I figured it’s about time to own up to it. So yes, Mustapha Farrakhan , I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for writing you off so early in your career. I’m sorry for pegging you as a “he’ll never change and never contribute” category player. I’m sorry I didn’t give you a chance to put together a career first.
You see, I made the mistake of deciding too early on Mustapha Farrakhan . When he checked into games as a sophomore, I’d turn to Bailey Stephens, then TheSabre.com’s intern, and say ‘I’m gonna get mine.’ The point? That Farrakhan would play selfishly, try too hard to do too much, and force up shots. It’s what I always view as the ‘I’m going to score my points regardless of anything else’ syndrome that plagues too many players. And Farrakhan fell squarely in to that category for me. Taking 4.13 shots per game in only 10.4 minutes of playing time will do that – he’s not even taking shots at that clip now as the team leader in shot attempts.
Fairly, or unfairly, that’s what I saw in those games back then. Certainly some of that could have stemmed from the program’s situation at that time. The team knew there was pressure to win. Then-coach Dave Leitao had a short leash and a short temper. So for many players, it seemed like they felt the need to live up to his tough and aggressive descriptors in order to earn playing time. In an effort to prove themselves, players often look to scoring points first.
That aside, watching Farrakhan drove me crazy. More so than Jeff Jones or Sylven Landesberg , two players who had similar tendencies in my mind. And it wasn’t fair. Especially not as a coach who should understand the ups and downs of players’ performances and the different pace of development for different players. And we see now who stuck it out – I’m not judging decisions, just stating there’s only one of those guys left.
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