On wasted draft picks
January 19, 2009

The man in the photograph is Mansour Ndiaye. He is pictured wearing a suit because Mansour Ndiaye is no longer a soccer player. In fact, he hasn't been one since college. A national champion at UConn, he decided to pursue a law degree rather than his soccer career.

Good for him.

Bad for Metro.

For Mansour Ndiaye is the most obvious example of a wasted draft pick. Taken 7th overall in 2002, he never played a minute in MLS. That he didn't should not have been that surprising; he declared his intentions to go to law school before the draft. Of course, that didn't stop the MetroStars from taking him in the first round.

Soon after, then-GM Nick Sakiewicz tried to cover his tracks, saying "I don't see very many draft picks making MLS rosters this year, the talent pool is just not so good". Of course, the next pick was used on Rookie of the Year Kyle Martino, and perennial MLS Best XI member Shalrie Joseph went soon after.

So why do we bring up Ndiaye now? Well, last year gave us another wasted draft pick, as Eric Brunner, the team's top selection (16th overall), was released without ever playing a single minute, as RBNY ran out of senior roster spots.

And now, on the same day that news is surfacing that Brunner will come to Metro camp, trying to earn a roster spot he thought he had last year, SoccerByIves is reporting that this year's second rounder (18th overall), Babajide Ogunbiyi, might not show up. Supposedly, Ogunbiyi, unhappy not to receive a contract with MLS pre-draft, is choosing to stay in school, before re-examining his situation in March. Wheteher that situation involves Metro, or an attempt to find a deal in Europe is not known.

A tad upsetting. Now, for all we know, Ogunbiyi might never amount to anything. Or, he might finish his studies and come to Metro in March. But this situation raises a few questions, to say the least.

Did Juan Carlos Osorio and Jeff Agoos know about Ogunbiyi's situation? If so, why did they use a high draft pick on someone who might not show up? And if they didn't know, why not? Surely, some due diligence should have been done on players you are planning to make part of your team?

And why is it that Metro history just keeps repeating and repeating?

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