Options to career shooting pro hoops

April 07, 2004|By Jennifer Lehman

With his brains, beauty, brand-new NCAA basketball championship and likely place atop the NBA's June draft if that's his choice, University of Connecticut star Emeka Okafor is surely the man of the moment, with a path to success seemingly set in stone.

But suppose the 21-year-old Okafor, who struggled with nagging injuries this season with the Huskies, decides there are better things - smarter things - to do with his life than bang bodies with NBA behemoths like Shaquille O'Neal. Here is what a few experts in other fields he might try offered by way of career counseling.

Acting: Take this one off the short list, says local casting agent Pat Moran.

Moran, who has worked with directors Barry Levinson, Jodi Foster and Clint Eastwood, says Okafor certainly is tall, dark and handsome, but his 6-foot-10, 250-pound physique would limit his available roles.

Modeling: Those eyes. The chiseled features. Snap out of it, says Martha Pheeny, marketing director for T.H.E Artist Agency, echoing Moran. "Our first reaction would be that he was too tall," she says. "Our clients wouldn't book him for that reason."

Public office: "Let's just say that I'm glad that you have to be 30 to run for Senate," says Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat. "Seriously, Emeka is a great leader both on the basketball court and in academics, and I'm sure he has a bright future in whatever profession he chooses."

Finance: "I assume that he's really bright, I assume that he is well-educated and has a great record and is a terrific leader," says Roger Kostmayer of the financial firm Kostmayer Associates in Baltimore. "He obviously acquired disciplines that are not easy to acquire and the ability to work under pressure."

"He's got the brains [a 3.8 GPA], give him an open door," adds Bill Dwyer, president and chief investment officer of MTB for M&T Bank.

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