When Rasheed Wallace was a freshman at Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia, he could already do just about everything on a basketball court.

Well, there was one thing that gave him trouble.

“Rasheed couldn’t make a lefty layup to save his life,” said his coach Bill Ellerbee, a legend in high school coaching circles. “He would go off the wrong foot all the time.”

There are always those guys you despise when they walk into the building. They are rarely those that can’t play.

Rasheed Wallace is one of those guys who gets booed no matter where he goes. It’s the ultimate compliment -- and part of the reason why Rasheed Wallace was a no-brainer for Danny Ainge and the Celtics.

If Wallace was on the C’s this past postseason, opposing teams wouldn’t have been able to devote as much of their game plan to stopping Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.



When you look at Rasheed Wallace what do you see?
•A 6-foot-11 player who shoots 3’s and owns a volcanic temper?
•A versatile big man who can defend power forwards and centers?
•A 14-year veteran who has logged over 1,000 games and is coming off a down season statistically?
•The best value for the Celtics to use their mid-level exception?

WALTHAM -- Paul Pierce was never concerned that Rajon Rondo was leaving Boston.

"I knew he wasn’t going to be traded," Pierce said on Tuesday afternoon while at his Nike-sponsored Paul Pierce Skills Academy for the top college and high school players at his position. "But that’s the fun part about the summer. All the rumors.

"Danny (Ainge) told me and told Kevin (Garnett)," he added. "We knew he wasn’t going to be traded."



Nearly 10 years ago, Jason James crossed paths with a talented yet troubled teenager at Central High School in Memphis. Poor academics and attendance had kept the sophomore off of the basketball team, but he had raw potential that needed polishing. James decided to keep an eye on him. This week he watched the same teen become the newest member of the Boston Celtics.


Jason James wouldn’t give up on Lester Hudson.



True to their word, the Celtics were merely bystanders in what most observers called the weakest draft since 2000, holding steady with the 58th pick where they selected Lester Hudson from Tennessee-Martin.

But the draft was merely a sidebar on a day when the top contenders in the East added mega-watt star power as Cleveland grabbed Shaquille O’Neal and Orlando traded for Vince Carter. Add in Washington’s moves earlier in the week to get Mike Miller and Randy Foye, and suddenly, the Eastern Conference got a whole tougher.

You all know I enjoy hate mail. It keeps me going when times get rough, and it’s the lifeblood of the d-bag mailbag.

But I’ve got to be honest. As much I enjoy getting abused, I take nearly as much pleasure in you folks abusing the people I work with. Namely, Tanguay and Dickerson. Any mention of Bradford and his Mangina works for me, too, as does any attack on the BBWAA. It’s at moments like those that I feel it’s all worthwhile.



In the last 10 years over 115 international-born players have been selected in the NBA Draft. The Boston Celtics have drafted three in the second round. Of those, none have ever suited up for the C’s.

This summer one of the most hyped prospects in the draft is Spanish guard Ricky Rubio. Even though there have been rumors of trade talks between the Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies, who hold the second pick and could potentially draft Rubio, making a move for an international player in the first round would be a change in course for the Celtics.



So, heard any good rumors lately? The NBA silly season is in full swing and as more names get leaked into the blogosphere it seems fitting that the kickoff to what promises to be one of the odder NBA offseasons in recent memory features a draft with more questions than answers and more smoke than a Cheech and Chong marathon.

This is what we know about the NBA Draft on Thursday.

•Blake Griffin will go No. 1 and unless he succumbs to the Clipper Curse he will be a productive All-Star caliber player for a decade, if not a franchise maker.

It’s okay to admit that you forgot the NBA Draft is Thursday night, or maybe didn’t know at all. This is what happens when you win 60 games and don’t have a first-round pick. If things stay the course right now the Celtics pick 58th. About the only interesting story there would be if Tyrese Rice were on the board. Not exactly gripping television.