John Gilchrist and Sean Banks were two of the most talented players at the NBA pre-draft camp. That's no news flash.
|John Gilchrist had issues with coaches and teammates. (Getty Images)|
But does either have an NBA head? That's what Gilchrist and Banks must prove before the June 28 draft. They're good, but not that good. Rasheed Wallace and Ron Artest can make millions despite full sets of baggage. Gilchrist and Banks ... not so much.
"Everyone (in the NBA) wants to know the same thing," Gilchrist said. "They're asking me the same questions, and it's not about basketball."
Same goes for Banks.
"They're trying to get to know me," Banks said. "That's good, because nobody really knows me."
What people know, or think they know, isn't good. About either player. And it has little to do with basketball.
Gilchrist is the big, strong point guard who dominated the 2004 ACC Tournament, then regressed in 2005. He bickered with Maryland coach Gary Williams and seemed to spend the past season thinking not about the NCAA Tournament, but about the NBA Draft. Three years after winning the national championship, the Terps didn't receive a 2005 NCAA bid. Gilchrist got the blame.
Banks is the long, athletic small forward who had repeated run-ins with police in high school, rallied to earn national freshman of the year honors in 2004, then regressed in 2005. He blew off an invitation to a U.S. tryout camp in the summer, bickered with Memphis coach John Calipari in the fall and eventually was declared academically ineligible in midseason. For the first time in three years, Memphis didn't reach the NCAA Tournament. Banks got the blame.
Their reputations are fractured, but not their skills.
The 6-foot-2 1/2, 195-pound Gilchrist was the biggest and best all-around point guard at the camp. He'll never shoot as well as Marquette's Travis Diener or get to the rim like Georgia Tech's Will Bynum, but Gilchrist had the most complete package. Playing roughly half of each game, he averaged 9.3 points, 3.7 assists and one steal, and shot 50 percent (12-for-24) from the floor. He was even better on defense, mercilessly hounding the likes of Carl Krauser of Pittsburgh and Chris Thomas of Notre Dame.
"He's an NBA point guard, no doubt," said an Eastern Conference scout. "But the question is, is he good enough to overlook the other stuff?"
Gilchrist's intensity is his biggest asset, but it can be his biggest detriment.