The Stars that Never Were
Remember those athletes that you watched in college, that couldn’t wait to see light up your fantasy football team every Sunday? Do you remember those athletes that lit it up against your team during the NCAA tournament, breaking your heart? Or even those homerun hitters that started to decline and revived their career elsewhere? We do too, so here are the top 5 athletes that you probably didn’t forget about, and are now lighting it up elsewhere.
5. Trent Richardson
Trent Richardson was an Alabama Running Back from 2009 through the 2011 season. He was insane in college. He put up over 3000+ rushing yards, with half coming in his third season after his teammate in the backfield and Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram went to the NFL. He scored 42 total touchdowns, won 2 National Championships, and finished third in the Heisman voting himself, behind Robert Griffin III, and Andrew Luck. In his rookie campaign, he played pretty well. He rushed for just short of 1000 yards and had 11 touchdowns for the Cleveland Browns after being selected 3rd overall. Unfortunately, he only was able to add 6 more touchdowns, and 1000 more yards in 2 years, which ended up seeing Richardson out of the NFL after bouncing around a few rosters but never seeing the field. Richardson then found himself in the backfield of the Saskatchewan Roughriders for a season. After a season, Richardson decided not to return to the CFL and joined the roster of the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football in 2018. After eight productive weeks, the league unfortunately folded, leaving Richardson without a team.
4. Tyler Hansbrough
As a six-foot-eight-inch phenom at North Carolina, many people had high hopes for Tyler Hansbrough. Averaging over 20 points per game in his four Tar-Heel years, Tyler was one of the better players to wear the blue Jumpman. Starting all but one game that he played in his career, Hansbrough was a nightmare for his ACC counterparts. After winning Freshman of the year, he later became a three-time All-American, winning the National Player of the Year; he capped it all off with a National Championship. After being a lottery pick, Hansbrough would average 6.7 points per game throughout his career. Hansbrough would, however, resurrect himself as a force, this time though, all the way in China. In his three seasons, he has averaged 23 points, while knocking down over 32 points per contest in his most recent, Covid-shortened season with the Sichuan Blue Whales.
The Eric Thames story is a bit different. A promising young prospect out of Pepperdine, he made his debut in Toronto for the Blue Jays. After a promising rookie campaign, it fell off the rails just a little bit. He bounced around with the Mariners, and then a few minor league teams before trying his luck in Asia. Specifically, playing for the KBO, the South Korean equivalent to the MLB; there, Thames found his groove back. He played there for 3 years, averaging over forty home runs per season! In this illustrious three-year career, Thames achieved many accolades. While becoming just the third foreign player to win the KBO MVP award, he was also a home run leader, a two-time Gold-Glove Winner, and batting champion. He even made his name known on a Korean singing show. (No seriously, check it HERE). After the 2016 season, the Brewers made him an offer, and he flew back home to try his luck back in the states. After three successful seasons with Milwaukee, he now just completed his first season with the Washington Nationals.
2. Johnny Manziel
I know what you’re thinking; You’re wondering why Johnny Football isn’t higher on the list. If we are going by statistics and wins alone, then maybe. But, with this list, that’s not the only factor. Money Manziel accounted for 93 total touchdowns in just two seasons at the helm of his time with the Texas A&M Aggies. Before declaring for the Draft, Manziel became the first freshman to win the prestigious Heisman Trophy award, setting many school, conference, and NCAA records en route to his late first-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. While showing little promise in his first season, Manziel made improvements in his second season. While he didn’t win the starting job outright, he did see some action because of injuries to the starter, Brian Hoyer. Starting six of the ten games he appeared in, Manziel threw for 1,500 yards, with seven touchdowns and five interceptions, while adding over 200 yards on the ground. Manziel did not make the team the following season, and in 2017 was contacted about joining the CFL. After some failed negotiations, he found himself on the Montreal Alouettes. He struggled in Montreal; he was not able to find consistency and had a touchdown to interception ratio of 5:7. After some more personal issues, Manziel found himself in the Alliance of American Football. After struggling again, the league shut down in 2019.
1. Jimmer Freddette
Did you think the answer would be different? "Jimmer Mania" was awesome to watch, especially during the 2010-2011 season. In his first three seasons, he combined for 15 points per game. Then, in his senior season, he averaged a cool 28 points per game, running away with the Player of the Year Award, along with many other accolades. In 2011, he was selected 10th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks but was immediately traded to the Kings. In his eight NBA seasons, Jimmer played for five NBA teams, never averaging more than nineteen minutes per game, and averaging his most points during his rookie campaign, with 7.6. In 2016, Fredette decided to try something new and opted for the Chinese team, the Shanghai Sharks; Fredette did not disappoint. He averaged over 35 points per game in both years, willing himself to an MVP award in his first year. He also led the league in scoring, even dropping SEVENTY TWO POINTS in a loss in 2017. Jimmer tried a resurgence to the NBA with the Suns, but it didn’t go as planned. In just a few games, he averaged just 3.7 points, and his contract was declined. Now, he is just starting a career in Greece.
For me, Jimmer Freddette is the number one choice for this list. In his senior campaign, he was unstoppable. If you think I’ve missed any leave a comment below or feel free to message me @noah_arendsen on Twitter or any of the Globally Ballin social media accounts. We’d love to hear from you, thank you!
This piece was written by Noah Arendsen, a common contributor for Globally Ballin.
For more from this writer, be sure to follow him on twitter @noah_arendsen