Many detractors refuse to reconcile simple truths and are instead content concocting fantastical reasons for relatively explainable phenomenon.
Those same people, the ones with hyperactive imaginations, can’t fathom that maybe — just maybe — this has been “a childhood dream,” for Darington Hobson, “a place” he wanted to be from “day one.” That his decision to leave the UNM men’s basketball team early was fueled by no ulterior motives — chiefly, that he was on the outs with head basketball coach Steve Alford.
The most compelling, and least true, bit of gossip churning through the rumor mill — used to rationalize Hobson’s decision to leave school early in the wake of being the Milwaukee Bucks second-round selection — is that Hobson and Alford had philosophical differences.
Not that he has to dignify falsities, but Hobson forcefully rebuked the notion.
“Coach Alford is my best friend. That’s like my father,” Hobson said. “Why would we have philosophy differences? I talk to him every single day, and I will talk to him every single day for the rest of my life. All them rumors, man, people just need to stop. Me and my coaches are very close, and we have a very good relationship. I love them to death. I would die for them.”
By now, Hobson has heard it — the throaty, told-you-so condemnation for his decision to forgo his senior year at UNM and pursue a professional career.
“For everyone that thinks that if I would’ve came back to school I would’ve been a lottery pick the first round, they don’t know what they’re talking about,” Hobson said.
Let it be known: In Hobson’s eyes, it wasn’t a hasty, split-second decision that cost him first-round money. Rather the opposite.
“There’s a lot of people saying I made a mistake and should have went back to school, and that’s why I was the 37th pick,” Hobson said. “That’s not why. I went 37th pick because a lot of GMs (General Managers) made a mistake.”
Forgive Hobson’s candor. This is not embellished bravado.
For the duration of his basketball career, Hobson has been intent upon disproving the naysayers.
And now before him — yet again — is an opportunity to do prove his worth — this time to NBA GMs and executives who shied away from drafting him in the first round. Shrewdly, though, Hobson hedges about qualifying it as motivation.
“I’m not going to worry about that,” he said. “I’m with the team that wanted me.”
Best believe, though, Hobson takes note of it and files it in his mental rolodex, just like all the other times his talent was questioned.
No, Hobson rarely forgets. Much of Hobson’s career has been forged on the suspenseful pillars of doubt, an alluring if-ever proposition: If ever Hobson gets out of high school. If ever he matures. If ever he gets to a Division I school.
Now this one: If ever he makes the Bucks’ roster.
“Everybody that congratulates me now, they were the ones that were doubting me back then,” Hobson said.
He quieted few of those critics by being taken in the second round.
Surprisingly, in the draft’s aftermath, Hobson wasn’t really given a legitimate reason as to why his stock plummeted after being projected as a late first-round to early second-round selection.
“A lot of the reasons we got was because, all of a sudden, now it was because I played in the Mountain West,” Hobson said. “Nobody got to really see me.”
If that’s the case, then the truth is talent evaluators turned a blind eye to Hobson. After all, he was the MWC Player of the Year and led
the Lobos to a long-awaited NCAA tournament berth, all while becoming the first Lobo to lead his team in scoring, assists and rebounds.
With absolute certainty, Hobson can say that had he accomplished the same feats in a more-respected conference, he would have been a first-round selection.
“I can honestly sit here and say, ‘yes,’ definitely,” Hobson said. “A lot of people said if I was in a bigger conference … then I could’ve gone first round.”
Hindsight being what it is, the question lingers: Would it, as many say, have mattered if Hobson would have returned for his senior season?
Hobson doesn’t think so.
“I think if I would have come back, I would have dropped even more,” he said. “I’m already 22, about to be 23, which makes me an older senior than most. I had a very good season. Having a season like we had this year is pretty tough to duplicate.”
Yet again, Hobson finds himself in a familiar position. To make his decision to leap to the NBA worthwhile, he must make the Bucks’ roster, in order to guarantee a contract.
If only because everyone else does, Hobson has no doubts.
“At the end of the day, when the ball goes up in the air, you’re still going to have to play against me,”