Friday, July 27, 2007

Qyntel Woods: still earning a living playing basketball

It seems like ages ago we had Qyntel Woods in the fold. Don't forget that for a time, we were all enchanted by the talent. 2002 was a relatively weak draft overall, but Woods was considered by many a steal at pick #21. As reality would play out, we'd find that Qyntel was one of the few who makes Darius Miles look like a success story.

We heard scouts say that at 6'8, Qyntel was one of the most athletic players in the league. I remember some Blazer staff saying he could beat anyone on the team in a game of 1 on 1, a team featuring Rasheed in his prime and a budding Zach Randolph. He mostly rode the bench his rookie season, we heard he was a little raw for primetime. Stories of his potential became urban legends, swapped and exaggerated between giddy Blazer fans.

Then came the offseason and Summer League, when Qyntel Woods lost his mind. He had that 37 point game, and lead the "league" with 28 a game. In case you don't remember, people onced described him as a "cornerstone of the franchise's future." The hope was serious.

As it turns out, Summer League wasn't the real NBA back then either. Maybe he never worked on his game like he should, or maybe he never really had much besides crazy length and athleticism, but Qyntel didn't show much that season.

Woods would lose his mind again, but not in a good way. We heard about what would become one of the most truly sad and bizarre incidents in Jailblazer history:

"He was arrested for marijuana possession and driving without a license in 2003. the original traffic stop was for speeding. When the officer smelled marijuana smoke coming from the vehicle, the nature of the stop went from routine to a full search.
It was found that Woods was driving without a valid license or insurance, had marijuana in the car, was under the influence of marijuana while driving, and was speeding. In the end the charge came down to possession, diving under an invalid license and operating a vehicle without insurance.
The court ordered Woods to pay over $1000 in fines, and the NBA benched him for several games. So how did he get in trouble for having an invalid license and no insurance? When the officer asked him the routine "license and registration please" he reportedly handed him only his basketball trading card and a credit card, unable to produce his license, insurance or registration at the time."

And we all know it got worse from there. Qyntel was arrested for running a pitbull fighting operation, before Ron Mexico made it abhorrent. A trailblazer or sorts.

Portland gave him the boot when the dog fighting came up. I guess he wasn't famous enough for people to care about his record as he got snatched up by the Miami Heat. A season later he got picked up by the Knicks and got the first real playing time of his NBA career, the next season he brought his potential to the D-League.

Of course given his past, it was crazy that he still had anything resembling an NBA career.

Those days might finally be over, but Qyntel Woods is still earning his paycheck playing basketball. Earlier this month he signed a two-year deal with the Greek team Olympiacos. A new opportunity and a drastic change of scenery, its not too late for Qyntel to make it somewhere.

As long as its not with the Portland Trailblazers, thats fine with me.

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