Welcome, everyone, to Where Are They Now? With another week in the books, we’re back again with another crop of yesteryear’s stars and their current whereabouts.
In recent weeks, we’ve covered everyone from Stephon Marbury and Tracy McGrady to Jonathan Bender and Acie Law IV. In other words, we have no limits or bounds in where we must look or who we need to find.
So who are the players in this week’s Where Are They Now? Let’s get underway and find that out.
For those college basketball pundits out there, the name “Melvin Ely” instills nothing but beautiful memories of a time in which the mid-majors had begun to re-emerge as college basketball powers. At 6’10” and 245 pounds, Ely was the source of optimism for under-the-radar schools such as the Fresno State Bulldogs.
If not on a national level, Ely was certainly dominating the Western Athletic Conference.
Ely was a two-time WAC Player of the Year. Others who have earned that honor include Keith Van Horn, Michael Cage, Josh Grant and Where Are They Now? alumni Nick Fazekas.
The fact that Ely won the awards is not quite as impressive as the way he earned such honors. That, of course, came by way of Ely’s uncanny ability to dominate the interior in every sense of the word.
During his four-year career, Ely finished with averages of 15.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game. In 2001-02, however, Ely elevated his status to amongst the elite with career-best numbers of 23.3 points, 9.1 boards and 3.2 blocks per contest.
Paired with Courtney Alexander, Ely led the Bulldogs to their only WAC Conference Tournament championship in school history. He also led the school to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in 2000 and 2001—their first individual appearances since 1984.
As expected, the NBA saw potential in Ely’s abilities. In 2002, the Los Angeles Clippers took Ely with the 12th overall draft choice.
Although he failed to reach stardom, Ely played eight seasons in the NBA. In that time, he developed a reputation as one of the better interior reserves.
After eight years in the league, Ely played his final NBA game on April 13, 2011 with the Denver Nuggets. Following that season, Ely opted to take his talents overseas and joined Brujos de Guayama of Puerto Rico’s BSN.
Unfortunately, that move failed to work out as planned, as Ely ended up back in the U.S.
Since returning to the stateside, Ely has taken on a leadership role for the Texas Legends in the NBA D-League. In 28 games, Ely is averaging 9.5 points and 6.7 rebounds while playing 24.9 minutes per contest.
In a flash of the past, Ely most recently scored 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting. The big man’s still got it.
From 2004 to 2007, the Florida Gators constructed the closest thing to a dynasty as you’ll see in this era of one-and-dones. Led by current NBA players Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer, the Gators won two national titles and three SEC Tournament championships in that dominant time.
The key to it all was point guard Taurean Green.
In terms of NBA success, Green is the player whom the common NBA fan easily forgets. When it comes to Florida’s three-year dynasty, however, there isn’t a college basketball fan across the nation who has lost the memories he created.
In 2006, Green was sensational during both the SEC and NCAA Tournaments. In the former, Green averaged 16.0 points per contest and led the Gators to their second consecutive SEC Tournament title. In turn, he was named SEC Tournament MVP.
During the latter, Green came up with clutch buckets for a Florida team that narrowly escaped Georgetown in the Sweet Sixteen and dropped 19 points during the Elite Eight. Days later, Green helped the Gators earn their first national title in school history.
The following season, Green averaged 17.0 points from the Elite Eight onwards. That includes a 21-point performance in the Final Four and a 16-point and 6-assist outing in the National Championship game.
Two consecutive titles, two seasons of tournament brilliance for Green.
During the summer of 2007, Green would join his Florida teammates by foregoing his senior season and entering the NBA Draft. Green would go 52nd overall to the Portland Trail Blazers, where he played just eight games before being traded to the Denver Nuggets. Nine games into that stint, Green’s NBA career was done.
So where is he now?
Since 2008, Green has played for five different teams across Europe. He began his tenure overseas by playing for CAI Zaragoza of Spain’s Liga ACB and AEK B.C. in Athens, Greece. In that time, Green was an average player who struggled with consistency in his shot selection.
Since then, Green has improved dramatically. He spent two years with CB Gran Canaria in Liga ACB, averaging roughly eight points and four assists in 20 minutes per contest. After averaging 10.3 points and 4.3 assists in limited run for Tofas of Turkey, he made the jump to Italy.
He currently plays for Sigma Barcellona and is averaging 12.6 points and 5.4 assists per contest. He’s also posting a career-best slash line of .518/.379/.914 and developing into a lethal spot-up shooter. The former Florida Gator is becoming quite the European point guard. He also has a Georgian passport and plays for their national team.