I know he's pretty much a punchline these days (more on that later), but for one glorious season, Sam Okey was a stud. No, a phenom.
Okey was practically a household name in Wisconsin after leading tiny Cassville to 4 straight title appearances and was routinely mentioned as "The Best Wisconsin HS player ever." In your face, Joe Wolf! And no, he wasn't just some big kid rolling 130 pound sophomores in a two-bit high school conference. He was a McD All-American and named MVP of some fancy Las Vegas AAU tourny over guys like Kevin Garnett and Tractor Trailer.
Rarely does a player live up to the hype, but Okey did his Freshman year (1995-96). First player in Big-11 history to lead their team in Points, Rebounds, Assist, and blocks. As a Frosh?
The exact details are fuzzy, but Bucky played in one of the big invites to start the year (Maui, Great Alaska...one of those) that was loaded with future NBAers (Kerry Kittles was one, for sure). My friend's dad was a scout for the Bucks at the time, attended, and said "Okey was the best pro prospect out there."
Then, it all went south. He couldn't co-exist with new Coach Dick Bennett's style of game, got a bunch of ink, reportedly sat in Madison bars burning rockets for hours on end, got an underage drinking ticket in a UW Whitewater bar, his play suffered, opposing fans chanted "Smokey, Okey," transferred to Iowa, broke his wrist, hellooooo CBA, and last I heard was playing rec leagues in Middleton. It seems everybody has an Okey story.
Too bad. He was a really, really skilled basketball player.
And the from the powers of Google, I bring you this.