College Basketball Stars, Take Your Time
When LeBron James decided to skip college and go to straight to the NBA, it was obvious he was ready to be an elite player in the NBA and be the face of the franchise of the team that would end up drafting him. Can you say the same thing about a guy like Sebastian Telfair? Although he is still playing in the NBA, he never came close to being a star. This guy had so much hype coming out of high school that ESPN made a documentary about him his senior year. Telfair wound end up getting drafted with the 13th pick in the 1st round by the Portland Trailblazers in 2004. Telfair is currently playing for his 6th team in 9 NBA seasons which shows he never was able to reach his potential.
photo credit: buzzbox.com
Imagine if Telfair would have gone to college just for one year. He could have been a completely different player. People often forget that the transition from high school level to NBA is huge. In high school Telfair was playing against guys who often were only playing as an extra circular sport and not looking to be a professional basketball player. While in the NBA one is facing the best competition in the world.
Professional sports are all about confidence, and if you are an eighteen year old kid struggling in your first season in the NBA, that could derail you for the rest of your career . Look at guys like, Jonathan Bender, Darius Miles, Kwame Brown, Eddie Curry, Travis Outlaw, Robert Swift, Martell Webster – all guys who were drafted in the 1st round out of high school who were never able to make it in the NBA. So what was their rush? Money? The life style? The fame? Only they could answer that. I wonder what those players would do if they were given the ability to go back in time and go to college? My guess is they would go straight to school.
Starting in the 2006 NBA draft the NBA decided players would have to go to college for at least one year or play pro ball somewhere after graduation for one year. At the time I was really excited because I knew all of these high school stars would play college basketball and raise the competition level and add to the excitement of college basketball. Now that some years have passed I wish the rule would be that players would have to stay in college for at least two years and preferably three years. Call me selfish, but I think it would be a win-win for both the players and the fans.
In the last few drafts there have been some underclassman that have opted for the NBA draft who were simply not ready for the NBA. In 2009 and 2010 drafts, these young college stars like Jonny Flynn, Byron Mullens,Patty Mills, Xavier Henry and Eric Bledsoe were drafted. All these guys are not getting better sitting on the bench. If they had decided to stay in college for at least one more season not only could they develop as players but they also would help their teams be more successful. When you’re a young professional athlete you want to be playing as much as possible so that your game doesn’t stay raw. In the NBA when you sit on the bench for the whole season you aren’t able to compete and gain the experience needed to improve your game.
Underclassman have until April 29th to officially decide if they’re going to enter the NBA draft. My advice for Kentucky’s Marquis Teague, Georgetown’s Otto Porter, Baylor’s Quincy Miller and UConn’s Andre Drummond? Do yourselves a favor and stay in school.
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