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From 1 to 35,535: I Heckled Tom OR Anyone ISO a 33-year old guard?

Next up, with 391 minutes played for the Timberwolves in 2003-04, is a 6'2, 188 lb. guard out of Canton, Ohio, who is the second leading scorer in Bowling Green State University history.*

* Random facts: The all time leading scorer for Bowling Green is Anthony Stacey; Bowling Green is one of just 15 universities that play Division I football and Division I hockey; Eva Marie Saint was a member of the Delta Gamma sorority at BGSU; Bowling Green, Ohio, got its name from a postal worker who had previously lived in Bowling Green, KY. How did the town in Kentucky get named? From Bowling Green Square, which is the oldest public park in New York City and was famed as the site where American Revolutionaries toppled a statue of King George, which they melted and used to make bullets for the war.

Our player signed as an undrafted free agent with Minnesota, hung around the NBA for a few years, and then hopped from team to team internationally to keep his career alive. As far as I can tell, he has yet to catch on with a squad for this winter, so it may be that his career is at an end.

My general policy for the From 1 to 35,535 series is to profile only players who have retired, since if they'e active there is always a chance, no matter how minuscule, that they will play again for the Wolves and change their ranking by minutes played.

So, for our purposes here, I am considering this man retired. I heckled Tom = Keith McLeod.*

*More random facts: The surname McLeod is a variation of MacLeoid, meaning "son of Leoid." "Leoid" derives from the Norse name "Ljot-Ulf," which means "ugly wolf." So Keith's surname was a good fit for his time in Minnesota. Another local connection: Gavin MacLeod played Murray Slaughter, writer for Minneapolis's WJM television newscasts on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."

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McLeod's career is not atypical for the many marginal NBA players who become international journeymen. While it must be gratifying making a good living playing a game one (hopefully) loves, it's certainly not a stable lifestyle. Let's look at McLeod's path:

1. Saint Joseph Express (2002)

2. Mabo Prefabbricati Livorno (2002-2003)

3. September 30, 2003: Signed as a free agent with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

4. October 21, 2003: Waived by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

5. October 25, 2003: Signed as a free agent with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

6. January 7, 2004: Waived by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

7. Yakima Sun Kings (2004)

8. Lottomatica Virtus Roma (2004)

9. September 30, 2004: Signed as a free agent with the Utah Jazz.

10. July 12, 2006: Traded by the Utah Jazz with Devin Brown and Andre Owens to the Golden State Warriors for Derek Fisher.

11. January 16, 2007: Traded by the Golden State Warriors with Ike Diogu, Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy to the Indiana Pacers for Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, Sarunas Jasikevicius and Josh Powell.

12. July 11, 2008: Signed as a free agent with the Dallas Mavericks.

13. August 23, 2008: Waived by the Dallas Mavericks.

14. Montepaschi Siena (2008)

15. Albuquerque Thunderbirds (2008-2010)

16. Panionios B.C. (2010-2011)

17. December 10, 2011: Signed as a free agent with the Utah Jazz.

18. December 21, 2011: Waived by the Utah Jazz.

19. Canton Charge (2011-2012)

20. Erie BayHawks (2012)

21. BC Kalev/Cramo (2012-2013)

One decade. Twenty one teams. At least he got to play for his hometown of Canton two years ago. Here's a picture of him during that time, posing with the Fan of The Game:

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And one from his days with KG and Gary Trent after they finished painting a crisis nursery (along with a couple of participants from Minnesota YouthCare):

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As EricinMadison has written a few times, guards like these are not hard to find, and which ones get more time in the NBA than other, similar players often has as much to do with luck, timing, draft position, etc. as it has to do with basketball skill.

Keith McLeod, in summary, was fungible.*

* "Fungible" is in my Top 100 Favorite Words. It's just fun (pun partly intended) to say. Definition: Being of such a nature that one part or quantity may be replaced by another equal part or quantity.


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