This trend of guys jumping from high school straight into the NBA has really got to stop. I know it’s tempting to just take the money, but when you really look at it, it’s a bad decision. I’m glad that the NCAA is close to passing a measure that would allow drafted players to play in college.
Playing in college for four years can make you a better player. You get to play against the best players in the country. Players your own age. There won’t be the pressure to mature quickly like there is in the NBA. Also, college sports are often treated as minor leagues for some professional sports (mostly basketball and football). I know the NBA now has their Developmental League, but it’s a joke. Nobody cares about it. College is still the best place to develop talent for basketball.
College athletes also might find something they’re good at or enjoy, besides sports, and could find a career for after sports or in case their sports career doesn’t pan out.
If you skip college and just take the money, you better invest well. One injury could end it all. I might be sounding like a huge snob, but these guys should not be putting all their eggs into the professional sports basket. To think that your only chance of success is in sports is short-sighted. Just by being good at sports, these athletes have access to colleges they might not have access to otherwise. It’s foolish to squander an opportunity like that.
A measure being considered by the NCAA, which would allow drafted players to compete in college, is way overdue. I know that hockey players who are drafted by pro teams are allowed to play for college programs (the Lightning have a goalie playing at Brown as we speak). This measure could finally allow professional teams to lock onto a prospect but not rush his development by having him play immediately in the National Basketball League.The Chicago Bulls have two players that came straight from high school to the NBA. Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry are averaging 5.7 and 6.3 points per game, respectively (that comes straight from the Chicago Bulls web page). Don’t tell me they couldn’t have used some time to mature. They’re kids, for crying out loud, and expected to help turn the franchise around.
I don’t think a person just out of high school has the experience necessary to manage a multi-million dollar contract (if you don’t believe me, watch “MTV Cribs”). Hopefully they would gain the maturity necessary to make good decisions during college.
It is worth noting that the players that do decide to go straight to the pros are eighteen years old and capable of making their own decisions. These guys make the decision that they think is best for them. I just hope their decisions aren’t impacted by the money they’re being offered and that they really consider all the angles.College isn’t for everyone. If a player truly doesn’t believe that they can earn a degree and believes that attending school is a waste of everyone’s time, then they should go to the big leagues. It would be nice though if high school seniors could make the decision without being hounded by scouts and agents.
Chris Ricketts is a sophomore majoring in English.RuinedEye@aol.com