Random Athlete of the Day- Yaroslav Korolev
The year was 2005, the Clippers finished 37-45, actually showing some promise with a solid foundation of talent with Elton Brand, Chris Kaman, Corey Maggette, and potential contributors (at the time) in Shaun Livingston, Marco Jaric, and Chris Wilcox. The Clippers needed one more playmaker, another player who they could depend on to help push them to relevancy.
The 2005 NBA Draft came, and the Clippers had the 12th pick, marking a lottery pick for the 8th consecutive year. Clipper fans were ready for the turnaround with this pick, especially in a deep draft filled with a promising pool that could provide the missing piece. After much scouting, analyzing, and predicting, the Clippers chose the 6-10 SF Yaroslav Korolev out of Russia. Of course if they really could have predicted the future the Clippers could have stolen one of Danny Granger, David Lee, Monta Ellis, Louis Williams, or Marcin Gortat.
Regardless, the Moscow baller came with a good amount of hype as a teenager playing in the Russian Super League. Korolev was supposed to be a hybrid small forward and had all the tools to become a playmaker. Since you probably haven’t heard of his name, obviously you can assume that did not happen.
In his rookie year at the age 18, Korolev played in 24 games and scored 27 points. The next season he played in ten games and scored 12 points. Despite the limited play, the Clipps offered him a contract for the next season but he declined the offer and went to Dynamo Moscow.
He attempted to make a comeback, and was drafted in the fourth round of the NBA D-League draft by the Albuquerque Thunderbirds, and was later traded to the Reno Bighorns a few months after. The following offseason he signed with CB Granada in Spain (2010), then Lagun Aro GBC (2011), and currently plays with Spartak Saint Peterberg as of last December.
Yaroslav is currently on twitter doing his thing: https://twitter.com/yk45