Before last season, Chris McCullough was seen as sure-fire pro, a good bet for the lottery. One of the top rated high school power forwards in 2014, he planned on a one-and-done year at Syracuse. Then, in January, the 6'11" (or 6'10") Bronx product blew out his knee and everything changed.
The Nets took him at No. 29, barely a first-rounder, and that night, both McCullough and his agent said they thought he would be ready for full contact practice in November ... but wouldn't guarantee anything. ESPN's Chad Ford, among others, said it was unlikely he would play at all this season. The spin was that if he didn't play, that would be just fine. McCullough would be the Nets' first round equivalent next season when they have no pick.
Now, as Mitch Abramson reports in a lengthy profile, no one is saying much at all about when the 20-year-old will be ready. He uses words like "take my time" and "it’s a process" to describe his timetable for returning, Abramson writes. As for whether he might sit the year, McCullough said yes, that's possible...
"Absolutely, I’d sit out the whole year because it’s only going to benefit me in the long run," McCullough told the Daily News.
Billy King was similarly circumspect, telling Abramson, "The rehab is progressing as expected. There is no timetable for his return to the court. The goal is to get him back on the court when we feel he is safely ready to compete."
What about that video from two weeks ago showing him shooting the lights out, showing off an effortless crossover and slamming home two dunks? It was a tease and may indicate some tension about his rehab, Abramson writes. Corey Porter, a college senior who's been chronicling McCullough's NBA journey, produced the video. It became controversial. McCullough is jogging now in his rehab, but has not been cleared to run yet ... or dunk.
"(Chris) was like, ‘Oh (the Nets) asked can you take it down? I didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to dunk," said Porter. "I was like, ‘No worries.’ He barely jumped on the dunks." So Porter took it down ... then put it back up.
One positive from the profile is what Jim Boeheim told Abramson about McCullough. The guy with the #TheySleep hashtag campaign has "as much potential as anybody that I’ve coached," said the Syracuse coach.
So while we won't sleep on McCullough, we guess we'll just have to wait.
End Zone: Nets' 1st-rounder looking to prove doubters wrong - Mitch Abramson - New York Daily News