I fondly remember the early one-and-done days of college basketball. Kevin Durant was electrifying at Texas. Mike Conley and Greg Oden turned Ohio State into a powerhouse. O.J. Mayo was the talk of the town at USC. For me, the one guy who stood out most was Kansas State's Michael Beasley.
After all, I saw Beasley play a lot since I'm a fan of what was then a Big 12 rival. And how could I not love a guy who's in the running for the greatest Rivals photo of all time? Above everything, though, I loved his game. I'm a sucker for lefties first and foremost, and there didn't seem to be anything he couldn't do at the collegiate level. I also have to say he looked terrific as No. 30 at K-State. In fact, he was the reason I chose that number for my eighth-grade basketball team.
After leaving Manhattan, Beasley was poised to have a great NBA career. However, things didn't work exactly as planned, and by the age of 31, he was out of the league.
What happened? Or the better question, what is he up to now?
Michael Beasley's College Career
Michael Beasley was born in Cheverly, Maryland, and played his high school basketball at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. It was at Notre Dame Prep where he became one of the top recruits in the class of 2007 (Again, I have to give his Rivals pic a shoutout. I can't help but admire that of the thousands of pics there were to choose from, they went with that one.)
Every college in the country wanted Beasley, but the 6-foot-9 power forward opted to take his talents to Manhattan, Kansas, to play for the Kansas State Wildcats. He quickly established himself as one of the top players in all of college hoops under head coach Frank Martin. The proof lies in the numbers.
Beasley averaged 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds en route to taking home every conceivable award he could. He was the Big 12 Player of the Year and Big 12 Freshman of the Year and received All-Big 12 First-Team and First-Team All-American nods while leading the nation in rebounding.
Quick anecdote: I attended the Nebraska versus K-State game in Lincoln that year. Before the game, Beasley proclaimed he was going to drop 50. He ended up having 17, and the Huskers won 71-64. Let this be a lesson: You were insane if you thought you could waltz into the Devaney Center and have a field day.
Anyway, to the surprise of no one, Beasley declared for the NBA Draft after the season.
Michael Beasley's NBA Career
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South Beach took its talents to Beasley when the Miami Heat selected him with the second overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft. Sadly, the night his career began is probably his peak. After only two seasons in Miami, the NBA player was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves to clear salary space for the Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.
The former No. 2 pick started off strong in Minnesota by averaging 19.2 points in his first season up north, but his career deteriorated. He went on to play for the Phoenix Suns, returned to the Heat for two seasons, then suited up for the Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, and Los Angeles Lakers. He also had intermittent stops in the Chinese Basketball Association with the Shanghai Sharks, Shandong Golden Stars, and Guangdong Southern Tigers.
Beasley was picked up by the Brooklyn Nets as a substitute player for the 2020 NBA Bubble in Orlando. Still, his contract was voided after testing positive for COVID-19. Beasley secured a roster spot on the Portland Trail Blazers for the 2021 Summer League and spent the 2021-22 season playing for the Cangrejeros de Santurce of the Baloncesto Superior Nacional in Puerto Rico.
Beasley's professional career was clouded by off-the-court incidents, mainly involving marijuana.
What is Michael Beasley Doing Now?
It's easy to forget that professional athletes are human like everyone else. Sure, Beasley's made mistakes, but who hasn't? He recently opened up about his life on "The Pivot Podcast" with former NFL players Ryan Clark, Channing Crowder, and Fred Taylor.
Fighting through tears, Beasley talked about struggling to find good people in his life. He elaborated about friends and family stealing from him -- including his mother -- and said he spends most of his days isolated at home doing little else but playing basketball. Clark, Crowder, and Taylor comforted Beasley by offering help. Crowder also offered to hang out with him.
"You have kids. I have kids. Come to my house. We can get bounce houses for the kids, sit back on the porch, drink a couple beers, drink some wine, hang out," Crowder pleaded, via TMZ.
Beasley doesn't appear to be done with basketball as he frequently posts workout videos on his Instagram, but he could use a friend right now. I hope he finds what he needs to heal.
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