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Some "Can't Miss" Kids Still Do


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I had never heard of Philip Francis before and this story just blew my mind.  Seems worse than the old Ty Tryon story.

 

https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2011/09/13/balicki-some-cant-misses-still-do/

 

From Wikipedia: 

He was one of the top-ranked junior golfers in the class of 2007, winning more than 140 junior events, to include the 2006 U.S. Junior Amateur. He was ranked number one in junior golf for 65 straight weeks. Francis first picked up a golf club at 18 months old and won for the first time at age four in an eight and under event. He also broke Tiger Woods' record by winning four consecutive Junior World Golf Championships (1999-2002).

 

Francis played in the 2007 Stanford St. Jude Championship, John Deere Classic, and U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee, all on the PGA Tour, but failed to make the cut. In July 2008, he made the cut in a PGA Tour event for the first time at the John Deere Classic.

 

Francis played college golf at UCLA for two years. He transferred to Arizona State University for the fall semester of 2009. In accordance with Pac-10 rules, he red-shirted his junior season and was eligible to play on their golf team for the 2010-2011 season.[2]

 

Francis turned professional in the summer of 2011.

 

#golfprodigy

 

 

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thanks goodness my son is 10 1/2.  

Just goes to say what Leezer and I have reiterated for a long time.  It doesn't matter what a kid does at 10.

After the US am this week I got curious and took a look at the past winners of the US Junior AM.    Some notable names for sure, but just as many you've never heard of.  A story came up on the 2010 Wi

After the US am this week I got curious and took a look at the past winners of the US Junior AM.    Some notable names for sure, but just as many you've never heard of.  A story came up on the 2010 Winner Jim Liu (beat Justin Thomas).   Seemingly another Cant Miss Kid who went on to play at Stanford, but had enough after a year and hung it up for good...only recently picking the game back up for fun.    Taking a quick look back,  Philip Francis won the US Junior Am in 2006.    Good reminders that it is a LONG ROAD and unlikely road.  Enjoy the ride, do your best to support your kid....see what happens.   It would be interesting if someone could interview all of the "woulda' beens" years later too see if looking back these guys/gals have any clarity on what got them off track - burnout, mental game, pressure.   

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He embraced buzzwords like “coil” and “separation,” and enlisted with an acolyte of David Leadbetter who encouraged him to strive for a greater differential between the turn of his shoulders and his hips.

 

Lots of talk about this with regards to back injuries like Tiger and Jason Day.

 

https://golf.com/news/why-are-back-pain-and-spinal-injuries-plaguing-the-game-the-answer-is-complicated/

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On 8/19/2020 at 11:40 AM, heavy_hitter said:

Just goes to say what Leezer and I have reiterated for a long time.  It doesn't matter what a kid does at 10.

100% agree. Some future stars haven't even picked up a club at 10.   I would even say 13-14 year olds.  My son's best golf friend was going to be the next best thing out of high school.  He was big and strong.  He got wrapped into girls and smoking.  Was shooting low 70s.  He never plays and hasnt improved.

 

Feed the passion if it's there and only if its there.  Never force.

3 years ago. Daughter was 12?  Only golf for her was driving the cart.

 

Now I can't get her to stop playing.  Every week its "Can I do another tournament?"  One weekend off since beginning of May.  Its been all her.

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Here is the thing I sort figured out.

 

There is no such thing as a sure thing winning an amateur or junior event is nothing like winning a PGA event.

 

The successful PGA pro golf rounds look nothing like a junior round. They all have caddies who carry  there bag and then play on pristine courses with everyone watching their every move.

 

a junior playing state tournaments may or may not have a great course the rough may be thick and the greens are tiny. Not only that they have to carry or push their cart and no one can give them advice or help carry their bag over a long walk.

 

bottom line is things change and you have to try different styles and do what gives you success 

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The idea of a "can't miss kid" is just ridiculous - in golf or any other sport. Talent makes success possible, it doesn't guarantee it.

 

How many young pitchers are drafted every year? How many college quarterbacks? All of those dudes have been studs their entire lives. Everyone they know thinks they are "can't miss" prospects. The scouts have all done their homework.

 

Yet, how many of them are ultimately successful in the pros? Very few. This should tell us something. There is no sure thing when it comes to predicting athletic success. Luck and circumstance are a huge and overlooked part of the equation. 

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1 hour ago, jholz said:

The idea of a "can't miss kid" is just ridiculous - in golf or any other sport. Talent makes success possible, it doesn't guarantee it.

 

How many young pitchers are drafted every year? How many college quarterbacks? All of those dudes have been studs their entire lives. Everyone they know thinks they are "can't miss" prospects. The scouts have all done their homework.

 

Yet, how many of them are ultimately successful in the pros? Very few. This should tell us something. There is no sure thing when it comes to predicting athletic success. Luck and circumstance are a huge and overlooked part of the equation. 

For those taking issue with the verbiage "can't miss kid", it seems some people want to lump in "elite" with "can't miss".

 

Here are some differences:

 

Elite= top 5-ish prospect within age group, wins lots of hardware, likely best in respective state or even region... or even best in class but by narrow margin.

 

A college quarterback example of elite (but didn't translate to next-level) is Mitch Mustain, Tate Martell or Ron Pawlus.  These are Gatorade/Parade/USA TODAY All-Americans coming out of HS, and may have even had a measure of success in college--but either busted later in college and/or didn't stick in the NFL.

 

Can't miss= once thought to be a generational talent late in teens/HS or even college--wide separation in perceived skill and talent between next-closest peer and sure to be a top professional barring catastrophic injury.

 

Baseball's version of this is Brien Taylor, one of three baseball players to be drafted 1st overall in the MLB draft and not make The Show. Taylor, a LHP who could push triple-digits on the radar gun straight out of HS, was billed as the best prospect in baseball by Baseball America before even playing professionally.  He started at A+, a level usually reserved for the best college players drafted and seasoned HS/INTNL prospects, and he proceeded to strike out 187 batters in 27 starts (10.4K/9). The next year in AA his control wasn't good, but he was still on-track for AAA and maybe MLB the following year.  But he got into a fight and destroyed his left shoulder in the off-season.  This was an absolute can't miss kid, who did.  He had no peers when he was drafted, and there was very little precedent for his failure on a baseball level.

 

Basketball's version of this, perhaps, is Len Bias--who many said was the better player between him and Michael Jordan in college.  Bias was taken 2nd overall in the NBA Draft as new blood for Larry Bird's Celtics to hold serve and compete for many more NBA titles.  Bias averaged 36 and 10--a line seldom seen by a college SF--his senior year at Maryland en route to two All-ACC (when that meant something) awards and a 1st team All-American nod (when that meant SOMETHING).  He died of a cocaine overdose just two days post-draft, and just one day after signing a $1.6M contract and other endorsement deals.

 

Football's version of can't miss is tougher to sort out because injuries are such a big part of the game.  

 

As for golf, Ty Tryon (as @leezer99 mentioned) is probably a great example of a can't miss kid who did.  He made the cut at the Honda Classic at 16, then earned his tour card at 17 via Q-school--the youngest player ever to do so.  He struggled with mono his year on the PGA tour, but still pulled down six-figures in prize money.  He didn't hold onto his card, though.  He tried to get back on the tour a few times, but never managed it.

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21 hours ago, MB19 said:

For those taking issue with the verbiage "can't miss kid", it seems some people want to lump in "elite" with "can't miss".

 

Here are some differences:

 

Elite= top 5-ish prospect within age group, wins lots of hardware, likely best in respective state or even region... or even best in class but by narrow margin.

 

A college quarterback example of elite (but didn't translate to next-level) is Mitch Mustain, Tate Martell or Ron Pawlus.  These are Gatorade/Parade/USA TODAY All-Americans coming out of HS, and may have even had a measure of success in college--but either busted later in college and/or didn't stick in the NFL.

 

Can't miss= once thought to be a generational talent late in teens/HS or even college--wide separation in perceived skill and talent between next-closest peer and sure to be a top professional barring catastrophic injury.

 

Baseball's version of this is Brien Taylor, one of three baseball players to be drafted 1st overall in the MLB draft and not make The Show. Taylor, a LHP who could push triple-digits on the radar gun straight out of HS, was billed as the best prospect in baseball by Baseball America before even playing professionally.  He started at A+, a level usually reserved for the best college players drafted and seasoned HS/INTNL prospects, and he proceeded to strike out 187 batters in 27 starts (10.4K/9). The next year in AA his control wasn't good, but he was still on-track for AAA and maybe MLB the following year.  But he got into a fight and destroyed his left shoulder in the off-season.  This was an absolute can't miss kid, who did.  He had no peers when he was drafted, and there was very little precedent for his failure on a baseball level.

 

Basketball's version of this, perhaps, is Len Bias--who many said was the better player between him and Michael Jordan in college.  Bias was taken 2nd overall in the NBA Draft as new blood for Larry Bird's Celtics to hold serve and compete for many more NBA titles.  He died of a cocaine overdose just two days post-draft, and just one day after signing a $1.6M contract and other endorsement deals.

 

Football's version of can't miss is tougher to sort out because injuries are such a big part of the game.  

 

As for golf, Ty Tryon (as @leezer99 mentioned) is probably a great example of a can't miss kid who did.  He made the cut at the Honda Classic at 16, then earned his tour card at 17 via Q-school--the youngest player ever to do so.  He struggled with mono his year on the PGA tour, but still pulled down six-figures in prize money.  He didn't hold onto his card, though.  He tried to get back on the tour a few times, but never managed it.

 

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21 hours ago, Dog Lover said:

"Bias averaged 36 and 10--a line seldom seen by a college SF--his senior year at Maryland "

 

Not sure where you got those numbers?

I'm not sure either, I had a lot of windows open and took from the wrong one.  Bias averaged a much more human 23.2/7 that year.  Definitely my bad.

 

We've seen players have monster years in college hoops only to fizzle in the NBA, though.  Dennis Hopson from Ohio State (29/8.2) is a great one in that regard.  Drafted 3rd overall, he ended up playing in Europe after a few years.  He was drafted ahead of Scottie Pippen, Kevin Johnson, Kenny Smith, Reggie Miller, Horace Grant, Mark Jackson, and Reggie Lewis in the epically-deep '87 NBA Draft.  Hopson was not a can't-miss player, but being drafted ahead several HOFers, All-Stars and important cogs in NBA Championship starters I'm sure the tragically-unlucky Nets (Forced to sell Dr. J for $3M, lost Michael Ray Richardson to drugs, lost Drazen Petrovic in a car crash, Kenny Anderson's awful injury bug in roughly a 16-season span) would have loved a do-over.

 

Speaking of basketball, does anyone remember when Sports Illustrated put Indiana 8th Grader Damon Bailey on the cover and proclaimed him to be best-in-class, and was Consensus HS POY in '90?  Bailey was a 2nd round pick and never played an NBA game.  Somehow, Bailey was seen as a better talent than Grant Hill in HS.  It was a weak class, but not that weak.

 

 

 

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On 8/29/2020 at 4:53 PM, MB19 said:

I'm not sure either, I had a lot of windows open and took from the wrong one.  Bias averaged a much more human 23.2/7 that year.  Definitely my bad.

 

We've seen players have monster years in college hoops only to fizzle in the NBA, though.  Dennis Hopson from Ohio State (29/8.2) is a great one in that regard.  Drafted 3rd overall, he ended up playing in Europe after a few years.  He was drafted ahead of Scottie Pippen, Kevin Johnson, Kenny Smith, Reggie Miller, Horace Grant, Mark Jackson, and Reggie Lewis in the epically-deep '87 NBA Draft.  Hopson was not a can't-miss player, but being drafted ahead several HOFers, All-Stars and important cogs in NBA Championship starters I'm sure the tragically-unlucky Nets (Forced to sell Dr. J for $3M, lost Michael Ray Richardson to drugs, lost Drazen Petrovic in a car crash, Kenny Anderson's awful injury bug in roughly a 16-season span) would have loved a do-over.

 

Speaking of basketball, does anyone remember when Sports Illustrated put Indiana 8th Grader Damon Bailey on the cover and proclaimed him to be best-in-class, and was Consensus HS POY in '90?  Bailey was a 2nd round pick and never played an NBA game.  Somehow, Bailey was seen as a better talent than Grant Hill in HS.  It was a weak class, but not that weak.

 

 

 

Being the POY in HS and being a pro prospect are 2 different things.  It reminds me of Laettner and Shaq.  Laettner had a much better college career but everyone knew Shaq would be the better pro.  2 different things.

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On 8/28/2020 at 5:42 PM, MB19 said:

For those taking issue with the verbiage "can't miss kid", it seems some people want to lump in "elite" with "can't miss".

 

Here are some differences:

 

Elite= top 5-ish prospect within age group, wins lots of hardware, likely best in respective state or even region... or even best in class but by narrow margin.

 

A college quarterback example of elite (but didn't translate to next-level) is Mitch Mustain, Tate Martell or Ron Pawlus.  These are Gatorade/Parade/USA TODAY All-Americans coming out of HS, and may have even had a measure of success in college--but either busted later in college and/or didn't stick in the NFL.

 

Can't miss= once thought to be a generational talent late in teens/HS or even college--wide separation in perceived skill and talent between next-closest peer and sure to be a top professional barring catastrophic injury.

 

Baseball's version of this is Brien Taylor, one of three baseball players to be drafted 1st overall in the MLB draft and not make The Show. Taylor, a LHP who could push triple-digits on the radar gun straight out of HS, was billed as the best prospect in baseball by Baseball America before even playing professionally.  He started at A+, a level usually reserved for the best college players drafted and seasoned HS/INTNL prospects, and he proceeded to strike out 187 batters in 27 starts (10.4K/9). The next year in AA his control wasn't good, but he was still on-track for AAA and maybe MLB the following year.  But he got into a fight and destroyed his left shoulder in the off-season.  This was an absolute can't miss kid, who did.  He had no peers when he was drafted, and there was very little precedent for his failure on a baseball level.

 

Basketball's version of this, perhaps, is Len Bias--who many said was the better player between him and Michael Jordan in college.  Bias was taken 2nd overall in the NBA Draft as new blood for Larry Bird's Celtics to hold serve and compete for many more NBA titles.  Bias averaged 36 and 10--a line seldom seen by a college SF--his senior year at Maryland en route to two All-ACC (when that meant something) awards and a 1st team All-American nod (when that meant SOMETHING).  He died of a cocaine overdose just two days post-draft, and just one day after signing a $1.6M contract and other endorsement deals.

 

Football's version of can't miss is tougher to sort out because injuries are such a big part of the game.  

 

As for golf, Ty Tryon (as @leezer99 mentioned) is probably a great example of a can't miss kid who did.  He made the cut at the Honda Classic at 16, then earned his tour card at 17 via Q-school--the youngest player ever to do so.  He struggled with mono his year on the PGA tour, but still pulled down six-figures in prize money.  He didn't hold onto his card, though.  He tried to get back on the tour a few times, but never managed it.

 

Yeah, I don't know. I get the concept of the difference between someone who is "elite" vs one who is "can't miss" but I would say you are using the benefit of hindsight to distinguish between the two here.

 

In any event, these are good examples of the various ways that careers can fail to live up to their potential. Marcus Dupree and Todd Marinovich are popular examples because of the ESPN documentaries about them. It's an intriguing and highly debatable topic.  

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58 minutes ago, jholz said:

 

Yeah, I don't know. I get the concept of the difference between someone who is "elite" vs one who is "can't miss" but I would say you are using the benefit of hindsight to distinguish between the two here.

 

In any event, these are good examples of the various ways that careers can fail to live up to their potential. Marcus Dupree and Todd Marinovich are popular examples because of the ESPN documentaries about them. It's an intriguing and highly debatable topic.  

Used to work at a gym with Marv Marinovich. The guy used to walk around in plyometric shoes all the time. Weird dude. 

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4 minutes ago, leezer99 said:

Used to work at a gym with Marv Marinovich. The guy used to walk around in plyometric shoes all the time. Weird dude. 

 

Yeah, the ESPN documentary didn't make him seem normal. He was a pioneer of modern training techniques however. A lot of today's elite training academies certainly owe something to his approach and attitude. You really can, apparently, "make" an athlete. 

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7 minutes ago, jholz said:

 

Yeah, the ESPN documentary didn't make him seem normal. He was a pioneer of modern training techniques however. A lot of today's elite training academies certainly owe something to his approach and attitude. You really can, apparently, "make" an athlete. 

 

Yep, he was the one that trained a bunch of elite athletes while I was rackin' weights and wiping sweat off of benches.  (It was a high school job for me to get a free membership)

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17 hours ago, Noles said:

Being the POY in HS and being a pro prospect are 2 different things.  It reminds me of Laettner and Shaq.  Laettner had a much better college career but everyone knew Shaq would be the better pro.  2 different things.

 

Certain players are products of the system especially in hoops and certain positions in football.

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2 hours ago, jholz said:

 

Yeah, I don't know. I get the concept of the difference between someone who is "elite" vs one who is "can't miss" but I would say you are using the benefit of hindsight to distinguish between the two here.

 

In any event, these are good examples of the various ways that careers can fail to live up to their potential. Marcus Dupree and Todd Marinovich are popular examples because of the ESPN documentaries about them. It's an intriguing and highly debatable topic.  

Marinovich is a great QB example, IMO, because he was groomed by his father--specifically--to be an NFL QB his entire upbringing.

 

Making a toddler crawl the length of a football field to stretch out his hamstrings is some next-level sports dad craziness. 

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9 minutes ago, MB19 said:

Marinovich is a great QB example, IMO, because he was groomed by his father--specifically--to be an NFL QB his entire upbringing.

 

Making a toddler crawl the length of a football field to stretch out his hamstrings is some next-level sports dad craziness. 

 

Protein ice cubes when he was teething as well.

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At least if the stories are true, Marv Marinovich's behavior could easily be construed as abuse. It was over the top, I think. 

 

That being said, it worked. Even with him being whacked out and sort of hating it the entire time, Todd Marinovich had a storybook career in some ways, both at USC and in the pros.  

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18 hours ago, Noles said:

Being the POY in HS and being a pro prospect are 2 different things.  It reminds me of Laettner and Shaq.  Laettner had a much better college career but everyone knew Shaq would be the better pro.  2 different things.

Regarding Laettner, serious analysts rated him the 3rd best big behind Shaq and Zo going into the '91-'92 NCAA season--and that is exactly how they were drafted, and that is exactly how their NBA careers would finish up between the three of them.  Further, it was clear that Laettner would be a 4 in the L and not a pivot.  There is a reason Shaq and Zo were drafted before him--it wasn't guesswork.  It is indisputable Laettner was the 3rd best player in that draft both going in and 28 years later.  No player drafted behind him had a better NBA career.  Laettner was a very good pro prospect, but Shaq was a generational talent.  Zo was somewhere in between--fringe HOFer/franchise player, much the same Chris Webber (drafted 1-1 the next year) was.  

 

Playing cross-county from Webber, and seeing plenty of him in HS in scrimmages and games, that was my first taste of what a generational talent could look like at the HS level.  Injuries robbed him of some of his prime, but there's no question he was a can't miss who had been written about since 8th grade as being such.  If you want to say Webber missed, consider if making 1st Team All-NBA and 3x2nd Team All-NBA is missing.

 

Regarding Laettner having a "much better college career", I guess that is all in how you look at it.  If you strip their careers down to their individual statistics, Shaq was the most dominant college basketball player in the country his last two years (Laettner's Jr&Sr years, Shaq's So&Jr years).  Shaq's 27.6 point/ 14.7 rebound/ 5 block per contest line as a Soph obliterates any season Laettner put up, as does his 24.1/14.0/5.2 Junior season.  If we are talking team success, then obviously Duke was one of NCAA's great powerhouses during that time period.

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