News » Boozer, others give public perception a makeover

Boozer, others give public perception a makeover

Boozer, others give public perception a makeoverThe angry cloud over Salt Lake City was voluminous and gaining downward momentum. Like a rogue boom mike in a low-budget movie, it danced above the embattled dome of Carlos Boozer, the All-Star forward who had gone public with an interest in skipping town.

One season before his emergence as the clubhouse leader in the Rookie of the Year derby, Jennings was all but declared a career bust by journalists returning from presumed fact-finding missions in Italy. What they found was an American kid assigned to the bench in a professional basketball culture that doesn't exactly turn cartwheels over young point guards from the U.S. club-basketball circuit.

It should be noted that the perception of Jennings was fashioned by much improper reporting of how and why he ended up playing as a professional in Europe. Based on lopsided interpretations of what had occurred, many basketball fans were led to believe that Jennings simply decided to skip college basketball and arrogantly await his NBA Draft destiny while making decent bank overseas.

Very few fans were steered toward the reality that Jennings initially failed to achieve a college-entrance exam score that would enable him to be eligible to play college basketball at the University of Arizona (his choice) or anywhere else. When subsequent test scores were red-flagged, Jennings — whose decision should have inspired less turmoil than the U of A program generated all by itself — absorbed some advice from U.S. grassroots basketball godfather Sonny Vaccaro (yeah, there's some sarcasm in that description) and took another route.

So, armed with a year of sitting and learning, Jennings returned to his homeland for the 2009 NBA Draft. But after pre-draft workouts, many personnel sharpies still considered him the poster child for an American developmental system (as random and iffy as it is) that was coaxed into its current cowboy state by sneaker companies.

He was still on the board when the Bucks checked at the 10th spot in the first round.

The only perception the seemingly humbled and hard-working Jennings has been unable to change is the perception that causes us to believe some NBA wise men aren't that wise.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 30, 2009


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