Reporting Dave Wischnowsky
By Dave Wischnowsky –
(CBS) Twenty-five years ago this month, the Chicago Bulls enjoyed an NBA Draft Night that laid nearly as much of their championship foundation as the one that brought some kid named Jordan to town three seasons earlier.
In 1987, Bulls general manager Jerry Krause was at his “organization-building” best when he flipped No. 8 pick Olden Polynice for a lanky forward out of Central Arkansas named Scottie Pippen that Seattle had selected at No. 5. Two picks later, Krause plucked Clemson forward Horace Grant off the board at No. 10.
And just like that, Chicago’s “Dobermans” were born.
Not every Bulls’ draft has been as memorable as that one, however. Some have instead produced guys that we forget about almost as soon as their name is announced, which is very well what might happen during tonight’s draft when the Bulls pick 29th overall.
In light of that possibility – or likelihood – I’ve compiled a list of five of the Bulls’ most forgettable first-rounders from the past 25 years and what they’re up to today:
2000: Dalibor Bagaric
Many Bulls fans may remember Bagaric, the 7-foot-1, 290-pound Croatian who played for Chicago from 2000 to 2003. But what many might not recall is that bald-headed Bagaric – a guy with career averages of 2.6 points and 2.5 rebounds – was also a first-round pick.
In 2000, the Bulls selected him 24th overall behind fellow first-round picks Marcus Fizer (No. 4) and Chris Mihm (No. 7, who was immediately dealt for Jamal Crawford).
Neither Fizer nor Mihm lived up to their billing and Bagaric didn’t exactly wow either with his high point coming during 2001-02 when he averaged 3.7 points and 3.2 points per game.
A year later, the Bulls bought out Bagaric’s contract and he headed back to Europe, where he most recently played for KK Cedevita, a Croatian professional team whose alumni include former Bull and Peoria native A.J. Guyton.
1997: Keith Booth
Back in 1997, the Bulls selected Booth, a 6-foot-6 guard out of Maryland, with the 28th pick of the draft. Just two seasons – and a mere 130 total points – later he was out of basketball.
After the NBA thing didn’t work out, Booth eventually headed back to Maryland where he earned his degree in criminology and criminal justice before embarking on a coaching career that began at a middle school in suburban Baltimore.
Following a stint working on former coach Gary Williams’ staff at his alma mater, Booth has become a women’s assistant basketball coach at the University of Loyola in Maryland.
1996: Travis Knight
In 1996, the Bulls owned the draft’s 29th pick – just like this evening – and they used it to take possession of Knight, a gangly 7-foot center from the University of Connecticut.
Well, for a while, at least.
In July ’96, less than a month after the Bulls drafted him, the team renounced Knight’s rights rather than give him the required three-year contract for first-round picks. He must have really wowed in post-draft workouts, huh.
Knight instead went on to sign with the Lakers and spent seven years bouncing from L.A. to Boston to New York before retiring in 2003.
With Los Angeles, he won a championship in 2000 and also made history. In 1999, Knight set the NBA Playoff record for the quickest disqualification, requiring only six minutes to pick up six fouls during Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals.
These days, Knight has switched from fouls to fish and owns a fishing business down in Nicaragua.
1991: Mark Randall
In 1991, just weeks after the Bulls had won the first of their six titles, the team made its first pick as a champion.
Unfortunately, it ended up being a disappointment in 6-foot-8 Kansas forward Mark Randall, who went 26th overall – and then averaged just 2.6 points per game for his career.
For the Bulls, Randall played in only 15 games and tallied just 26 points before he headed off to suit up for less-than-remarkable stints in Minnesota, Detroit and Denver. In 1995, he retired and has since become a Community Ambassador for the Nuggets.
These days, Randall also runs the “Mark Randall Basketball Camp” every summer in his hometown of Greenwood Village, Colo., located in suburban Denver.
1989: Jeff Sanders
In 1989, two years after adding Pippen and Grant and five years after selecting Michael Jordan, the Bulls entered Draft Night with three picks among the first 20.
Two of them were used on Stacey King (the sixth pick) and B.J. Armstrong (the 18th), who both went on to enjoy memorable careers, while the third was used on, well, Jeff Sanders.
A 6-foot-8 forward out of Georgia Southern, Sanders was selected 20th overall but went on to score just 28 points in 31 games for the Bulls. Things didn’t get much more productive for Sanders after he left Chicago for stops in Charlotte and Atlanta, where he played only 24 additional games and tallied just 84 additional points.
A forgotten man in Chicago, Sanders apparently hasn’t forgotten the city. According to Georgia Southern’s website, Jeff now owns a medical software company located in the Chicagoland area.
If nothing else, Dave Wischnowsky is an Illinois boy. Raised in Bourbonnais, educated at the University of Illinois and bred on sports in the Land of Lincoln, he now resides on Chicago’s North Side, just blocks from Wrigley Field. Formerly a reporter and blogger for the Chicago Tribune, Dave currently writes a syndicated column, The Wisch List, which you can check out via his blog at http://www.wischlist.com. Follow him on Twitter @wischlist and read more of his CBS Chicago blog entries here.