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Heads Of the '85 Draft Class

Aug. 02, 2010
Aug. 02, 2010

Table of Contents
Aug. 2, 2010

GOLF PLUS
LEADING OFF
Inside: THE WEEK IN SPORTS
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Heads Of the '85 Draft Class

What appears to be a sea of slack-jawed twentysomethings is in fact a sizable sampling of the 78 players who were selected in the first rounds of the NBA, MLB and NFL drafts 25 years ago. Their ranks include a Fridge and an X-Man, Dream Teamers and bush leaguers, a record-setting home run hitter and the greatest receiver of all time. The following pages offer a closer look (and a little after-the-draft math) at the careers—sporting (753 combined seasons at the top level) and beyond—of these first-rounders.

This is an article from the Aug. 2, 2010 issue

NBA: Class of '85

1. Patrick Ewing,C/F, New York Knicks

2. Wayman Tisdale,F/C, Indiana Pacers

3. Benoit Benjamin,C, Los Angeles Clippers

4. Xavier McDaniel,F, Seattle SuperSonics

5. Jon Koncak,C/F, Atlanta Hawks

6. Joe Kleine,C, Sacramento Kings

7. Chris Mullin,F/G Golden State Warriors

8. Detlef Schrempf,C/F, Dallas Mavericks

9. Charles Oakley,C/F, Cleveland Cavaliers

10. Ed Pinckney,F, Phoenix Suns

11. Keith Lee,C/F, Chicago Bulls

12. Kenny Green,F, Washington Bullets

13. Karl Malone,F, Utah Jazz

14. Alfredrick Hughes,G/F, San Antonio Spurs

15. Blair Rasmussen,C, Denver Nuggets

16. Bill Wennington,C, Dallas Mavericks

17. Uwe Blab,C, Dallas Mavericks

18. Joe Dumars,G, Detroit Pistons

19. Steve Harris,G, Houston Rockets

20. Sam Vincent,G, Boston Celtics

21. Terry Catledge,F, Philadelphia 76ers

22. Jerry Reynolds,G/F, Milwaukee Bucks

23. A.C. Green,C/F, Los Angeles Lakers

24. Terry Porter,G, Portland Trail Blazers

SEASONS 0--20

• HALL OF FAMER

• NBA CHAMPION

Xavier McDaniel

A notorious scrapper in his day, he's now sharing his wicked wisdom with a new batch of ballers

A fight had broken out on the court, and Xavier McDaniel was once again in the middle of the fray. But this time, instead of throwing the punches, he was the one trying to keep the peace.

For the past five years McDaniel, 47, has been an assistant coach of the South Carolina Lady 76ers, his daughter Xylina's AAU team, on top of his work in business contracting. But lest you think the X-Man has grown soft, he assures you he hasn't. "I can get quite intense in the game," he says. "I'm still a feisty guy."

McDaniel spent 12 seasons in the NBA, starting 529 games with five teams and averaging 15.6 points. He was known as an intimidating physical presence (sometimes after the whistle), and now he is training Xylina, 15, to follow in his footsteps—in the paint, that is. "I've been showing her different techniques, like how to slip people in the post and [engage] girls who don't want to play physical," says McDaniel, who started taking Xylina and his two other children to the park to play hoops at a young age. "I was already teaching her small-forward skills, but the more she started to grow"—she is now 6'2"—"the more it became apparent I needed to teach her about playing inside, how to post up and work on her footwork."

His training seems to be paying off. In June, Xylina was one of 36 girls invited to participate in USA Basketball's U17 team trials. But McDaniel insists that just as with his old opponents, he doesn't go easy on any of his young players. "I'm a very fair but straight-to-the-point guy. I'm gonna give you an honest opinion about how I feel," he says. "But I love the kids. I never envisioned myself being a coach, but I can honestly say I really enjoy it."

Detlef Schrempf

This retired sharpshooter takes charity more seriously than his brief sitcom career would suggest

In May, Detlef Schrempf returned to Indiana to donate a check from his foundation to a diabetes telethon in the town of Pawnee. In reality the former Pacers forward was playing himself on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation. Pawnee exists only in TV land. The Detlef Schrempf Foundation, however, is very real. "I think they did a Web search on ex--Indiana Pacers and charity stuff," says Schrempf, who also played for Dallas, Seattle and Portland during his 16-year NBA career, on being approached for the cameo.

Beginning with a celebrity golf tournament in Port Orchard, Wash., in 1994, Schrempf's foundation has raised nearly $10 million for various children's charities in the Pacific Northwest. "We're not a granting organization, so we don't have any money in the bank," Schrempf explains. "We team up with charities and host an event, raise the money and write a check. And then we're back to almost zero, and we start the next event."

By day Schrempf is the director of business development at Coldstream Capital, a wealth-management firm in the Seattle area, where he has resided since 1980. "I always had an interest in other things [besides basketball] and in putting some money to work," he says. But, Schrempf urges young athletes, you don't need to have a professional's head for business to have a sense of your personal finances. "I always tell them to [realize that] the one contract they get might be their last," he says, adding that the league and the players' association should bear more responsibility for educating its members. "[Players should] actually go online and see where their money is. Most of them don't deal with it."

Schrempf deals with it, and with funds for others as well. In June his foundation hosted a fund-raiser—a real one this time—for Rise n' Shine, a group that helps children affected by AIDS, and The Healing Center, a grief-support community. A dinner gala and auction kicked off a three-day golf classic and raised $590,000. Quite an upgrade from the Pawnee telethon.

MLB: Class of '85

1. B.J. Surhoff,OF/C/3B, Milwaukee Brewers

2. Will Clark,1B, San Francisco Giants

3. Bobby Witt,RHP, Texas Rangers

4. Barry Larkin,SS, Cincinnati Reds

5. Kurt Brown,C, Chicago White Sox

6. Barry Bonds,OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

7. Mike Campbell,RHP, Seattle Mariners

8. Pete Incaviglia,OF, Montreal Expos

9. Mike Poehl,RHP, Cleveland Indians

WORLD SERIES WINNER

10. Chris Gwynn,OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

WORLD SERIES WINNER

11. Walt Weiss,SS, Oakland Athletics

12. Cameron Drew,OF, Houston Astros

13. Jeff Bumgarner,RHP, Minnesota Twins

14. Tommy Greene,RHP, Atlanta Braves

15. Willie Fraser,RHP, California Angels

16. Trey McCall,C, Philadelphia Phillies

17. Brian McRae,OF, Kansas City Royals

18. Joe Magrane,LHP, St. Louis Cardinals

19. Mike Cook,RHP, California Angels

20. Gregg Jefferies,IF/OF, New York Mets

21. Dan Gabriele,RHP, Boston Red Sox

22. Rafael Palmeiro,1B, Chicago Cubs

23. Joey Cora,2B, San Diego Padres

24. Dave Masters,RHP, Chicago Cubs

25. Greg David,OF, Toronto Blue Jays

26. Randy Nosek,RHP, Detroit Tigers

SEASONS 0--20

• HALL OF FAMER

• WORLD SERIES WINNER

B. J. Surhoff

The former No. 1 pick and Orioles standout has found a second sporting passion as a swimming dad

The No. 1 pick in the 1985 draft, B.J. Surhoff excelled at every fielding position. Eventually, during a 19-year career in which he also hit 188 home runs, he made his mark at third base for the Orioles as part of what baseball historian Bill James called "the best infield" of the 1990s.

In recent years a new generation of Surhoffs has maintained that link to athletic excellence in Baltimore—albeit not on the dirt of the diamond but rather in the chlorinated water of the pool. B.J. and his wife, Polly, a former breaststroker on the U.S. national team, have four children, all swimmers who came up through the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, the same program that produced Michael Phelps. Says Surhoff, "My kids did a bunch of different sports and decided that's the one they wanted to do."

They have certainly made a splash. As a freshman at Texas in 2010, elder son Austin, 19, won the 200 IM at the NCAAs. As for daughters Kendall, 16, and Jordan, 15, Surhoff says that both aspire to swim at the national level. Son Mason, 18, swims in the Special Olympics and has formed a close bond with Phelps. Ten years ago B.J. and Polly joined with other families in the Baltimore area to form Pathfinders for Autism, a foundation designed to be a resource for families with autistic children, like Mason. "We're trying to help people navigate to get whatever information they need," says Surhoff, who serves as the foundation's president.

As for baseball, Surhoff spent a few weeks in 2008 and '09 as an Orioles spring training instructor, but says that it's no longer his athletic ambition that drives him, but that of the next wave of Surhoffs. "Life heads in the direction of your kids," he says, "and you move on."

Gregg Jefferies

The former phenom, after a playing career marked by excellence and injury, relishes teaching the game

As a much-hyped 19-year-old Mets prospect in 1987, Gregg Jefferies was given a reception familiar to many New York City athletes: Perform and we'll canonize you, but falter and we'll burn you at the stake. Frustrated, he wrote an open letter to local sports radio station WFAN in 1991, imploring Mets fans to show more support; when he popped out in his next appearance at Shea, he was met with a typical New York flurry of boos.

Jefferies experienced less strife and more success with the five teams for which he subsequently played, retiring in 2000 with five seasons in which he hit over .300, but with two torn hamstrings that still plague him. Says Jefferies, "One thing I can say is that I did leave it all out on the field. I did try to play hard, and I think in the long run that kind of caught up to me. I wasn't good enough to not dive and slide hard."

But Jefferies has found his peace with baseball as a hitting instructor and coach in Pleasanton, Calif. At the Total Players Center, he works with such professionals as Brandon Crawford, a shortstop in the Giants' system. But it has been with the Foothills High team (he has been on the school's staff since 2007) that he has made his biggest impact. "My first season there we had a player named Troy Channing, a senior who was putting up monster numbers. But the year before, no one knew who he was. We tweaked his swing and showed him how to pull the ball, and he went from being an unknown to getting drafted," says Jefferies. Channing chose the college route, where, in his first year at St. Mary's in Moraga, Calif., he set school records for home runs and RBIs and was named a freshman All-America. "The phone call I got from him where he said, 'Coach, I cannot thank you enough. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I'd ever get drafted [he went in the 40th round],' meant the world to me."

NFL: Class of '85

1. Bruce Smith,DE Buffalo Bills

2. Bill Fralic,G Atlanta Falcons

3. Ray Childress,DE/DT Houston Oilers

4. Chris Doleman,DE Minnesota Vikings

5. Duane Bickett,LB Indianapolis Colts

6. Lomas Brown,T Detroit Lions

7. Ken Ruettgers,T Green Bay Packers

8. Ron Holmes,DE Tampa Bay Buccaneers

9. Kevin Allen,T Philadelphia Eagles

10. Al Toon,WR New York Jets

11. Richard Johnson,DB Houston Oilers

12. Jim Lachey,T San Diego Chargers

13. Eddie Brown,WR Cincinnati Bengals

14. Derrick Burroughs,DB Buffalo Bills

15. Ethan Horton,TE Kansas City Chiefs

16. Jerry Rice,WR San Francisco 49ers

17. Kevin Brooks,DE/DT Dallas Cowboys

18. Freddie Joe Nunn,DE/LB St. Louis Cardinals

19. George Adams,RB New York Giants

20. Darryl Sims,DE/DT Pittsburgh Steelers

21. Jerry Gray,DB Los Angeles Rams

22. William Perry,DT Chicago Bears

23. Jessie Hester,WR Los Angeles Raiders

24. Alvin Toles,LB New Orleans Saints

25. Emanuel King,LB Cincinnati Bengals

26. Steve Sewell,RB Denver Broncos

27. Lorenzo Hampton,RB Miami Dolphins

28. Trevor Matich,C New England Patriots

SEASONS 0--20

• HALL OF FAMER

• SUPER BOWL WINNER

Chris Doleman

The former Pro Bowl pass-rusher's current focus runs from celebrity golf to cleaning the Gulf

Chris Doleman was one of the league's preeminent pass rushers for more than a decade, even into his late 30s. He finished his career with 150½ sacks, fourth on the alltime list, and eight Pro Bowls to his name. But the Hall of Fame has yet to call.

"I'm surprised," says Doleman, who retired in 1999 and was a semifinalist this year. "The Hall's about individual achievement, and I was a dominant player with three teams. I expect to get in, but why not give it to me when I can appreciate it, not when I'm 90 years old?"

While he waits for his—probably inevitable—enshrinement, Doleman, 48, golfs whenever he can, usually at courses near his suburban Atlanta home. He picked up the game early in his NFL career, after Minnesota teammates Allen Rice and Alfred Anderson told him to ditch basketball in the off-season. (You don't want to blow out a knee, they advised.) In his retirement Doleman has won a few celebrity tournaments, and he regularly plays in Michael Jordan's invitational in the Bahamas. Though he's a four handicap, Doleman has no aspirations (like fellow class of '85 alum Jerry Rice) to play professionally. He doesn't have the time to dedicate himself to the sport, but "it's a true passion," he admits.

When he's not on the links, Doleman runs a technology marketing company called Gateway Fusion. One of its most popular products is an antimicrobial used in NFL and college locker rooms. "A few years ago, the league had a problem with staph infections, and this is a product that was introduced," he says. "You've got to keep that stuff from spreading." The company will soon bring to market an oil-eating product, planned for use in the Gulf of Mexico. "The more you can help," Doleman says, "the better you feel about yourself."

Ken Ruettgers

A Packers pancake-maker in the '80s and '90s, he's found post-NFL serenity in the sound of a school bell

After he retired in 1996, Ken Ruettgers asked himself, "Who am I now?" The answer eluded the longtime Green Bay left tackle. He had graduated from USC with a degree in business before joining the NFL; he had worked for four years toward an M.B.A. at Cal State--Bakersfield during the off-seasons; he knew his career could end at any time. But finding a new identity "still took a few years and several bouts with depression," Ruettgers says.

He moved his wife, Sheryl, and three children (all now in college) to Sisters, Ore., where he took an entry-level job at the same publishing company that had printed his book, Home Field Advantage: A Dad's Guide to the Power of Role Modeling, in 1995. "It was the first time I'd had a normal job, or worked in a coed environment," Ruettgers says. Six months into that three-year gig he was promoted to editorial director. "And I realized," he says, "I can do this."

Ruettgers's own crisis inspired him to launch a nonprofit organization, Game's Over, to help former athletes transition after retirement. "They think they're set for life," he says. "And then they get to the other side and didn't make as much as they thought, or spent more than they should have. They think, I've put my ladder on one skyscraper and climbed all the way to the top. Now I've got to do this again?" Encouragement and education, Ruettgers says, go further than anything else, and he's writing a second book, called Life Beyond the Game, which is due out by the end of the year.

He earned his doctorate from Oxford Graduate School in Dayton, Tenn., in 2007, with a dissertation titled Barriers to NFL Career Transitions. Today Dr. Ruettgers teaches sociology, including a Sports and Society class, at Central Oregon Community College. (He also coaches linemen at Sisters High.) Most of his students know about his playing days, but some do not. One kid, conversing before class with Ruettgers about football, mentioned his hatred of the Packers. "So I go, 'Oh, really,'" Ruettgers says. "When class started, I decided to tell them a little about myself, that I played for USC, that I played in the NFL. I look at the kid and say, 'And guess which team I played for?' It certainly breaks the stereotypes, and I like having fun with it."

Dicing the Draft

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JOCKS' JOBS NOW

Coaching/Front Office 50%

Real Estate 8.3%

Other 29.2%

Broadcasting 12.5%

Coached on a team that went at least to the semifinals 12.5%

WHERE STARS ARE BORN

ALL-STARS

DRAFT PICK

MONEY PLAYERS

Per Game Played ($thousands)

NBA

NFL

DRAFT PICK

*Based on reported salaries

Dicing the Draft

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JOCKS' JOBS NOW

Coaching/Front Office 30.8%

Broadcasting 7.7%

Construction/A.C. 11.5%

Insurance 7.7%

Other 42.3%

Embroiled in PED scandal; unofficially retired from baseball 7.7%

WHERE STARS ARE BORN

ALL-STARS

DRAFT PICK

THE UPS AND THE DOWNS

MINORS

MAJORS

Position Players

Pitchers

GAMES PLAYED

Dicing the Draft

[The following text appears within 3 charts. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual charts.]

JOCKS' JOBS NOW

Broadcasting 17.9%

Auto Sales 7.1%

Insurance/Finance 7.1%

Public Speaking 7.1%

Youth/Nonprofit 7.1%

Other 21.4%

Real Estate 7.1%

Coaching 25.%

Ever in broadcasting, coaching or front office 78.6%

WHERE STARS ARE BORN

PRO BOWLS

DRAFT PICK

HOW MUCH FOR HOW LONG

Annual Salary ($millions)*

Years Played

CAREER AVG. BY POSITION

*Based on reported salaries

FIFTY SIX PHOTOSRONALD C. MODRA (EWING); ANDY HAYT (MULLIN); JERRY LODRIGUSS (RICE); AP (4); GETTY IMAGES (3); COURTESY OF RESPECTIVE SCHOOLS (46)RASMUSSEN; TOLES; PALMEIRO; K. GREEN; HAMPTON; CATLEDGE; NUNN; CLARK; BROOKS; EWING; KING; LEE; WITT; L. BROWN; DUMARS; RUETTGERS; TOON; BONDS; WENNINGTON; RICE; BENJAMIN; PERRY; POEHL; E. BROWN; OAKLEY; MATICH; R. JOHNSON; PINCKNEY; SURHOFF; KONCAK; SEWELL; MULLIN; LACHEY; A.C. GREEN; GWYNN; BLAB; BURROUGHS; TISDALE; FRALIC; LARKIN; HUGHES; MCDANIEL; CORA; GRAY; B.SMITH; DOLEMAN; MALONE; HORTON; COOK; HARRIS; CHILDRESS; PORTER; ADAMS; VINCENT; INCAVIGLIA; KLEINEPHOTOOTTO GREULE JR./GETTY IMAGES (WITH SONICS)X CALIBER After five-plus seasons in Seattle, McDaniel briefly joined fellow class of '85 tough guys Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley for a stint with the Knicks.PHOTOBILL FRAKES[See caption above]PHOTOSTEPHEN DUNN/GETTY IMAGES (WITH PACERS)HOOSIER HERO A two-time Sixth Man of the Year Award winner, Schrempf has found a fund-raising teammate in wife Mari (right).PHOTORICH FRISHMAN[See caption above]PHOTOCHRIS BERNACCHI/SPORTPICS (WITH ORIOLES)GOING TO BAT Surhoff retired with 2,360 hits, but he's still swinging away as the president of a foundation that seeks to help families touched by autism.PHOTOSAM KITTNER[See caption above]PHOTOCHUCK SOLOMON (WITH METS)COMFORT ZONE Jefferies, who battled the media glare in New York, has hit his stride in California as a hitting coach for young players.PHOTOSTEPHEN LAM[See caption above]PHOTONFL/WIREIMAGE.COM/GETTY IMAGES (WITH VIKINGS)KEY PLAYER Doleman, who racked up 150½ career sacks and hopes to have a spot in Canton someday, has meanwhile found a niche in marketing.PHOTOBILL FRAKES[See caption above]PHOTOVERNON BIEVER/WIREIMAGE.COM/GETTY IMAGES (WITH PACKERS)GETTING A GRIP The first Packer to protect Brett Favre's blind side (in 1992), Ruettgers collected a Super Bowl ring with Green Bay in '97.PHOTOROBBIE MCCLARAN[See caption above]TWELVE CHARTS