High School Basketball Star Announces He Will Skip College, Go Straight To Embittered Alcoholism

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Vol 31 Issue 15

Viewer Outraged

SHREVEPORT, LA—Longtime television viewer Abraham Frank, 78, expressed outrage Tuesday over a Married With Children episode in which a swimsuit beauty pageant featured many scantily clad young ladies, many with oiled skin. "I am outraged," Frank said. "I did not care for that program one bit." In the past, Frank has been outraged by televised displays of violence, interracial romance and the use of the word "booty."

Unpopular High-Schoolers Downplay Significance Of Prom

DOVER, DE—With Dover Central High School's May 11 prom fast approaching, unpopular seniors Kenneth Edmonds, 17, and James Montauk, 18, are actively downplaying the significance of the dance. "I feel sorry for those kids who have to dress up in those monkey suits all night," said Edmonds, a top-notch science student who plans to attend Cornell University in the fall. "They won't have any idea how dumb they look." Montauk, who dismissed the event as "stupid and lame," plans to spend prom night participating in an on-line Duke Nukem 3D tournament.

Major League Baseball To Retire All Black Players

NEW YORK—In honor of Brooklyn Dodgers legend Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball's color barrier 50 years ago last week, Major League Baseball officials announced Monday the retirement of all black players, effective immediately. "Jackie Robinson was a true pioneer and an extraordinary human being," said acting commissioner of baseball Bud Selig in a formal ceremony. "Today, we honor his memory in the greatest way possible—by making sure that no other athlete ever occupies his role as a professional black baseball player." Among the players retired Monday in Robinson's honor: Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds and Frank Thomas. NHL officials said they would do the same.

My Night In Hunk Heaven

How's this for a triple threat: It's Monday, I have a yeast infection, and it's my birthday. (Fortunately, I've learned how to halt the aging process--I stopped counting at 29!)

Horoscope for the week of April 23, 1997

You will be attacked by knife-wielding maniacs who will stab you 27 times, but take heart—a simple mixture of salt and lemon juice should get the stains out of your clothes.

Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me Jerry Garcia Was Dead?

Whoa, dude, shit. This is heavy. This is so... God, I don't know. Let me tell you, man. I was sitting down with all these people on the sidewalk in front of Beads 'N' More Beads one day last year, just playing the guitar and making bracelets, and everybody was talking about Jerry Garcia.

Is The President Above The Law?

Last week, President Clinton's Whitewater business partner was sentenced to three years in prison, while the president avoided standing trial. Days later, Attorney General Janet Reno announced she would not order an investigation of Clinton's questionable 1996 election fund-raising. Should presidents in some cases be exempt from prosecution?

Curse You, Rogue Highwayman!

For the past week the Zweibel Estate has been transformed into a vast fortress. The servants have been busy boarding up the windows, digging trenches and sandbagging the grounds. Why, you ask? A rogue highwayman rides loose in the county, robbing wealthy landowners and distributing the ill-gotten gains to the destitute peasantry. Bring me the head of Black Scarlet, bandit and fiend!

C-SPAN Courts Viewers With 'Mr. Slotnik,' Congress' Cantankerous Landlord

WASHINGTON, DC—Citing lackluster ratings in an increasingly competitive cable market, C-SPAN announced Monday that it will beef up the cast of characters on its daily congressional broadcasts with "Mr. Slotnik," a gruff but lovable landlord who owns the Capitol Building where sessions of Congress take place.

Crash Pulled From Theaters Following Real-Life Car Crash

OVERLAND PARK, KS—In what highway safety personnel are calling "a chilling example of cinema come to life," David Cronenberg's Crash was pulled from the nation's theaters Monday following an automotive accident near Kansas City which claimed two lives.
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High School Basketball Star Announces He Will Skip College, Go Straight To Embittered Alcoholism

CHICAGO—Continuing a recent trend among high school basketball stars, Farragut High School All-American point guard Jerrod Washburn announced he will skip college and go directly to embittered alcoholism, wallowing in the memory of his Farragut glory days and, ultimately, dying obscure and penniless in a South Side alleyway.

Jerrod Washburn, seen here en route to scoring 21 points in the 1997 McDonald's High School All-American game, believes he is ready for the next level after college— drug addiction and deep depression regarding what might have been.

"This was not an easy decision for me," said Washburn, 18, at a press conference Monday, one month after concluding his high school career by scoring 32 points and leading Farragut to a 75-74 overtime win over Peoria Central for the Illinois state basketball championship. "The thought of going to a big-time university, sulking despairingly when I realized I was no longer the star but just another player, was certainly tempting. But in the end, I just felt I was ready for the next level—unemployment, alcoholism and, ultimately, a drug-related shooting death in an abandoned Chicago back lot."

"When we thought about it," said Yvonne Phillips, Washburn's grandmother and guardian, "we realized that no college program, no matter how good it may be, is likely to showcase Jerrod's on-court talents as well as Farragut already has—and no professional team is either. No, the only fitting showcase for Jerrod now is the distorted hall of mirrors that his mind will soon become."

Phillips, 66, said that her grandson is well-prepared to begin the task of reliving his stardom. "We have programs and videotapes of every game he's played since sixth grade, and we've saved every college recruitment letter he ever got. And because he's been raised to derive satisfaction only from basketball, he'll be able to enjoy ego boosts from the videotapes for a long, long time before the reality of the pathetic spectacle he has become fully hits him, and he needs to turn to drugs and alcohol to deaden the pain of that knowledge."

As of press time, Washburn still had not revealed which drugs he would use as an aid in his free-fall into obsolescence. While some analysts have speculated that the heretofore drug-free Washburn would find hard liquor more than sufficient to numb the ache of unfulfilled promise, others seemed confident he will turn to crack cocaine.

"Drinking will be a good start," said Basketball Digest editor Greg Layden. "But ultimately, I'm confident that Jerrod will develop into the kind of former player who can easily handle the more serious stuff—LSD, heroin, even smokable crack cocaine."

Washburn is already hard at work preparing for his future as a washed-up has-been. Five days a week he lingers near his school, hanging out with former classmates who haven't graduated yet. "I bore them with stories of my glory days," Washburn said. "Within a couple of months they should start getting sick of me and decide to avoid me altogether, adding fuel to my slide into oblivion."

Leading basketball analysts agreed with Washburn's decision to bypass college. "This kid's a can't-miss for failure, baby!" noted television commentator Dick Vitale said. "Maybe he'd start at a junior college, but you'd better believe that at a Division I school he'd be heading straight for the bench! And you know a kid like that's gonna hit nothing but the bottom of the alphabet come exam time—we're talking F's from here to Walla Walla! Pass the pipe, baby, because this kid's gonna be one serious PCPer!"

"After years of college boosters and scouts fawning over him and telling him how great he is, Washburn's got all the tools necessary for a huge fall," said New York Daily News sportswriter Mike Lupica. "Overconfidence, blind faith in the system, lack of education—he's really the complete package."

Washburn joins the ranks of a growing number of high-school stars to skip college, including Lamond Broward of Asheville, NC, a 7'1" center who was a McDonald's All-America selection for four consecutive years. Broward, who graduated high school in 1995, is currently a permanent fixture on the furthest stool from the door at the bar of Mickey's Beef and Bar in Asheville, and is slated to commit an armed robbery while drunk early next month.

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