The 2002 McDonald's All-American basketball game roster was filled with a number of players destined for the NBA, some of whom are now keeping their teams' championship hopes alive this postseason.
Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Chris Bosh and J.J. Redick have all come a long way since then. These days they are trying to make it beyond the first round of the NBA playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
And then there is Rashad McCants.
He was part of that 2002 squad. That's about the extent of his common bond with Anthony, Stoudemire, Bosh and Redick these days.
Every once and awhile the in-depth talent evaluation of a player becomes the furthest backdrop to a story when a guy who certainly has all of the tools needed to establish staying power in the NBA, yet somehow ends up on the outside looking in and trying to make a livelihood by bouncing around outside of the league.
It seems McCants has become the poster child for such a scenario as the former 14th overall pick in 2005 signed this week with the Powerade Tigers in the Philippines Basketball Association.
The addition comes at a time when the rest of the league is ramping up inking American-import players and teams start gunning for the PBA Governors Cup which begins on May 20.
Cedric Bozeman (Ginebra) and Marqus Blakely (B-Meg) also signed in the PBA this week.
Powerade can only hope McCants is worth the investment and the stay lasts longer than his recent stint in Puerto Rico. Back in late March, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard was signed and released in the matter of one day by Piratas de Quebradillas (after starting the season in Puerto Rico with Caciques de Humacao).
Yet this is what life in basketball has come to for McCants.
Instead of finding the right permanent situation overseas playing in Europe where he can develop his game and parlay that into a lasting career abroad, he's in essence become a hired gun shooting blanks that sadly enough amounts to a day job worthy of cutting a single check -- or at least was the case his last time around in Puerto Rico.
Some will look at McCant's situation and recite how went from North Carolina, to Minnesota, to Sacramento and spent four NBA seasons watching his stock fall further away from the expectations heaped on him as a first round selection and helping the Tar Heels win a national championship in 2005.
Others will simply shake their head and wonder what could have been based on the drama filled fallout from McCants' connection with China and the D-League.
Talent wise, McCants can hold his own on the floor. Still athletic. Still explosive. Still can hit from all over the floor. But as we've come to realize with a number of young players in his situation (he's only 27-years old by the way), that doesn't always translate to success in the NBA or established international leagues.
Now seven years later since turning pro, you have to wonder if McCants will ever stick it out with a team or in a league longer than a matter of days or weeks.
Lasting a full season with any team should be the goal. It would sure make it easier determining if his heart is really in this game.
The last time McCants was associated with an NBA team was with the Houston Rockets during training camp before the 2009-10 season, but that stint was short-lived. McCants suffered an abdominal strain and was unable to compete in camp. And although the Cleveland Cavaliers offered the guard a spot on their summer league team in 2010 -- which McCants declined for "personal reasons" -- it's now been three seasons since he last appeared in the NBA with the Kings.
Is the NBA still the final destination for McCants?
If so, you almost have to question the map and basketball journey he is on by taking gigs in Puerto Rico and the Philippines.
Either McCants is receiving really bad advice (which you hope is not the case) and counseling regarding his options, or he just openly prefers to dabble in a league here, play a game or two with a team there. It's not a knock on those leagues or McCants' representation and reputation. That's just the reality of his situation. But knowing McCants' story, showing there is more to his game than being rented out to help a team make a "Cup" push would be a good start.
Something has to give.