How many athletes have possessed such elite talent to not only surpass the college level , but to remain relevant in their sport when they reach the professional level? The answer…not many. When considering the number of athletes that have jumped from high school and gone directly into the pros, Basketball has felt the greatest impact to their sport.
Referring to those who have leaped the NCAA for the NBA, there is one Kobe Bryant for every four Sebastian Telfairs. Including Telfair, future Hall of Famer Kobe Bean Bryant, and forty other high school basketball players have been drafted by NBA franchises and viewed as an important building block for the team’s success. Out of the total forty-two only ten of those high school turn pro players continued on to have successful and lasting careers. Many of those thirty-two other high school players did have extraordinary talent. However, they did not develop those talents properly for them to be on display for all to see.
For many young basketball players talent is not the issue, developing the talent is. That is where the problem lies, in the development of skill that these extremely gifted and young men possess. Allowing high school players to leap-frog the college level seemed to be a clear way to attract more fans and talent. The NBA however, did not consider the type of talent that would then be exposed by implementing this rule. At first, the fresh out of high school players were taking the league by storm with a couple very exceptional players. This initial response was tremendous for the fans, the game, the TV ratings and for the business. That is, until that door was left open a little too long.
NBA careers, organizations and the league itself were beginning to get hit in the stomach. Several high profiled high school players instead of being recruited by the Duke’s, North Carolina’s and Michigan State’s of the world, they wanted to turn pro, to play in the big leagues, even if their talent was not yet ready.
College does not just further one’s book smarts in education but also one’s CS degree. Common Sense. Decision making, both on and off the court could benefit from the experiences and situations one goes through during those college years. Many players who unfortunately find themselves with financial strains tend to view the NBA as an easy way out, an easy first paycheck to help their family in a rough time. Though when those specific situations arise it leaves the question of what do you want more? When a young player sees and hears that his stock is high and that he is projected here or there as a lottery pick, the NBA would sound pretty enticing, especially if you are a lottery pick. That first paycheck could be something special and may just be what is needed to lift your families spirits. However, why not play basketball at the “next” level, college, or “stay” in college another year to develop your game all that much more so that when your original rookie contract does expire your game and production will not. Your skill will speak for itself and more contracts and dollar signs will be in your future. A better future awaits for the player, the player’s family, and for the future of the league.
The NBA is a business, a rather rich and successful business. With the number of high school players entering the draft increasing, and the number of those players who have had worthy and respectable careers strongly decreasing the NBA said enough is enough. Well, Kind of.
The NBA decided to enforce a rule that players must be one year removed from high school to be eligible for the draft, forcing high schoolers to commit to a college for at least one season of basketball. The NBA even added the ability for underclassmen to test the draft water, to see where their stock has them ranked in the draft to make a decision on turning pro. With both of these additions, the college game has slightly benefited by raw, not quite ready, yet extremely talented players staying for that one year, raising the skill level and competition level in the NCAA. The NBA has slightly benefited because the talent that comes into the league through the draft, is then much more developed both physically as well as mentally.
The word “slightly” is used as far as how much those additions have impacted the NBA and NCAA because it seems that more could be done to have even a better finished product on the hardwood.
One does not pick an apple before it is ripe, or do you?