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Jerryd Bayless Has Haters

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In the post below this one, I wrote that the one trait that all 8 high school players featured in the new movie "Gunnin' For That #1 Spot" shared was a dogged determination to become the best.  It just so happened that the newest Trail Blazer, Jerryd Bayless, was one of the 8 players featured.

With this kind of determination and the resulting success it creates, apparently, comes a jug full of haterade.  Check out some of the comments in this recent article regarding Mr. Bayless's selection in the NBA draft.  Usually I'm not one to put too much stock into internet messageboard comments (except here on BE of course), but the ones posted on this article are fascinating, as the readers of this article are, presumably, his hometown fans.  One would think they would be among his most ardent fans and would be happy for a local-boy made good. 

Au contraire, here are a few of the most brutal ones...

I hate to say, he is so stuck on himself, the NBA is going to level him. His career probably wont last long at all, because it's all about Bayless and not the rest of the team. Team work doesnt mean anything to him at all. He made a very big mistake leaving college and he is going to find out real quick about that mistake. His media interview alone, proved that its all about him and know one else. I feel sorry for his future as other have been in this same situation and have failed hard. Bayless needs to learn that its not all about him and he needs to be a team player.

he's a headcase

 Bayless definitely thinks way too much of himself. He'll never be a team leading point guard or star shooting guard in the NBA. He'll be a decent supportive player and that's it. And he won't be the best NBA player to come out of AZ either...

Whoa.  Needless to say, my first reaction was worry. 

Where did all this vitriol come from?  I scoured the archives looking for answers.  And, in reading through a number of articles, it is clear that Bayless is supremely determined, supremely confident, and supremely talented.  Perhaps that rubbed some people the wrong way?  Here are a few links. 

Bayless always driven to win

 It had to be about 17 or 18 years ago when Jerryd Bayless started uttering his first words. After the usual "Mom" and "Dad," one of the first phrases he put together was this:

"I the boss of myself."

After his mother, Denise Bowman, gasped with amazement, she quickly figured she might be in trouble.

 Expectations Haven't Hurt UA's Bayless

In February 2004, I visited St. Mary's High School to watch a basketball player who was receiving an uncomfortable amount of attention for a freshman.

Despite an impressive support system of family and coaches, I wondered what would become of him. The path to greatness is littered with causalities of high expectations, strewn with victims of emotional and physical burnout.

Four years. Let's revisit this story in four years.   
It's four years, and Arizona freshman Jerryd Bayless is doing just fine, thank you very much.

Sean Elliott on Bayless

 Sean Elliott resisted the temptation of turning pro after his junior season.

But the former University of Arizona and Cholla High School basketball star doesn't begrudge freshman Wildcat Jerryd Bayless for jumping to the NBA.


Elliott believes Bayless "has the physical talent" to make the leap this early, whereas, "physically, I wasn't ready" after the junior season.

Perhaps even more interesting, though, are two articles that appear to directly contradict the most explosive of the commenters' charges: that he is a me-only player.  

 Freshman Bayless piles up numbers

Despite the numbers Bayless is piling up, O'Neill describes him as a "very unselfish player."

"To be honest, it is difficult for him at times to really understand what I am saying when I say, 'Just go.' His tendency is to move the ball and get everybody involved," O'Neill said.

 Bayless looking to prove himself

But, on this day, the former Phoenix St. Mary's High star was passing out boxes of food to families in need.

"It's good to do something like this," he said. "It's a good cause."

The 6-foot-3 Bayless wants it known he can make an assist, whether it be in the community or on the basketball court.

Given the Trail Blazers' well-known thorough researching of draft prospects, I am fully confident they have done their homework on Bayless.  And, in all his recent interviews and everything else I have read online, he seems like a perfect fit for our culture.

In reading through these articles, particularly the last two, I am still worried.  But not about Bayless. I am worried about what's being put in Arizona drinking water. Let the man shine.

There's another thing I am not worried about: Portland's fans will surely appreciate, and embrace, Jerryd Bayless' dogged work ethic.

-- Ben (