DENVER — Here’s what I could hear in the background when Niko Medved called from someone’s living room in Minneapolis late Thursday night, sitting yards from David Roddy, the NBA’s first-round draft pick.
Laughing, screaming, crying, clapping hugs (the kind you can hear), “YEAH, BABY!” I heard one of the best kinds of joy. Dream Realized Joy.
“I can’t tell you what it’s like here,” said Medved, the Colorado State coach who signed a three-star basketball recruit and four years later Roddy left 23rd overall for the Memphis Grizzlies. “It doesn’t get any better. We are so excited for David. It’s incredible.”
hey kids Mute the Rivals and Scouts leaderboards on Twitter and try out this new dance that all the cool kids are doing. Do The Roddy: Throw every ounce of your being into a passion and make it big.
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CSU Hoops secured the highest draft pick since Bill Green in 1963 when the Grizzlies benefited from Roddy betting on himself. Gosh, Memphis is gonna love this guy. Yes Morant, Brandon Clarke and Roddy will either be BFFs or mortal enemies because they all play so damn hard. Roddy plays like tomorrow’s editing day.
Roddy was a junior that year when he was named Mountain West Player of the Year and led CSU to the NCAA tournament. So he could have returned for another surefire NCAA replay.
nope Our guy knows his worth. A whole bunch of people said he wasn’t ready (maybe two or three rookies are ready for the NBA, if we’re being honest), wouldn’t get drafted, yada yada yada, and what do you know? A contender for the NBA championship for the next 10 years believed in David Roddy. In the next season alone, he will earn over $2.3 million. That’s real faith.
“So damn cool. It’s so damn cool,” Medved told me, and that was a man on cloud nine. “You just have this overwhelming joy for David. If you know him, and he’s an incredible player, but he’s an even better person. And you know how much work he put into it. Every day this guy was all in for the program and the university. To see it manifest is just so special.”
Incidentally, this column was supposed to be about Calvin Booth in his first NBA draft as general manager of Nuggets, how Booth, a smart man, was supposed to take notes from Ball Arena roommate Joe Sakic about Sakic taking a win from the Avalanche positioned Stanley Cup titles. Game 5 is Friday night in LoDo, in case you haven’t heard.
That’s all true. Booth should meet with Sakic. (Sakic once shadowed John Elway at Broncos HQ, and see how that panned out for the awesome Avs who can win the trophy Friday in Game 5.) Then David Roddy happened, and that’s a heck of a lot cooler story as taking the Nuggets Kansas forward Christian Braun at No. 21 and UCLA wing Peyton Watson at No. 30.
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A few weeks after Nuggets Gov. Josh Kroenke said, “Championship or bust” for the Nuggets, the Nuggets are no closer to a championship Friday morning than they were Thursday morning. No one knows if they’ll turn out to be good long-term picks, but the Nuggets themselves said they’re not long-term players anymore. Brown is a fighter. Nuggets coach Michael Malone will like him, and Braun will play more minutes in his rookie season than anyone expects. Good or bad, he will. Watson is a project. The nuggets completed the project phase (with distinction).
You know what? That’s not fair. Give the Braun and Watson picks a few years and see if they pan out better than my likes: Ohio State’s EJ Liddell and Gonzaga’s Andrew Nembard. But this wasn’t a “championship or bust” moment for the Nuggets. Those were mixed messages.
But Roddy happened, and it’s been over 60 years since a Roddy happened for CSU basketball. It was “so awesome,” Medved said of a call-up party in Roddy’s hometown of Minnesota. It’s no surprise that Medved flew there for just this moment. The truth is, Medved had every reason to lure Roddy back to CSU to tell him he was a year away from guaranteed money as a first-round pick. This is what stuck in my mind: Medved encouraged Roddy to pursue his dream.
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The manager has backed what is best for the man, not his program and new contract and that is love. After an NCAA tournament loss to Michigan, I asked Medved in Indianapolis if there was a chance, Roddy would leave CSU early. Medved supported the idea: “David can play at the next level,” he said in March Madness at the time.
“After his sophomore year, I told any (NBA) guy who would listen: David will play in your league,” Medved said. “Then the work he has done from his sophomore to his freshman year has been amazing. That’s how it should be.”
And that’s a coach that has your back.
“What does that tell us? I think it just says you have a young man who has always backed himself and believed in us and the vision we had for him,” Medved said late Thursday. “He came in and gave everything he had. It shows you that you can, and you can do it at CSU and in our program. You can do that in the state of Colorado.”
Do the Roddy.