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Sebastian Telfair Lacked Good Mentors in Portland

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Bleacher Report released a new look into the sad tale of Portland’s former first round pick.

Portland Trail Blazers v New York Knicks Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The tales of hyped high school stars failing to meet their potential as NBA stars are fairly common. Sebastian Telfair had one of biggest when the Portland Trail Blazers drafted him 13th overall in the 2004 NBA Draft. Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report recent wrote an extensive update on the life of the former Blazers point guard, including his fall from the NBA and arrest last June on felony weapons charges.

Telfair, the cousin of former NBA star Stephon Marbury, was the sixth ranked prospect in the country when he went straight to the NBA from high school in ‘04. According to Weitzman and former Blazers coach Nate McMillan, this was the start of problems.

Unlike now, per McMillan, when Telfair was drafted, there was no infrastructure to help teenagers acclimate to the league. There were no team-provided meals, no personnel to help kids like Telfair, someone forced to move 3,000 miles from home while his mother stayed back in Brooklyn to care for Telfair's sick dad.

McMillan also suggested jealousy from other Blazers players created a poor learning environment for Telfair.

"Given all the hype coming in, Sebastian definitely had some teammates who looked at him differently," McMillan says.

A current NBA player who is a longtime friend of Telfair says the two have discussed this issue before.

"The guys on that team weren't good mentors for him," the player says.

Telfair ended up playing just two seasons in Portland, averaging 8.1 points and 3.5 assists.

He was traded on June 28, 2006 to the Boston Celtics along with Theo Ratliff in exchange for Raef LaFrentz, Dan Dickau, and the seventh overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, which became Randy Foye. Foye was then traded for the sixth overall pick, Brandon Roy. Telfair eventually played on eight different teams, with his last action coming in the 2014-2015 season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Telfair’s legal troubles began around the time of his initial trade, when he was arrested for felony possession of a weapon after driving 32 miles per hour over the speed limit in Florida with a suspended license. He was arrested again on June 11th of this year in New York and now faces a multitude of weapons and marijuana charges.