The list of 80 underclassmen who officially declared for the NBA draft includes likely No. 1 overall pick John Wall, national player of the year Evan Turner and dozens of other well-known college stars.
It also includes a 5-foot-11, 175-pound guard from a 1,000-student Division III school in Alabama who averaged two points per game last season.
Meet John Sloan, probably the only NBA hopeful Huntingdon College has ever produced. The Albertville, Alabama native averaged a mere 10.1 minutes per game as a junior for a team that finished 11-14 last season, yet his name is right there on the official early-entry list alongside some of college basketball's brightest stars.
Since Sloan has decided not to play basketball as a senior so he can find a part-time job that will help pay for pharmacy school, he joked one night with his friends a few weeks ago that he should enter the NBA draft. None of them thought he was serious, but he followed through on the idea, researching the draft process, hunting down a phone number for the league office and sending in his paperwork a couple weeks ago.
Sloan was taking a final exam last Thursday afternoon when the NBA released the official early-entry list and his phone started buzzing.
"I got a whole lot of calls and text messages during the final to the point where I kind of got in trouble for my phone blowing up," Sloan said. "Guys were calling to tell me, 'They're writing about you on Twitter and you're all over the Internet.' It's hilarious. Everyone doesn't understand how I got on the list or how I'm getting all this attention."
Attention-seeking pranks like these happen every year, but the fact that Sloan has a college basketball background made it harder for the NBA to dismiss him. He has no intention of withdrawing by the May 8 deadline, joking that he may accept one of his friends' offers to serve as his agent.
Of course, Sloan has no delusions that he might be drafted in June, though he has come up with one semi-plausible scenario.
"I'm pretty much counting on one of these big owners with a late second-round pick having a real big night partying the night before the draft and being like let's blow everybody's mind and draft that Sloan kid," he said, chuckling. "I think my best shot is that Russian billionaire with the Nets. They've got the first pick in the second round, but maybe they'll trade down. They can get me and a pick next year."
That's John Sloan. A kid with Division I dreams, Division III talent and an NBA-caliber sense of humor.
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