MCT wrote:Sam McCants, Oral Roberts â€“ Bulls 8th round 1974, Suns 4th round 1975. McCants is another one of those convoluted cases. Per The Draft Review, he was enrolled at various times at both Florida State and Oral Roberts, but played only one year of college basketball, which was 1973-74 at Oral Roberts. McCantsâ€™ first year of college, at Florida State, is shown as 1971-72. But he would have had to graduate from high school in 1970 in order to be draft eligible in 1974.
Some additional detail on McCants' chronology:
--Newspaper articles in the Google News archive indicate that McCants was a senior in high school at Pensacola (Fla.) Catholic High in the 1970-71 school year. Based on this, it appears that he would not have been eligible for the NBA Draft until 1975.
--Out of high school, McCants apparently committed to Florida State. Itâ€™s not clear to me whether he actually attended school or played basketball there (if he did play, it presumably wouldnâ€™t have been varsity, because the freshman prohibition was still in place at this point). The Draft Review has McCants at Florida State in 1971-72, but says â€œDid Not Play Left Schoolâ€.
--By the summer of 1972, McCants had left Florida State and was now at Oral Roberts. An article about Oral Robertsâ€™ program in the August 1, 1972 edition of the Miami News indicates that the school was â€œworking with the NCAAâ€ on the matter of McCantsâ€™ eligibility. The article leaves me with the impression that the eligibility concerns were around academics, not necessarily merely about his status as a transfer. The Draft Review has McCants at Oral Roberts in 1972-73, but says â€œDid Not Play Ineligibleâ€.
--McCants played for Oral Roberts in 1973-74, averaging 24.0 ppg. ORU went all the way to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament before losing to Kansas in overtime (a victory in that game would have put them in the Final Four). He was drafted by the Bulls on the 8th round of the 1974 NBA Draft. McCants was also selected by the Utah Stars on the 4th round of the 1974 ABA Draft. I have seen some suggestion that McCants was with the ABA Spirits of St. Louis during the preseason in 1974, but Iâ€™m not certain of this.
--McCants does not appear to have played college basketball during the 1974-75 season. (If he did in fact sign a pro contract with the Spirits in 1974, this would have precluded him from playing any further college basketball.) The Draft Review has him listed under Oral Roberts, but says â€œDid Not Playâ€. McCants was drafted by the Suns on the 4th round of the 1975 NBA Draft. He was cut by the Suns in the preseason.
If McCants graduated from high school in 1971, I see no obvious reason why he would have been eligible for the NBA Draft in 1974. I have found no evidence that he was an early entry â€œhardshipâ€ candidate. It may be that he was not actually eligible. Perhaps there was some confusion over what year he had graduated from high school, given the scattershot nature of his college career. While he was also drafted by the ABA that year, itâ€™s hard to deduce anything about his status from that. By this time ABA teams were in the practice of drafting pretty much anyone they wanted, with no regard to college eligibility. The Stars selected high school senior Moses Malone in the 3rd round that year, and several of their other 1974 picks were college undergraduates who had not declared for the NBA Draft and who would ultimately remain in school.