The college basketball season started with a bang last week for some of the states top freshmen. Former Putnam City standout Xavier Henry has Kansas sitting undefeated and on top of the top-25 rankings. Daniel Orton, of Bishop McGuinness, is seeing playing time for Kentucky. Oklahoma's Kyle Hardrick was also on the team.

Besides playing at the D-1 level, all three of those players had one thing in common. They were on the same AAU team, Athletes First.

There was one more critical member of that squad. He was Norman's Terrence Boyd. The 6-5, 230-pound shooting guard was just as highly touted talent wise with a big upside.

But while the other three are still currently on college rosters, Boyd is not. In April, Boyd signed to play with Western Kentucky. Since he was a 4-star recruit, he was considered a big catch for coach Ken McDonald and his Hilltoppers.

However, four months later, Boyd was released from the team without playing in a single game.

"Terrence Boyd is no longer with the Hilltopper program," McDonald said. "Unfortunately things didn't work out with Terrence, but we wish him the best with his future."

This follows a familiar pattern for Boyd. After making his name as a Norman High freshman, he bounced around to different schools and academies throughout the country. Boyd played his freshman season at Norman High School before transferring to Oak Hill Academy (Va.) as a sophomore. He came back to Norman before he was ruled ineligible by the OSSAA. He left for San Diego High School, but was forced to sit out due to transfer rules.

Who knows what he waslooking for, but he never lasted longer than a season at any one stop after leaving NHS and never played another minute of high school basketball. At each place controversy and problems were left in his wake.

I don't want to make it sound like I'm piling blame on the young man. We all make mistakes and need second and third chances.

But one thing I can't overlook is wasting opportunities others would kill for. Not only was Boyd given the chance to play college basketball, but more importantly a free education was laid at his feet and he just kicked it away like an empty can in the middle of the street.

Boyd is not alone in throwing away priceless opportunities. Recently, three freshmen University of Tennessee football players were charged with attempted armed robbery after holding up three men at a gas station with a hand gun. When the police pulled over a car matching the description the victims gave, they found a pellet gun, drug paraphernalia and a bag of marijuana.

Last week, Vols coach Lane Kiffen permanently dismissed Nu'Keese Richardson, 18, and defensive back Mike Edwards, 18, from the team.

If high school and college athletes truly knew how valuable the education was they were throwing away, they might make different decisions. There are friends I went to school with that would have done anything to go to college. But either they couldn't afford it or were not good enough to earn a scholarship.

So they have had to struggle through life working in a world that almost demands you have a college degree to be successful. Yet, there are those who throw it away like day-old bread.

Because of that, they are not only wasting their talent, but also a chance at a good future.

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