Przybilla — I

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Let me warn you first: Joel Przybilla is, without a doubt, my favorite player on the Portland Trail Blazers team.

Sure, I like watching Brandon, but Pryzzy is my guy... He's big and he's strong. He has a mean streak, playing a position where a guy needs to have a mean streak. He knows his role and he sticks to the script, staying low to crash for boards and score points off easy putbacks. He's a master craftsman of the rebounders' art, an absolutely special talent at that gritty discipline. For my money, Pryzzy is exceeded as a rebounder in the NBA only by one man — the highly heralded and hyper-hyped Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic. And that guy costs a whole hell of a lot more of somebody else's money.

If I ever own a Blazer jersey, it will be his.

But what do we know of the man?

Big white guy. Vanilla Gorilla. Wears number 10. Plays hard always. Had a spat with Marty. Gets feisty with Shaq. Lives off season in the Upper Midwest. Drinks Coors LIght. Used to be a disaster at the foul line but worked on the skill and is now pretty darned average, which is saying something.

That's about it, right?

Well, you may have noticed, as have I, that many basketball fans in Minnesota really seem to hate the guy. Not because of the way he plays, which rubs some prissy types the wrong way, but rather because of some scandal or insult or event. Something to do with his college career.

What's that all about?

And what about his pro career before the Blazers? Who took him and when? Why didn't he work out? Why do we Blazer fans see what they apparently didn't?

Well, there may not be enough tidbits in the ether to answer every question, but there are certainly enough little snippets and shards and shavings that we can learn a little something about Our Favorite Masher.

Here's a little mosaic.

Click through to continue reading...

Early Years.

Joel Anthony Przybilla was born October 10, 1979 in Monticello, Minnesota, the third of 4 children of an employee of the American Express Co. and a middle school teaching assistant. Joel's upbringing was decidedly middle class, his brother and two sisters did not grow up with a copious supply of life's luxuries. ≠ 

Monticello is a small town of about 10,000, located northwest of Minneapolis-St. Paul, about 35 miles up Interstate 94. The Przybillas lived close to the city but not in the city, not quite rural but certainly not urban.

It was a pretty good place to raise kids.

Young Joel played football and baseball through middle school, at which time a growth spurt added 5 inches to his frame. By the time he entered Monticello High School as a Freshman, Joel stood a strapping 6-foot-10 and his future athletic path seemed obvious to all but the most dense. A very big boy at a small school, Joel excelled on the hardcourt wearing the red and black of Monticello High. He soon garnered a reputation among college scouts as one of the country's top young Bigs. ≠

Joel was named as a 1998 McDonalds All-American, one of the 24 best high school players in the country. He shared that particular honor with such future NBA stars as Rashard Lewis, Quentin Richardson, Tayshaun Prince, Corey Maggette, and Richard Jefferson. +

Blue chip Joel had more than his share of collegiate opportunities, as might be expected. He narrowed his choices to UCLA, Kansas, Kentucky, and the nearby University of Minnesota, ultimately choosing to stay near home and play for the Golden Gophers and Head Coach Clem Haskins.≠ Minnesota basketball fans could not be happier with their new recruit. Local kid makes good and all that. High expectations.

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Joel did a nice job for Minnesota. The Freshman started 26 of the Gophers' 28 games, racking up an astounding total of 83 blocks. He showed good promise as a rebounder and racking just under 7 points a game. Sure, he looked like the unfortunate victim of a tragic neurological illness every time he stepped up to the free throw line, but nobody's perfect, eh?

Minnesota was back in the NCAA Tournament. Joel was adjusting well and looked like he was going to work out to be a terrific at the college level. Life was good.

There was one small problem: Joel had chosen poorly when he decided to stay near home to go to school.

The Clem Haskins Era a Minnesota came to a disgraceful close in March of 1999 when Jan Gangelhoff, a former tutor, went public with the information that she had written over 400 papers for nearly 20 different players between 1993 and 1998. She claimed that she had received thousands of dollars for her efforts as part of what was clearly a well-oiled cheating machine at UM.‡ ≤

The St. Paul Pioneer Press broke Gangelhoff's sensational tale in an exposé published just one day before the Golden Gophers were to meet Gonzaga in the 1st Round of the NCAA Tournament. Two starters and two bench players were held out of the game by Minnesota as a result of the allegations and the 7th seeded Gophers wound up losing to the Zags, 75-63.¬

The Minnesota basketball season was over, wiped out by a tornado.

The university immediately hired an outside law firm to conduct an investigation of Gangelhoff's allegations. Testimony was taken and a highly detailed 1000 page report produced — a document which included an additional 1500 pages of supplementary documents. The final report of the investigators substantiated most of Gangelhoff's claims, including the payment of thousands of dollars to her by the coaching staff, a finding which rocked the university to its foundations. Results of the query were turned over the the NCAA. ≤

A massive housecleaning followed, beginning with the immediate resignations of McKinley Boston, VP of Student Development and Athletics, as well as Men's Athletics Director Mark Dienhart.≤ Nine employees were ultimately terminated by the athletic department, and 4 faculty members and 17 former and current players were additionally implicated in the scandal.‡  The investigation also found that Coach Haskins had made cash payments directly to athletes as well as arranging hotel discounts for visiting parents, a violation for which he had been previously cited by the NCAA at an earlier coaching gig. ≤

The University of Minnesota's basketball program was placed on a 4 year probation by the NCAA and their post-season victories from 1994 to 1998 were erased. The Big 10 Conference followed suit, vacating the results of every single game the university played from 1993-94 to 1998-99.# As far as the NCAA was concerned, the seasons had never happened for Minnesota.

They tell small children that "cheaters never prosper." Contracts trump proverbs, however. Head Coach Haskins received a $1.5 Million buyout of his contract from the University of Minnesoata and was replaced for the 1999-2000 by Dan Monson, the no-nonsense son of tightly-wound former University of Idaho and Oregon Duck Head Coach Don Monson. ‡

Under the Monson regime, it quickly became clear that the University of  Minnesota was no longer a place for a young athlete without academic aspirations. Joel Przybilla, seemingly no fan of the lecture hall, was one of those who came into conflict with the new boss. This would not end well.

On Feb. 9, 2000, Joel Przybilla had the night of his collegiate career, scoring 33 points (!!!) and grabbing 14 rebounds in leading his team to a 2 point win over Indiana. Joel's outstanding performance lead him to be named Big 10 Player of the Week.£ The game marked the 8th time of the 1999-2000 season that Big Joel had lead his team in scoring, as he ran his scoring average to 14.2 points per game with the performance.

Joel's high honor was announced on Feb. 14.

On Feb. 15, the very next day, Coach Monson called Joel aside before practice. Coach had something important to tell the young, blonde Big. Joel was being suspended from the team indefinitely, Monson said, owing to Joel's "lack of academic commitment" — apparently code words for a propensity to cut classes.∆  An example was being been made of the star Sophomore Center. The two parted company with great acrimony.

"It was something he was going to have to want to do, and obviously, he decided he didn't want to do that," Monson later declared in an effort at self-justification. "He never contacted me again." § 

There was a huge hole left on the floor, but rookie coach Monson seems to have felt that burning Pryz would send a message to his remaining players — as well as to the school's fans and boosters, with whom he sought to ingratiate himself — which was well worth the price.

So in the midst of the 1999-2000 season, with his team's record sitting at 12 wins and 11 losses, Joel's collegiate career abruptly terminated. Gopher fans might think him selfish, but Joel was finished with new coach Dan Monson and his University of Minnesota basketball program. This was not the guy he had come to school to play for, he was done. Przybilla stopped attending classes and began making preparations for the next phase of his life — the forthcoming 2000 NBA Draft. ∆ 

Despite his early exit, after just 3/4 of his second season, Przybilla still managed to finish the year tops in the Big Ten Conference in field goal percentage, second in blocks, and third in rebounding.◊  Joel was quite the collegiate player, you see.

Joel's decision to depart in mid-season earned him the enduring enmity of Golden Gopher supporters throughout the Upper Midwest. You can still hear them if you listen when the Blazers visit the Minnesota Timberwolves. The fans cheered tough guy Monson boisterously during pregame introductions at the opening of the Feb. 17, 2000, contest against the University of Illinois, and vented their displeasure at "quitter" Joel by lustily booing a halftime prize-game contestant hailing from Przybilla's hometown of Monticello. ∆

Such behavior by the Minnesota fans over his decision to leave the program was very illuminating for Joel.

"It's made me a better person inside," Przybilla later said. "It's made me closer to my family members and friends, and it's made me realize who the people are that really love me. It's opened my eyes up to that." £

Joel had no regrets about the decision he made, although the acrimonious nature of the exit lingered.

"I used to think about it, but I don't anymore," Pryz told the University of Minnesota campus newspaper during his second pro season. "Anything that I've decided or done I wouldn't change because I'm in the best situation that I think I possibly could be. I'm getting paid to do what I love to do and that's play basketball." £


Rookie Contract: Milwaukee and Atlanta.

Przybilla was drafted #9 overall in the extemely weak 2000 NBA Draft.ß He was a highly coveted prospect — the Milwaukee Bucks had traded up with the Houston Rockets to land the 7-footer from the Upper Midwest, forking over the 15th pick of 2000 (Jason Collier of Georgia Tech) and a future 1st Rounder (a pick traded predraft to Orlando, who landed Jeryl Sasser of SMU) for the honor. Advantage: Bucks.

Pryz-story3_mediumJoel was the second Center taken in 2000, coming after the selection of Texas Longhorn Chris Mihm, who went in the lottery as the #7 overall pick by the Chicago Bulls. (The Bulls sure know how to pick 'em.)

Joel Przybilla had made it to the NBA, a dream realized. Year 2K was a beautiful thing.

The year 2000 was big for Joel Przybilla on another level as well, as it marked the date in which he met his future wife, Noelle. Noelle was a student at Alverno, a Catholic women's college in Milwaukee, triple majoring in communications, business management, and nursing. Joel was smitten from the start by the small woman from Big Bend, Wisconsin, a town of 1,300 located about 20 miles outside of the city in which Joel played for the Bucks. ≠

But poor Joel the doofus made a major goofus.

"I gave her my phone number," Joel later remembered. "She never called back."

Whoops.

Fortunately for the fairy tale, the paths of Joel and Noelle crossed again a few weeks later. This time the 7-foot-1 athlete avoided committing the same rookie mistake. This time he was clever enough to get her phone number.

The pair started dating and were soon engaged.

"After I gave him a chance, I found out he was such a sweetheart, such a nice guy," Noelle remembered.

"For me, it was love at first sight, I guess," Joel added sheepishly. ≠

Joel and Noelle married in 2001 and gave birth to a boy, Anthony, in 2006. ≠

Life with the Milwaukee Bucks proved to be rather less festive, however.

As the newcomer to a deep veteran team, the Bucks decided to bring along Joel slowly rather than putting his feet to the fire. Joel rode pine for the much of his rookie year, managing to break a sweat in just 33 games. While he did start 13 contests, of which his Bucks won 7 and lost 6, his role even in these games was Batumian.◊  All told, Pryz played an average of only 8 minutes per game during his inaugural season, baby burn which kept his offensive production under 1 point per game and his rebounds around 2.

The kid could pull down boards, keen observers could see that already. He just needed to play. Pigs and Bucks had nothing but time, the future still looked fine. Joel's $1.6 Million contract helped offset the frustration of a competitive rookie having to watch the NBA from a front row seat.

Whatever its costs in terms of lack of playing time, Joel coming in as a newbie on a good team had its benefits, however.

"It was a perfect situation for him in that he was able to learn the NBA game and develop his body, without having the pressure to perform or have the team rely on him," declared Bucks assistant coach Terry Stotts. "Many times high draft picks get picked by poor teams that really rely on their draft picks." £

In Milwaukee, Joel played for Head Coach George Karl, a slightly silly man who marched to the syncopated cadence of his own prancing percussionist. Pryzzy found Karl to be a pleasurable change of pace from the posturing and bluster of Gopher coach Dan Monson.

"He's got a side to him where he can joke around a lot," Przybilla said. "The past coaches I've had, they've always been serious. He's got a side to him where he can joke around and have a good time before the game, but when that ball tips up, he is as serious as he can be. He's a competitor. He wants to win every ballgame — he wants to win everything, to tell you the truth. If it's playing pool, whatever it is, playing video games, you can see him wanting to win every time." ◊

Pryz-story11_mediumKarl's Bucks didn't win "every time," but they did rack up enough successes to ride into the 2001 NBA Playoffs as the #2 seed in the East, their record of 52-30 good enough to secure the Central Division crown. The Bucks were powered by a potent trio consisting of Point Guard Sam Cassell and Wings Ray Allen and Glenn Robinson. The unit also included Power Forward Tim Thomas and 6th man Lindsey Hunter and they could go toe-to-toe with the NBA's best.

The 2001 post-season saw the Bucks make their major run for the trophy. Milwaukee dispatched Orlando 3 games to 1 in the opening round, before making use of their home court advantage to take care of Charlotte in the Conference Semis. From there the Bucks advanced to meet the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals, one step away from the Big Show. Unfortunately, the top-ranked Sixers proved too much to handle and they sent the Bucks home crying to mama, winning game 7 on their home floor by a score of 108 to 91.

Lots of post-season excitement, to be sure.

And Joel?

Joel could as easily have shown up in flip-flops, a wacky stovepipe hat, and a floral-print Hawaiian mu-mu, as his own contribution to the Bucks' post-season cause amounted to 2 minutes of garbage time in one game, producing no measurable stats. Pryz sat in a chair next to a rookie from the playgrounds of NYC named Rafer Alston, who did just as little. Coach Karl's tightened playoff rotation cut off the young man from Monticello completely. Joel was at the playoffs, but not in them.

Year 2, the 2001-02 season, proved a little bit better in terms of Pryzzy's playing time. Joel managed to crack the rotation at last, starting in 62 of the 71 games in which he played. Joel may have started but he still saw fairly limited floor time under Coach Karl, however, as he averaged just under 16 minutes per contest, scoring an average 2.7 points a night and racking up 4 rebounds per game. The majority of the playing time at the pivot was logged by a 6-foot-11 veteran out of University of New Orleans named Ervin Johnson, not to be confused with the 6-foot-10 inch Point Guard with the same name. ÿ

But while the season was a big improvement for the young Bucks Center's psyche, the team itself floundered. Milwaukee started strong but crapped out in Februay, March, and April, winning just 14 games of the last 38 and ending up as a .500 team that watched Charles Barkley and Kenny "The Jet" Smith on the tube. ÿ

Joel's third year in Milwaukee, the 2002-03 season, was marred by his first protracted injury. Przybilla hurt his left ankle in October and the team was forced to place him on the injured list; 12 games were lost. Joel made it back in November and saw action, only to hurt the left ankle once again in the middle of January and to miss another 30 games with the ailment. √

Though he made it the the court again towards the end of March, the season had proven to be a personal fiasco. Joel wound up seeing action in just 32 games for all of the 2002-03 regular season. Joel shot a lousy 39.1% from the field to score his big 1.5 points per game, which pulling down 4.5 rebounds in a bit over 17 minutes of game action. His effectiveness from the free throw line remained approximately that of a blindfolded child at a Mexican birthday party.

But this was a case of Pryz-Bad, Team-Good. The Bucks once again were back in the Eastern Conference playoffs. This time, Pryzbilla heard his name called, starting in 3 of 4 games — although it was something of a hello-goodbye deal for him each night, with his average for the series limited to just over 8 minutes per contest. If he were born a Spanish Point Guard, Joel surely would have thrown a fit in the offseason and demanded a trade to some 2nd Division team so that he could get more precious PT.

Despite the mess that was Joel's previous year, the Bucks picked up the option on the last season of Pryzzy's rookie contract. The 2003-04 campaign promised to be an extremely important one for Joel, a proverbial contract year. He just needed to stay healthy and he needed to play well. With a good performance the Bucks would bring him back with a lucrative second contract. Failing that scenario, a good season would insure Joel of ample opportunities from which to choose as a restricted free agent moving to another team.

Unfortunately, the injury bug refused to leave the young Center alone. The season had no sooner started when Joel hurt his right knee and was on the shelf for 6 games. Then in December a stomach virus struck and he missed 6 more. He straggled back to the floor only to have tendinitis in the previously injured right knee slam him back on the bench.

Contract year? Joel just needed to "stay healthy and play well"???

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Ha!!!

Joel's last year as a Buck amounted to 33 minutes of total game action crammed into 5 games. That was it, his total and complete floor time during his last year in Milwaukee. Joel scored a grand total of 1 point for the team in his final season in Bucks blue. In college he would have surely received a red shirt.

The Bucks had seen enough. They were officially finished with the injury-plagued pivotman with the expiring contract. Pryz was subjected to the ultimate indignity by the team, reduced to the status of JPEC, trade filler at the February 2004 deadline. Joel was whisked off to the cost-conscious Atlanta Hawks so they could slash payroll again.

The deal which sent Joel Przybilla to the Hawks was a complicated 3-team affair that only a slavering aficionado of the ESPN Trade Machine could grasp. The Hawks landed two Centers in the deal — Pryz from the Bucks and Andre Miller's old college roommate at Utah, Mike Doleac, from the Knicks. The Hawks also scored a 2005 2nd Round draft selection from New York, which they later traded away. It ultimately ended up in the hands of Your Los Angeles Lakers, who snagged Ronny Turiaf with the pick. The Hawks, in turn, sent Center Nazr Mohammed to the Knicks. The Knicks got their main object of desire, Tim Thomas, from the Bucks. Milwaukee made off with Andre Miller's smooth-shooting college teammate at Utah, Keith Van Horn, who arrived from New York. Ω  

Got it?

With Mohammed's exit, there was an opening at the Center spot in Atlanta, but there was nothing Joel could do about it. Joel's chronic tendinitis prevented him from doing much in Atlanta. After 12 foul-plagued games the Hawks elected to let Pryzbilla slide into unrestricted free agency by not tendering him a qualifying offer.

Joel's career had reached low ebb. He was discouraged. His rookie deal was up and the big man was on his own in finding a job. Good luck with that. Nobody seemed to care. Joel's resume was unimpressive, his statistics uninspiring, his reputation tarnished by injury. He was very nearly out of the league.

Would anything turn up for him?


Second Contract: Portland Trailblazers.

Let it be said: it's good to be an athlete who stands over 7 feet tall. Real good.

Whereas any number of highly touted NBA hopefuls of greater hype and lesser physical stature have played out their rookie contracts and vanished into the mist, Joel Przybilla would get his chance at redemption. Portland Trailblazer General Manager John Nash was the one and only NBA decision-maker to come through with a guaranteed offer.≠ On Aug. 25, 2004, Joel Przybilla and the Blazers inked a free agent contract for 2 years, paying Joel just over $3 Million. The deal represented a bit less loot than Joel had banked as an NBA lottery pick, but a million-five beats flogging frozen drinks for minimum wage working for Apu Nahasapeemapetilon at Kwik-E-Mart, ya know? •

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Though the team on the floor regularly got whooped, walloped, and whacked during the 2004-05 season, Joel's career began to rebound, so to speak. Przybilla saw action in 76 games for the Blazers in his first year of the new deal, of which he started 50. He quickly became a cult favorite among the fans for his hustle, energy, and hard work. Joel averaged 24.4 minutes per game for the year, a nightly duration which approximates his career average as a "fully employed" starter. His scoring average of 6.4 points per game and rebounding average of 7.7 boards per contest were career bests.

Joel had made it in the NBA at last.

Pryz's personal achievements were severely tempered by the team's performance, however. The 2004-05 Blazers weren't just bad, they were abysmal. The group finished the year with a record of 27-55, tied for the second worst season in franchise history.

The Summer of 2005 saw another free agent signing for Portland. The contract of Seattle Supersonics Head Coach Nate McMillan expired on July 1. No sooner had the fireworks stopped popping when Portland had a legitimate reason to celebrate. The team had a new coach, with McMillan inking a 5 year deal for a reported $30 Million. The process of changing the team's culture was underway.

The ensuing season, 2005-06, was a contract year for Joel again already as the short and sweet 2 year pact he had made with John Nash was drawing to a close. Once again, Pryz needed to play long and strong with a view to building a strong situation for himself in the post-season free agent market. Once again, life intervened. The spirit was willing, the body had its issues.

Throughout the year Joel struggled with tendonitis in his knee, an aggravating and aggravated condition which kept him from playing in 15 games in February and March. Finally, with necessary rest, the injury had resolved itself. Joel made his way back onto the floor — just in time for the next round of bad luck to strike.

On April 5, 2005, playing against the Houston Rockets, Joel was dinged with a hyperextended knee and bone bruise. The joint swelled up and the leg hurt like hell.

Not good. Przybilla was down again. 

Joel was a guest on the next episode of "Trail Blazers Courtside," where he was asked about his tweaked wheel.

"The knee's doing good," he said, although adding that "the chances of me coming back are not too good though. The training staff are just trying to shut me down for the season. I want to get back out there, but I think its best to prevent injury for me to shut it down for the rest of the season, unfortunately."€

That was all she wrote for Joel's year: 52 starts in 56 games played, 6.1 points, 7.0 boards, and an NBA career high 2.3 blocks per game.

The news that Pryzzy's year was finished was yet another bitter pill for long-suffering Blazer fans, already writhing in agony after a bad year. It was obvious what was coming and it did — a total collapse. The Przybilla-less team finished their season with resounding thud, wrapping up 2005-06 with 8 straight defeats and a final record of 21 wins and 61 losses. It was official, the Blazers were the worst team in the NBA. Never Only once before in the entire history of the franchise, dating all the way back to expansion days, had Portland lost more than 60 games.

Yuck.

With the billionaire owner losing massive sums of money and making noise about selling the team, with the city and many former fans disaffected, the once mighty Portland Trailblazer franchise had hit rock bottom. 

Change was called for.

On May 31, 2006, the Blazers announced that the contract of General Manager John Nash — Joel Przybilla's patron — would not be renewed for the coming 2006-07 campaign. The 3-year Blazer period of the ex-TV color commentator and former GM at New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Washington was at an end. Draft duties were to be filled in the interim by the young Director of Player Personnel, Kevin Pritchard. The search for a full-time GM for the team was on. µ

John Nash was not the cause of the plague, nor would he prove to be the ultimate solution. Timing is everything, after all. Nash had addressed the problem of a toxic team culture, shipping such donkeys as Rasheed "Cut the Check" Wallace and Bonzi "Flipper" Wells, but the clock had run out before it was possible for recovery to have taken place. Nash took the bad news like a trooper. Ø

"Although we shared some successes as an organization, I wish we could have made more rapid progress on the court," Nash said in a statement released by the team. "I am very proud of the young men that have joined the team in recent years and, under the guidance of the outstanding coaching staff that is in place, progress will be made in subsequent seasons." µ

"I just needed the opportunity to play," Przybilla recalled. "I always believed in myself. There were some rocky times those first few years, but it was part of the journey. A lot of it was the change of scenery, too. Nash was the guy who gave me the opportunity — I'll always be grateful to him for that." ≠

His 2-year second contract at an end, Joel Przybilla was now an unrestricted free agent . He would be the best Center on the open market in the summer of 2006. Blue skies and broad horizons lay before him, left, right, and center. His destination was his own decision, suitors would be everywhere. A nice payday was due.

It was good to be Joel Przybilla.

Which direction would he choose to go?

Portland's fans watched nervously, fearing the worst.

They crossed their fingers for the return of their starting Center and anxiously anticipated the 2006 NBA Draft.

 

— END OF PART ONE —



Footnotes:

†— Joel Przybilla's career stats may be found at NBA.com, http://www.nba.com/playerfile/joel_przybilla/career_stats.html, and the always useful Basketball-Reference.com, http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/p/przybjo01.html. Both of these sources were used extensively in the writing of this piece.

≠— Kerry Eggers, "Star on Home Court: Joel Przybilla divides focus between Blazers and his family," Portland Tribune, http://www.portlandtribune.com/sports/story.php?story_id=120639645572259000, March 25, 2008.

+— The list of 1998 McDonalds All-Americans may be found at http://statsheet.com/bhsb/mcdonalds_all_american_team/1998

#— "Clem Haskins," Hoopedia wiki, http://hoopedia.nba.com/index.php?title=Clem_Haskins, retrieved Aug. 12, 2009.

‡— "College Basketball's Tarnished 20," FindLaw Sports, http://sports.findlaw.com/basketball/tarnished/01/index.html

≤— Associated Press, "Report: Haskins Lied: Coach Denies Charges He Knew About Fraud," CNNSI, http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/college/news/1999/11/19/minnesota_ad_ap/, Nov. 19, 1999.

¬— The Minnesota players suspended by the team over allegations of academic misconduct included starters Kevin Clark and Miles Tarver plus reserves Terrance Simmons and Antoine Broxsie. Sportsticker Enterprises, "NCAA Tournament Recap (Gonzaga-Minnesota)," CNNSI, http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/college/men/scoreboards/1999/03/11/recap.minnesota.gonzaga.html, March 11, 1999. There is no evidence whatsoever that Joel Przybilla was involved in any such shenanigans.

§— Sarah Mitchell, "Przybilla's Gone, Gophers Hit the Road at Bad Time," Minnesota Daily, http://old.mndaily.com/articles/2000/02/22/13369, Feb. 22, 2000.

∆— Sarah Mitchell, "Przybilla-less Gophers Lose to Illinois 89-80," Minnesota Daily, http://old.mndaily.com/articles/2000/02/18/13337, Feb. 18, 2000.

£— Anthony Maggio, "Przybilla Finds Happiness, Challenges with Bucks," Minnesota Daily, http://old.mndaily.com/articles/2001/07/13/22247, July 13, 2001.

ß— The 2000 NBA Draft went down like this: 1. Kenyon Martin, PF, New Jersey Nets; 2. Stomile Swift, PF, Memphis Grizzlies; 3. Darius Miles, SF, Los Angeles Clippers; 4. Marcus Fizer, PF, Chicago Bulls (yikes!). The thing is, it's not even really worth mocking the Bullies, fun though that may be — there just weren't that many real players who went in 2000. A greater than average number of 1st Rounders simply did not pan out and there were relatively few future stars from whom to choose. Hedo Turkoglu went #16, leading the list of non-lottery talent. The Blazers picked next to last, #28, and took PG Erick Barkley out of St. John's. Remember him? Best pick of the draft was Michael Redd, going to Przybilla's Milwaukee Bucks with the #43 pick in the 2nd Round.

◊— "Answers from Joel Przybilla," NBA.com Chat and Mailboxes, http://www.nba.com/chat_and_mailboxes/answers_przybilla_020205.html, Feb. 5, 2002.

ÿ— An excellent resource of raw data for historical month-by-month and game-by-game analysis is http://www.databaseBasketball.com. For example, for the 2001-02 Bucks see http://www.databasebasketball.com/teams/teamyear.htm?tm=MIL&lg=n&yr=2001

√— A chronicle of Joel Przybilla's injuries appears on the SBNation player page for Joel, http://www.sbnation.com/nba/players/21817/Joel_Przybilla

Ω— "Hawks Acquire Doleac, Przybilla, Pick," NBA.com, http://www.nba.com/hawks/news/trade_040215.html, Feb. 15, 2004.

•— Przybilla's contract was reported as $2.2 Million over 2 years in the press at the time of its signing, but the internet resource Basketball-Reference.com gives the figures as $1,500,000 for 2004-05 and $1,560,000 for 2005-06. These figures are assumed to be correct here. http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/p/przybjo01.html

€— Joel Przybilla, interview with "Trail Blazers Courtside," http://www.nba.com/media/blazers/41106_joel.mp3, April 11, 2006. 

µ— Associated Press, "Nash Won't Return as Trail Blazers' General Manager," ESPN.com, http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2463998 

Ø— It's pretty easy to confuse GM John Nash with GM Bob Whitsett just because the Blazers really sucked and there were a certain continuity of knuckleheads playing for each. But Nash should be remembered fondly by Blazer fans as the guy with the cojones to blow the sucker up and start building it again. Kevin Pritchard merely continued the line of policy begun under the Nash regime. No diss on KP, he's a swell GM, it just seems that sometimes people give him credit for everything. 

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