Look at Anthony Davis, Marquis Teague, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist—and, for argument’s sake, any one-and-done prospect. They are terrific basketball players, nobody can doubt that—but if the NBA is going to force talents like these guys to play in college basketball, why not make the process beneficial to the player.
The goal of having the best basketball players in the world play college basketball is twofold. Firstly, it allows players to mature physically in preparation for playing in the NBA—a league of grown men. Secondly, making players go to college allows them to get some semblance of an education beyond a high school diploma—which in this day and age is equivalent to a napkin at McDonald’s.
In examining these goals, flaws are apparent in the execution of each goal.
Firstly, one year is not going to transform a boy into a man. Exhibit A is National Player of the Year Anthony Davis. As the most likely candidate be taken as the top pick in the 2012 NBA draft, Davis will most likely be penciled into the starting power forward position for an NBA team next September. On any given night, Davis will be expected to guard an average NBA power forward such as Elton Brand, whom Davis is 40 pounds lighter than—and just generally less physically mature.
Yes, I understand there are exceptions to this, such as LeBron James, but he is one of only a few.
Secondly, if anyone believes that players destined for the NBA ever attend class in their one year of college, they are naïve. Forcing players to attend a single year of college provides no incentive to go to class, as the year in college is used as a draft showcase and nothing else.
If the NBA is insistent on making players go to college, they should employ a similar system to the NFL, in which a player can only declare for the draft after their junior year.
In 2006, it was decided by the National Basketball Association that players must be at least 19 years old or one year removed of graduating high school in order to be eligible for the NBA draft. This rule was established to address maturity concerns after several incidents occurred involving younger players. Most players have been using this year to go to college and play NCAA basketball.
Since the gap year rule was established, questions have been raised asking whether or not the time in between high school graduation and the NBA draft should be longer. This would let athletes mature, and also give them a chance to graduate from college.
I think that the one year rule is a perfect amount of time.
First off, it gives an athlete some needed experience before making the jump to the NBA. Would it make more sense to gain more experience at the college level by playing all four years? Well, if a college player can test the waters and completely dominate the competition, then don’t you think they are ready to make the jump to the pro level?
Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant both exited the college scene early, and they are now two of the most elite and dynamic scorers in the game. You can all expect the same thing out of Kentucky Wildcat Anthony Davis.
Davis was a freshman this year for the newly crowned NCAA champions, the Kentucky Wildcats. In his short tenure there, Davis took the NCAA by storm and became the most feared player in the March Madness championship tournament.
Another issue is that these players are not going to college to become firefighters or businessmen. They are there to play the sport they love and compete with the pros. So why would anyone deprive them of achieving their dream early? If an athlete wants to leave the NCAA for greener pastures, they have every right to.