April 14, 2008

Superstar struggled with his decision

It's official. Michael Beasley is a student-athlete no more, and while the 6-foot-10 forward forfeited his amateur eligibility when he signed with pro agent Joel Bell and tossed his name into the proverbial NBA Draft hat Monday, all of it almost never came to be. Yes, the superstar that was labeled as a one-and-done commodity since arriving in Manhattan Kan., not even a year ago came surprisingly close to shocking the world by extending his college career by another season.

The Washington D.C. native wavered between college and pro basketball right up until the 11th hour Monday, and while everything in his future finally seemed clear to him when he began to read a prepared statement proclaiming his intentions to turn pro, everything was still a bit of blur for the days and even hours that preceded his announcement.

"When I sat down with Mike, his mom, (K-State head coach Frank Martin) and (D.C. Assault head coach) Curtis Malone to weigh the pros and cons, he said he was ready for the NBA," said K-State assistant coach Dalonte Hil . "That didn't last though. He came back to us the next day and said he wasn't ready for it. We wanted to let him know he was welcome to come back. At the end of the day, he made the right choice."

But why the change of heart?

Why would an 19-year old kid with millions of dollars in salary and endorsement deals within his reach decide, even for a moment, to put fame and fortune on the back burner for yet another year?

Those are questions best suited for Beasley and those close to him, and anyone that followed the Wildcats this season knows there's no one closer to the K-State superstar than the woman that gave birth to him more than 19 years ago.

"He was tussling with it all day today," said Fatima Smith, Beasley's mother, immediately following her son's press conference. "He knew his decision, but he was still tussling with it today. He was asking himself 'what if?' He loves his teammates, the fans, the coaches and the community. When I walked into the house at 3:15 today, he said, 'Ma, I don't know.' I told him that if he didn't want to, he shouldn't do it, and if he did want to go, so be it."

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!