Thu Oct 22 12:13pm EDT
The stories of Terrelle Pryor and LeBron James are far, far from finished, but let it be written that, wherever their careers wind up, pretty much everyone saw the same things in them in the beginning:
Almost a year after that declaration, made during Pryor's seventh (non-revelatory) start as a true freshman at Ohio State, the irony is that Buckeye fans and coaches alike are still waiting for that moment when the light goes on for their hyped quarterback -- and after last Saturday's debacle at Purdue, clearly beginning to wonder if it ever will. With so much of the goodwill around Pryor seeming to evaporate so quickly over the last few days, then, it's very generous and noble, etc., that King James -- a former Buckeye football recruit himself -- is finding a few minutes between Sprite ads and not actually getting dunked on to reach out to his gridiron proxy:
"(I’m) trying to mentor him and get him through 'life in the spotlight,' which I’ve been through," James said after a preseason game in Columbus on Wednesday night.
James said he has been speaking to Pryor on the phone in recent weeks to try to help him deal with celebrity at a young age.
"Being that No. 1 guy, how do you adjust to it and how do you get through it and still perform at a high level?" James said. "Sometimes it can be very difficult on (a young athlete). I’m trying to be that guy who can really help him get through a lot of situations which he’s never seen before but now he's seeing and understanding."
This is the appropriate question as Pryor suddenly faces more heat than hype for the first time in his life, although I have to wonder if "recent weeks" includes "last week": If LeBron was already playing the mentor before Pryor hit bottom with four turnovers against the Boilermakers, his contributions to his fellow prodigy's mental preparation and maturity don't have much to recommend them out of the gate.
If Pryor rebounds from adversity, though, the Buckeyes know where to send the bill. (Oh, and Nike calls dibs on Terrelle and all images, scans and/or representations of his frontal lobe for Pryor's inevitable turn on "Dr. LeBron's" psychiatric coach in ads two years hence.)