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 Nbadraft.net, a Web site dedicated to covering the NBA
draft. “He has the scoring ability, but the intangibles, he’s not
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
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]
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
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.”