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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, June 27, 2003

Ex-Rainbow Carl English goes undrafted in the NBA

 •  Cavs make James No. 1 pick

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

Carl English, right, and girlfriend Mandy Dohey waited in vain in Toronto during the NBA Draft.

Associated Press

Fourteen years and counting.

That's how long it's been since a University of Hawai'i player has been selected in the NBA Draft.

That's also probably how long it seemed yesterday for Carl English, who became the latest UH snub.

Despite being predicted as a "solid" second-round pick, English was not among the 58 total selections in yesterday's NBA Draft at New York.

"I'm at a complete loss as to why he wasn't drafted," said Harold Cipin, English's Toronto-based agent. "When you look at some of the players who did get drafted, there isn't any sound rationale as far as I'm concerned."

Cipin was already in the process of negotiating a free-agent deal for English last night. Because he was not drafted, English can negotiate with any of the NBA's 29 teams.

"A number of teams have called already," Cipin said. "We're going to explore all the possibilities before deciding."

According to Cipin, international basketball is not an option for English right now.

"We're concentrating on the NBA," he said. "We're still confident that Carl will work his way into the (NBA)."

Anthony Carter and Predrag Savovic — the only two former UH players currently in the NBA — were both undrafted, but eventually signed as free agents.

"In some cases, history has shown that players can go on to outstanding careers after not being drafted," Cipin said. "That's our plan for Carl."

English was one of the leading scorers at the NBA Pre-Draft Camp at Chicago earlier this month, and then attended private workouts for six NBA teams. According to several reports, English had performed well enough during his pre-draft auditions to earn serious consideration for the NBA Draft.

"All the talk was positive," UH head coach Riley Wallace said. "All the (mock drafts) had him solid in the second round, and everybody I was talking to assured me that he was a lock for the second round. What happened? We'll never know."

Five teams were considered strong candidates to draft English — Atlanta, Indiana, Toronto, Minnesota and Orlando. Wallace was most surprised when the Raptors selected Remon Van de Hare from Spain with their second-round pick (No. 52 overall).

"I didn't think Toronto would let (English) slip past that pick," Wallace said. "But there's so many factors that go into each pick. It's hard to figure out what these teams are thinking."

Wallace, his coaching staff, and several of English's former teammates walked away from the Eastside Grill in stunned silence after the draft was completed.

"I thought for sure he was going somewhere (in the draft)," said Phil Martin, English's teammate and roommate at UH for the past four years. "I had butterflies through the whole thing waiting for his name to be called. It's almost ... unbelievable. We're all sad for him."

English was not speaking to the media last night, but Cipin said: "Carl is disappointed, as you might expect, but he's dealt with adversity in the past. He's a tough kid and he'll get through this."

English, a 6-foot-5 guard, caught the attention of NBA scouts with his long-range shooting skills. Some NBA personnel said he needed to become a point guard in order to increase his chances in the draft, but English was viewed as a shooting guard during his private workouts.

"The big thing against him was (his lack of) quickness," Wallace said. "That might have scared some teams away, but I'm sure his shooting ability kept teams interested, too. The worst part is teams don't know about his heart and his desire.

"If you were to tell me before this draft that there were 58 better players, and with more drive than Carl English, I would call you crazy."

Because English signed with an agent, there is no way he can return to UH now. If he had not signed with an agent and gone undrafted, he could have petitioned the NCAA to regain his eligibility.

"You can't look at it that way," Wallace said. "He's doing what he wanted to do and you have to respect that."

English declared for early entry into the NBA Draft after completing his junior year at UH last season. He holds the single-season record with 89 3-pointers, and is the No. 7 scorer in UH history with 1,259 points. He also graduated with his bachelor's degree from UH in May.

English was seeking to become just the 13th UH player in history to be drafted by an NBA team. The last was Reggie Cross in 1989.

Since then, several other 'Bows have gone undrafted despite pre-draft hype, including Carter, Savovic, Chris Gaines, Trevor Ruffin, Tony Maroney and Phil Lott.

"You have to remember there are only two rounds," Wallace said. "It's tough for anybody to make it."

English was born and raised in Patrick's Cove, Newfoundland, Canada, and was also seeking to become the first player from Newfoundland to be drafted.

"It's not over," said Martin, who is also from Canada. "Knowing Carl, he's probably angry right now and he'll use this as motivation."