"I feel bad because a lot of people define Kerry over that pick. If you look at Kerry’s time with the Nets, he was an awesome player."
Taken with the eighth overall pick in the stacked 1996 Draft, most people would look back and be baffled at how a team with so much dysfunction could have passed up on one of the greatest players of all time.
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But in 1996, Bryant — the untested, rising high school star — found himself competing with more accomplished players, like Kittles.
At Villanova, Kittles was an All-American and left as their all-time leader in points and steals. Older fans may remember him as the exciting player that acted as the connective tissue between the hard times of the late ‘90s and the glory days of the early 2000s.
Looking back onto grainy game film or highlight reels, you’d probably find him spotting up for a jumper or running hard on a fast break with Jason Kidd, occasionally throwing it down.
He’s currently second in franchise history in 3-pointers made and attempted. During their back-to-back Finals runs, he made his money on defense, usually guarding the opposing team’s best backcourt player like Kobe, the superstar he was drafted ahead of, and young, quick Tony Parker.
In 2004, Kittles was traded to Clippers for a draft, pick but a serious knee injury derailed the rest of his career. After playing, he returned to Villanova, got his MBA and had a day job working in finance.
Crazy, right? A college superstar who played against the likes of Kobe and Shaq in the Finals working a regular 9-to-5.
Life away from basketball didn’t last as he started working with the Fairleigh Dickinson University basketball program before joining the Princeton Tigers’ coaching staff in 2016. He is also now on the Villanova University Board of Trustees.