One more challenge for undrafted Hosley

Jim Baumbach

Newsday columnist Jim Baumbach Jim Baumbach

Jim Baumbach is an investigative / enterprise sports reporter for

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Quinton Hosley believed he had a good chance to get drafted

by an NBA team Thursday night, but he knew there was no guarantee. So many

mock drafts had him picked in the mid-to-late second round, which really is

just a guessing game.

He tried hard not to get his hopes too high.

That's why the New York City native really didn't want to plan anything big

for draft night. He wanted a small gathering of close family and friends at

the local gym on 143rd and Lenox where he grew up playing basketball.

But word of his draft party spread through Harlem, and the small gathering

he envisioned morphed into an open house. By the time the draft began, he said,

there were at least 100 people there, maybe more. And that had to have made it

all the more painful when the 60th and final pick of the night was announced

and it wasn't Quinton Hosley.

So much for all those mock drafts and all the good vibes he felt from the

eight teams for whom he worked out. One word could best describe how he felt.

"Disappointment," Hosley, 23, said Friday. "Just disappointment."

In a sad way, it's kind of fitting the draft turned out like this for

Hosley.

He's the son of a New York City streetball icon, Ron Mathias, whose pro

basketball career was killed by his rampant off-the-court problems. That's part

of the reason why Hosley was looking forward to getting drafted, so he could

begin to give his father - known on city streets as The Terminator - a glimpse

into the NBA life he missed out on.

It still might happen, just not the way Hosley envisioned it. Now he's an

undrafted free agent looking to play for an NBA team in a summer league, hoping

something might happen from there.

"You've got to be optimistic," said Hosley, a 6-6 small forward who

averaged 16 points and nine rebounds for Fresno State the last two years. "I've

been through worse than this in my life, so I just have to persevere, keep on

working."

This type of career hurdle isn't uncommon for Hosley, not after the way his

college search went.

He was all set to go to St. John's, his dream school. But when Norm Roberts

took over for the fired Mike Jarvis, St. John's showed no interest in him

because it couldn't afford to give him the year away he needed to get his

grades up.

No big deal, Hosley thought. He signed his letter of intent to play for

Providence, and the school enrolled him at Globe Tech in New York City to work

solely on his grades. Hosley did just that, saying he passed his classes. But

when it came time to transfer, the coaching staff told him that the Providence

admissions department decided not to accept all his credits.

"I just felt like I was about to get my foot in the door," he said, "and

then there was always something."

Hosley wound up at Fresno State and played well enough to warrant looks by

NBA teams. The Bulls, Sonics, Jazz, Warriors, Pistons, Timberwolves, Spurs and

Celtics had him in for private workouts. Each team had the chance to draft him

Thursday night. All of them passed.

"I just need to pick myself up," he said, "and use this as motivation."

As if he needed any more motivation. All he's ever had to do is look at how

good his father could have been.

Mathias didn't have the grades for Division I, but he wowed everyone at

Palm Beach JC. He was the nation's leading scorer when he was kicked off the

team during the 1985-86 season because of myriad problems that, according to a

1991 Orlando Sentinel story, included being charged with selling free textbooks

back to the bookstore and making a sexual advance toward a female professor.

He hung around the professional basketball scene - "Whatever minor league

you can think of, he played in it," Hosley said - but he never could get his

act together to make the NBA. "He had a bad attitude," Hosley said. "So that's

something he has always tried to instill in me, to make sure that I have a good

attitude."

That may explain why Hosley is still hopeful today after Thursday's

disappointment.

On the streets of Harlem, he's known simply as "T-2," a shout-out to his

father. But Hosley doesn't want to be remembered merely as the son of a father

who couldn't quite cut it. He is determined to make it, and going undrafted

won't deter him. Said Hosley, "I've been through worse."

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