CJ Leslie had to wait his turn.
That’s what happens when you happen to share playing time with a certain guy named John Wall at Word of God Christian Academy.
CJ had to wait for John Wall’s sudden super stardom in his senior year to take his talents before he could shine on his own. CJ Leslie then shined in his own light making both the Jordan Brand Classic and the McDonald’s All American game in his senior high school year.
Unlike John Wall though, CJ Leslie didn’t go far from Word of God for college, opting to accept a scholarship from North Carolina State. He would be a part of a highly ranked recruiting class with the likes of Ryan Harrow and future-NBA-player Lorenzo Brown to reinforce with a sharpshooter Scott Wood and Richard Howell. Howell has been signed to play, once again, for the Talk & Text Tropang Texters in this PBA Commissioner’s Cup. The expected arrival not only impacted Richard Howell but also then-NC State Wolfpack Josh Davis (who has signed with the PBA team, Meralco Bolts), as Davis transferred to Tulane to get more playing time.
CJ broke into Raleigh, North Carolina quickly being the second leader of the team in scoring and leader in rebounding and ended his freshmen season on the All-ACC freshmen team.
Leslie would be a huge part of the NC State offense early on in his freshmen year, but senior Tracy Smith was still the big dog. So Leslie had to wait again.
Once Smith graduated, CJ Leslie went on a tear averaging around 15 points and 7 rebounds in his sophomore and junior year and led the Wolfpack to back to back NCAA tournaments.
After his Junior year, CJ leslie entered his name into the draft.
And once again, CJ Leslie had to wait his turn.
Leslie would have to wait through 60 draft picks to not hear his name called in the 2013 Draft. He would get signed by Knicks for a brief period which sent bloggers to call him a potential sleeper for the Knicks. But the Knicks being the Knicks, they cut him shortly before the season began.
After bouncing around the NBA D-League for a while, Leslie would make his way to the PBA as an import for Global Port Batang Pier.
But even before that, Leslie had to wait (you see a trend here?) for Rod Benson to be declared ineligable due to being 1/8 inches taller than the 6’9″ limit for teams that qualified for the Philippine Cup playoffs.
So now that Leslie has done waiting, be prepared for him to unleash his fury onto the rest of the PBA.
Global Port Batang Pier are an up and coming team led by rookie Phenom Stanely Pringle and Sophomore sensation Terrance Romeo. Add those two up with Denok Miranda who came via a dizzying series of trades which sent Alex Cabagnot to San Miguel Beermen and Sol Mercado to the Barako Bulls. Loaded in the backcourt, Leslie will provide them with an inside presence which will not totally stall they outside orientated game completely, as Leslie himself is a capable player from outside.
What has plagued Leslie’s prospect is that he was used as a number one option in his years at NC State (as can be seen from his usage rate and one-on-one plays). I have a gut feeling though that Leslie will operate better as a second option where defense won’t focus entirely on him. In Global Port, he might actually get that chance as Stanley Pringle has shown that he can and is willing to be that number one option while Terrance Romeo can and will (even if at some confusing moments) take shots.
Again, Global Port is a team that I have not gotten a chance to watch an entire game of and I can’t say much. However, from the roster on paper and from my past viewings of CJ Leslie, this seems like a really good match.
And if history has told us anything, it’s okay to wait on CJ Leslie.
By the way, here’s a completely awesome story of CJ Leslie because I don’t have a picture of him and a dog. When NC State beat Duke (who was then ranked No.1 in the country) at home, the fans rushed the court. One of those guys was Will Privette who is a die hard NC State fan. One problem was that Privette was handicapped on a wheelchair. When the crowd rushed the floor and Will was pushed into the court, the euphoric crowd knocked Privette of his chair and almost strampled him.
CJ Leslie was already a hero that day scoring 25 points and grabbing six rebounds but he leveled up and played double hero. Being at the center of the celebration, Leslie saw Privette get knocked to the floor and grabbed Privette up out into safety.
While I might not have a picture of CJ with his pet dog like some of the other guys, in a way, this picture is just as awesome.
Check out the previews for the other imports here:
Josh Davis, Meralco Bolts
Michael Dunigan, Ginebra San Miguel
Peter John Ramos, KIA Sorento/Carnival
Chris Charles, Blackwater Elite
Richard Howell, Talk’N Text Tropang Texters
Solomon Alabi, Barako Bull Energy Cola