Tractor Traylor: On the next VH1 Where are they now...
I'm sure it's old news that Big Robert "Tractor" Traylor is trying to make it back to the NBA, but am I the only person to learn from wikipedia just how big of an underachiever he was:
Traylor was a McDonald's All-American the same year as Kevin Garnett, Vince Carter and Paul Pierce. He attended the University of Michigan. Standing 6 feet 8 inches and packing 325 pounds, he joined a formidable front court for the Wolverines that included Maurice Taylor and Maceo Baston. That year he broke a backboard while dunking in a game against Ball State and also broke his arm in a car accident while out with teammates and potential recruit Mateen Cleaves (who ended up attending Michigan State). Traylor helped lead the Wolverines to the 1997 National Invitation Tournament title, and was named the tournament's most valuable player. His junior year was his best, as he averaged 16.2 points and 10 rebounds while leading his team to the second round of the NCAA Tournament as a four seed.
Traylor was one of the former Michigan players whose ties to booster Ed Martin roiled the program.
Due to NCAA violations connected to the case (principally the compromising of Traylor's amateur status), Michigan withdrew from consideration for the 2003 NCAA tournament, lost scholarships and was placed on probation. The school also forfeited every game in which Traylor played and scrubbed his records from its record book. Traylor also had to surrender his MVP award for the 1997 NIT, as well as his MVP award in the 1998 Big Ten tournament. Murray-Wright High School in Detroit, where Traylor played high school basketball, voluntarily forfeited its entire 1994-95 season (Traylor's senior season). "
He was a McDonalds all American with KG, VC, Paul Pierce, Stephon Marbury, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Chauncey Billips, and Antawn Jamison. Unbelieveable.
Tractor Traylor was good in his days at Michigan but its a little hard to believe that A, it's possible his talent was seen to be even close to those guys, B, he went 6th in the 1998 NBA Draft, and C, he was traded for Pat Garrity and Dirk Nowitzki. Even if you take Dirk out, the trade is still a steal for the Mavericks. Wow.
His life sucks. Good luck backing that thang up the Second Go-Round.
Just a sidenote, SI.com has him at #16 in all-time NBA busts. At least he's no Sam Bowie, ha.
He's been a big disappointment, but I don't know if he qualifies as an all-time historic bust. I mean, the guy played seven years in the NBA, which is about twice as long as the average career. There have been many lottery picks who never lasted beyond their rookie contracts (if that). Obviously, it's the fact that he was traded for Dirk that makes him seem to stand out.
As for why he didn't do better in the pros, I think it's a combination of 1) his weight/conditioning issues and 2) lack of height/athleticism to play the 4. I don't think he's really 6'8".