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Douglas heads back to school with no professional contract

BURBANK -- The numbers Ruben Douglas put up and the accolades he

received in high school and college were big time.

However, the Bellarmine-Jefferson High and University of New

Mexico basketball star is still waiting for a big-time professional



Two months after not being selected in the 2003 NBA Draft,

Douglas -- who led the NCAA Division I in scoring this past season --

is still seeking a pro contract with one of the world’s top leagues.


The 6-foot-4 shooting guard, who averaged 28.0 points per game --

32.1 in the Mountain West Conference -- and was named conference

player of the year, is hoping the phone will ring with an offer.

“We’ve told Ruben to take control of you’re life and not let

someone else take care of it for you,” said Roger Douglas, Ruben’s


For now, Ruben is still at New Mexico finishing the final few

units he needs to get his degree. Douglas, who played one season at


the University of Arizona, has had a tough road to graduating, as

many of his units from Arizona were not accepted at New Mexico.

After finishing his season with the Lobos in March, it looked as

if Douglas was headed to the NBA.

His name appeared on several mock NBA drafts and he was projected

as a late-first round or second-round selection. But as the draft got

closer, the stock of the 1998 CIF Southern Section Division IV Player

of the Year plummeted.


“Just talking to a couple of scouts, they said he didn’t have the

prototypical size for a shooting guard in the NBA,” said Aran Smith,

president of, a Web site dedicated to covering the NBA

draft. “He has the scoring ability, but the intangibles, he’s not

quite there.”

Smith said he thinks Douglas would fare much better playing in


“He’s the kind of guy who could thrive. I think Douglas is almost

a prototypical guard for over there,” Smith said. “I think he has a

future in pro basketball. It’s just a matter of getting into the

right situation.”

Prior to the NBA Draft, Douglas reportedly performed poorly in the

pre-draft camp in Chicago, which was conducted over three days.

“Ruben’s thing was he didn’t do well in Chicago. The Denver

Nuggets invited him and he was there for three days, and then he went

to Portland for two or three days,” said Brad Soucie, the top

assistant for New Mexico’s men’s program.

“It’s disappointing. A lot of people think he is an NBA player.

Maybe he just hasn’t gotten that opportunity yet. He had 10 to 15

private workouts. Obviously he did something [that made them not]

draft him.”

Two other Mountain West Conference players -- UNLV’s Marcus Banks

and BYU’s Travis Hansen -- were selected in the draft.

The lack of interest is certainly puzzling, and some scouts have

even questioned Douglas’ coaches about the player’s character.

“He was on the Dean’s List last semester and he got an award for

that,” said Roger Douglas, who played for the Panamanian National

Team from 1966 to 1968. “He was the school’s male athlete of the


As for his future, Roger Douglas said his son is continuing to

work out and staying in shape, while getting ready to finish up his

undergraduate work.

Soucie said although Douglas is not in the NBA now, he could still

land in the league.

“Boston obviously saw something in Marcus Banks to draft him in

the first round,” Soucie said.

“Ruben probably didn’t play the best he could have at the times he

needed to. Does that mean he should give up? Absolutely not. Maybe he

didn’t play well in front of the teams that could have used him. It’s

all about chemistry.

“He just has to keep working hard,” Soucie said. “He’ll get

plenty of opportunities.”