Willie Reed and Greg Smith were early entries in the NBA draft and confident enough that they would be among the 60 selections that they each hosted draft parties and invited media members to cover the event.
They ultimately went undrafted, and that can really kill the mood of a party quickly.
For Reed, the former Saint Louis forward, getting drafted was going to be an uphill climb after he missed his junior season while being suspended. Family, friends and former coaches gathered at a restaurant in his native Kansas City hoping to hear his name get called, and it didn't work out that way, according to the Kansas City Star.
Before the big night, Reed was told to expect being selected in the second round, between the No. 45 and 60 picks. This both delighted and distressed Reed as he openly expressed his thoughts on his Twitter feed; an emotional timeline of nerves and excitement starting with high hopes: "7 hours til #2011NBADraft. *Deep Breathe* …"
Then an hour before the draft, Reed Sr. said the family received the warning from his son’s agent, Todd Ramasar. The reality: brace yourselves for a change of plans.
"(Ramasar) basically said be prepared not to hear his name called," Reed Sr. said.
For Smith, the talented center who left Fresno State after his sophomore season, the party at his uncle's house went quiet as big man after big man kept getting drafted in the second round, according to the Fresno Bee.
The draft was whittling to its end. Gloom was setting in. Smith's girlfriend and small daughter sat next to him. Seven picks remained.
With six picks left, [uncle Stephen] Shelley whispered in Smith's ear. As the 56th selection was announced, Smith began to make his way upstairs. Shelley trailed.
The sound of a closing door followed. The draft had shut Smith out.
For every dream that came true during the draft, depressing scenes like these quietly unfolded across the nation for the players who weren't taken. They can perhaps find comfort in the form of riches made overseas and the freedom to choose where to sign, but it's likely they won't soon forget how going undrafted felt last night.