by Matt Caputo
SLAM has always made it their business to give a voice to high school players. Since 1995, the “Basketball Diary” section has given up space so a star high school player can bless the masses with their two cents. In that time some pretty heavy cats have held down the diarists spot. Stephon Marbury, Mike Dunleavy and Lebron James are just a few of the thirteen players to pimp the pen for the SLAM nation and proceed to make millions playing in the NBA.
With the exception of a few players who are still in college, only three SLAM diarists have failed to make it the NBA. Even more eerie is the fact that the three players, Ronnie Fields, Edmund Saunders and Ray Young inked their respective columns in consecutive years (’96, ‘97, ’98). Below is an update on our faithful diarists who fell short of making it to the League.
Ronnie Fields // 1996
Ronnie Fields was Kevin Garnett’s high school teammate and is the closest thing to a superstar that the CBA has. He was known as the “King of Hops,” thus confirming that his jump shot wasn’t worth squat. His dunk over former Illinois star Sergio McClain was rated 12th out of the 50 greatest dunks of all time. His numbers as a senior at Farragut are mind scrambling. He averaged 32.4 points, 12.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 4.5 blocked shots, four steals and 4.5 dunks. He finished his career third in Chicago Public League history with 2,619 points. In his senior year, Fields had nine games of 40 or more points and a high of 51.
After committing to DePaul, Fields was in a serious car accident. The injury, combined with the fact that he wouldn’t have been academically eligible to play as a freshman, sealed his fate. He never played a minute of college basketball. He spent the large part of his career as the heart of the Rockford Lightning, a now defunct CBA franchise. He’s also picked up paychecks in Greece, Venezuela and the USBL. In 2006-2007, Fields joined the Minot Skyrockets, another CBA team.
Edmund Saunders // 1997
Edmund Saunders played at Holy Cross High School in Waterbury, CT and helped them win a state championship in 1995. After penning SLAM’s diary, he helped UConn win the NCAA National Championship. Since then, he has remained largely under the radar. Besides some workouts with the Nets and a Summer League shot running with the Charlotte Hornets, Saunders has been making money playing mostly overseas. He’s been able to pick up championships in Iceland and the WBA and he’s made all-stat appearances in the ABA, Puerto Rico, Turkey and Uraguay.
Ray Young // 1998
Since leaving the pages of SLAM, it seems like Ray Young, who ran at Notre Dame HS in Cali, may have given up on the game all together. After spending five years at UCLA (one redshirt year), Young shuffled around the Pro-Am circuit and spent time in the CBA and USBL. In 2004, he went to camp with the New Orleans Hornets but was waived in October. In 2005, Young played in the Vegas Summer League with Golden State. Since running with the Warriors’ summer squad Young has been keeping a low profile.