2005 NBA draft entrant turns pro at last

A California junior college center was the subject of major Division I interest, with coaches at Chabot College in Hayward, Calif., reporting it had received calls from Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina and Texas.

There was only one problem.

"Some of them didn't know who he was, as he kind of showed up on the map," Chabot assistant coach Devin Aye said.

Kyle Luckett, a 7-footer with NBA dreams, had long ago declared for the draft right out of South Side (Ind.) High School. That was in 2005, the last draft in which players could enter the draft immediately after graduating from high school.

Luckett went undrafted and had been ineligible to play NCAA basketball for such a long time that most college coaches didn't even realize it or know that the big man's story had gotten considerably worse after the NBA passed on him.

According to the Oakland Tribune, Luckett was homeless for the better part of four years before landing at Chabot at age 24 and learning that he was eligible to play -- even with the bad feet, according to Chabot head coach Denny Aye.

"He had these huge callouses all over. I looked at them and asked, 'What in the world is that?' What somebody basically said is that he had the feet of a homeless guy, guys who wore bad shoes or the wrong size shoes for a long period of time. I'd never seen feet look so bad."

Earlier this month, Chabot announced that Luckett, after averaging a double-double and more than four blocks per game as a sophomore, had signed a professional contract to play in Hungary. Besides the ill-fated Division I college recruitment, about 20 NBA scouts had come to Chabot to check him out, as there was interest in bringing him to the NBA Development League.

At long last, after having fallen on hard times and arrived at Chabot two years ago with little more than a few articles of clothing, Luckett is a pro. For too long, it had been a dream deferred.

"It's definitely inspiring," Devin Aye said. "A lot of people say it's the real-life 'The Blind Side' here in Hayward. He never had a true direction in life. He got one here."

(Hat tip: norcalbasketball.blogspot.com)