out, shall we?
Chris Kaman (2000-03) - Kaman started off slow in his college career, averaging 10.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game as one of the team's primary subs (21.6 min/game). Then in his junior year, he absolutely crushed it, averaging 22 points and 12 boards a game while leading the Chips to a MAC Tournament Championship, and NCAA Tournament berth, and a first round victory over #6 seed Creighton.
Kaman moved on to the NBA to join the woebegone Clippers and was always known as a slightly above average and solid but unspectacular center before having a strong '07-'08 season with almost 16 points and 13 rebounds per game. He has since returned back to Earth some and, in perhaps a truly strange twist of fate, was traded from the Clippers to the even-more-terrible New Orleans Hornets in the Chris Paul deal and then got to watch DeAndre Jordan do his job as the Clippers went all the way to the second round of the playoffs.
Dan Majerle (1984-88) - Dan the Man, or Thunder Dan, was kind of a big deal. At Central Michigan he was the leader of a fairly mediocre squad, posting 21.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game for a Chips team that finished his four years with a 61-56 record overall despite 22 wins in his junior season.
He was drafted by the Phoenix Suns in 1988 and had a 15 year long NBA career. He was initially well known for his athleticism, work ethic, and monster breakaway dunks, then gradually molded himself into a deadly three-point sniper later in his career. At his peak, he was to Kevin Johnson and Jeff Hornacek (and slightly later, Charles Barkley) what James Harden is to Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant now - minus the ridiculous beard of course.
Majerle eventually had his #9 retired with the Suns and moved on the work their sidelines as a color analyst, before eventually joining the bench recently as an assistant to current coach Alvin Gentry. Do not be surprised if you see him coaching there sooner or later, though that would, unfortunately, give him far less time to a) appear in movies (he's actually part of a documentary released this year about the 1992 Lithuanian Olympic team - y'know, the ones that wore the tie-dyed, Dead Head-y tshirts?) b) spend any amount of time in his three Phoenix-area sports bars, or c) do ridiculously athletic things like this: