High School Players Should Attend College Before the NBA

Why High School Players Shouldn't Go Directly to the NBA

Watch out, NBA—it’s the “Attack of the ‘One-and-Done’ Gang”!

A sense of normalcy has been returned to the NBA draft after years of draft-night lunacy, and we have the NBA policy mandating a player be a year removed from high school before applying for entry into the league to thank. On draft night, players with reputations built on actually playing in games are now featured, and the commentary isn’t strictly about “upside”. Even the static about how unfair it is to make an athlete go to college to become eligible for the NBA has subsided, as players and broadcasters have finally accepted the rule as a necessary evil. In this debate on the rights of high school kids to go pro, I’m going to go against the grain and voice my opinion in favor of sending kids to college. The reasons include:

1. They ARE kids. Just because someone COULD play in the NBA doesn’t mean they SHOULD play in the NBA. A twelve-year old might be mature enough to flip burgers at McDonald’s, but everyone realizes there are other issues involved and no one demands the pre-teen be allowed to ply his trade in the burger industry. The fact that Derrick Rose and O.J. Mayo were possibly involved in some shady dealings during their brief stays on campus doesn’t mean the rules are bad, but it could possibly indicate they are immature and not quite ready for the world they can’t wait to embrace. To say a rule should be abolished because someone tries to circumvent it is like saying we shouldn’t have traffic signals because somebody ran a red light. Raise the bar and let the high school kids realize the world isn’t just about them. Make emotional maturity a job requirement.

2. No one is entitled to play in the NBA. Hey, America is the land of opportunity, not entitlement. In the larger scheme of things, is it really that important for Derrick Rose to get to the NBA as quickly as possible? How is anyone hurt by allowing these guys to mature a little? Rose, Michael Beasley, Greg Oden and the rest are all fine—going to college didn’t kill ‘em. Why do we even care whether or not they can go pro out of high school? Why not show equal concern for the solid if unspectacular journeyman player who gets forced out of the league because a teenager demands to sit on the bench for three years while he develops physically? Who is lobbying for the player who succeeds through his energy and work ethic, sacrificing his body every night just to play in the league? Why is the high school kid more important? And what should we do about the early-entry players that never get drafted by the NBA? Why is their plight ignored? If forced to attend college, they can either work on their game and get to the NBA or realize they don’t have the skills and forge another career for themselves. The rule helps them, also.

3. Believe it or not, the rule mandating a year of college helps both the college and pro game. It gives the NCAA some extra star power, and it lets the NBA make some draft decisions based on something other than potential. They have a chance to see if the guys they want can really play. It also gives the NBA a fan base. Kansas State fans will tune in to watch Beasley play—they wouldn’t bother if he went pro out of high school. I don’t care how good Beasley is, Manhattan Kansas couldn’t care less about him if he didn’t play basketball there for a year.

4. The pro game is better when played by collegians because they have learned the nuances of the game. It isn’t just about taking it to the rim or shooting the three-pointer; it’s also about learning to defend on and off the ball, pass, move without the ball, dribble with either hand and develop a mid-range game. It’s about seeing a play develop three passes before it’s there. It’s also about learning how to win and becoming a leader. If anyone thinks Kevin Garnett was the leader of the Boston Celtics team that won the title in 2008, they are mistaken. Paul Pierce led them to victory. Garnett simply helped. Pierce learned how to play the game at the University of Kansas, not Boston. It took Kobe Bryant years to learn to become a leader and a winner—Bryant might disagree, but he learned a lot playing ball with Shaquille O’Neal. Could that be why Shaq was sent to Cleveland to help out LeBron James?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the early-entry problem with the NBA doesn’t have to be a problem. If high school players go pro, make their first NBA contract a seven-year deal. The NBA team that drafts the high school kid and has to pay him for seven years will make certain he can really play. They can’t unload him as quickly, and the players can’t adopt the attitude of wanting to get that first contract “over with” to get to that 110 million-dollar deal. If a player goes pro after his first year of college, give him a six-year deal; two years earns a five-year contract, three years merits a four-year deal, and four years of college gets the standard rookie contract. Everyone’s contract expires at roughly the same age.

Speaking of contracts, perhaps the NBA should eliminate guaranteed contracts for rookies drafted in the first round. How many times do we hear a player proclaim that he’s going pro if he will be selected in the first round of the NBA draft—otherwise he’s going back to school? Let any player who wants to go to the NBA be forced to make the team. If a kid is truly good enough to play pro basketball, the elimination of guaranteed contracts shouldn’t worry him at all, should it? How many of these kids trying to get into the NBA recognize they are outmatched as professionals or even collegians, and are hoping to get that guaranteed contract before scouts realize they’re no good? If you think that never happens, well—I’ve got some swamp land in Florida to sell to you.

The one-year rule is there, and it was put in place because the NBA recognized the need to stop drafting kids to play pro ball with men. They addressed a real problem because early entry hurt the game more than it helped it, and that problem will resurface if the rule goes away. Forget all the “16 out of 24 players in the All-Star game went pro out of high school” talk (or whatever the number really was). The guys will still make the All-Star game if they go to college—if they are good enough. Claiming an injustice has been committed is absurd. If college is so distasteful, the NBA should institute a minimum age. No teenagers admitted. If a high school player doesn’t want to go to college until he turns 20, well—McDonald’s is probably hiring and he can work with the twelve-year old burger-flipping prodigy.

NBA--Fantastic Potential?

Kevin Garnett was good enough to play, which started it all...
Kevin Garnett was good enough to play, which started it all...
Kobe Bryant and LeBron James were good enough
Kobe Bryant and LeBron James were good enough
Kwamie Brown wasn't good enough
Kwamie Brown wasn't good enough
Tyson Chandler made a marginal pro, Eddy Curry didn't even do that
Tyson Chandler made a marginal pro, Eddy Curry didn't even do that
Anybody remember Korleone Young?  Probably not.... he went pro out of high school
Anybody remember Korleone Young? Probably not.... he went pro out of high school
Gerald Green saw green--Celtic green and big dollars--but where is he now?
Gerald Green saw green--Celtic green and big dollars--but where is he now?
Kevin Durant wasn't hurt a bit by spending a year in Texas before heading to the NBA
Kevin Durant wasn't hurt a bit by spending a year in Texas before heading to the NBA

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Comments 50 comments

samparks1920 7 years ago

I totally agree that emotional maturity should be a requirement.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Thanks for your comment. Given the situation with Mayo, Rose, and now the news that Michael Beasley is in some type of undisclosed "rehab", it seems more important than ever for a structure to be in place that allows these young men to mature. They need to be in college, where they can grow both as players and as people.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Thanks for the comments,Misstikal1. I like your name, by the way....


Truth From Truth profile image

Truth From Truth 6 years ago from Michigan

Great hub Mike, I totally agree. While there are a few success stories of players that enter the NBA straight out of high school. Most have at least some trouble, either on or off the court. I think they need at least a couple years of college. Other wise the maturity level usually doesn't match there bank account, and they are more likely to make poor decisions.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Truth, thanks for your comments. I've mentioned the need for NBA players to go to college several times in various hubs, and it's something I feel fairly strongly about, event though I know my thinking here goes against the popular opinion of the media and many coaches. We consider Kobe Bryant a success story, but he frequently has not conducted himself with maturity or good judgment throughout the course of his career.

Well, I could go on and on... thanks for your opinions, they are greatly appreciated.


Marcquis 6 years ago

this is the stupidist thing that i ever heard the best dont have to go to collage. Lebron James did not have to go to collage and he turned out very fine. What i'm saying is why dose my cousin O.J Mayo have to do two years in collage.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Marcquis, I appreciate your opinion but I respectfully disagree. The NBA is filled with good players, but the true winners have something extra, and usually they find that in college. Okay, LeBron James turned out fine, but the dozens of other young players that enter the draft way before they're ready are not LeBron James--including O.J. Mayo, I'm afraid. The influx of young, uncoached players is hurting the NBA.

To answer your question about why O.J. Mayo should go to college, I will simply suggest you read what I wrote--everything I said is in response to your question.

Marcquis, thanks again for your opinion.


Craig 6 years ago

I totally agree...im doing a report on why they should right now...You helped me a lot..and Lebron is one of the only cases ever where something like this has happened,just think if sebastian telfair had went to play for a great coach like Rick Potino instead of going straight to the NBA to ride the pine.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Craig, thanks for your comments, and I'm glad I could help with your report. You are correct, LeBron James is the exception but advocates of high schoolers in the pros act like everyone that comes out is the second coming of James. Sebastian Telfair is a great example of the need to send these kids to college to work on their game.

Thanks again for your comments.


Craig 6 years ago

Another good statement made was that Kobe was very immature when he stated out.Without Shaq, that team wouldve been this years New Jersey Nets!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Craig, thanks again for your comments. You are correct, everyone watches the way Kobe Bryant plays today and forgets what he was like as a rookie--chucking up air balls in the clutch, alienating teammates, and acting like--well, a teenager. As good as he was coming out of high school, college would not have hurt Kobe Bryant in the least.

And yes, without Shaquille O'Neal, that team would have been awful! (I feel bad for the New Jersey Nets, but I also think they have the talent to win a few more than they have. They are a poor team no matter how you look at it, but they shouldn't be as horrible as they are....)

Thanks again, Craig.


Craig 6 years ago

True, they have plenty of talent and im amazed at how awful they have played with soke of the talented players they have, espescially Devan Harris.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hey, Craig, thanks again. The Nets are a funny group--they have the talent to be better than they are, but seem to geel it's okay to lose. No one is taking responsibility for losing or winning. I've only watched them play a couple times this year, but to me they lack focus--their passes and shots are poor, they lose their man on defense, etc. It is a cultural climate that condones defeat. They have some talent, but they might have to bust it up, get rid of the coach, and perhaps the GM as well to build a team that wants to win and will sacrifice to do so. That's how it looks to me, at least.

Thanks again for your comments.


Totin Travel profile image

Totin Travel 6 years ago from Texas

Perhaps a test can be administered before a player is admitted to the NBA to determine if they are ready. We are starting to lose a lot of players to Europe. I think Kobe and Lebron made wise decisions.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Totin, thanks for your comments. Kobe Bryant and LeBron James perhaps did not need college to develop NBA-ready skills. However, they are the exceptions and not the rule. There are too many more players like Kwamie Brown and Eddy Curry--not ready for prime time. The policies need to benefit the many, not cater to the elite. James didn't need college but a host of others do. Even Bryant averaged less than 8 points and 2 rebounds a game as a rookie and shot under 42%--that's okay, but he was no savior coming out of high school. He would be just as great today if he were expected to attend college, and a lot of other players would be immeasurably better.

Totin, you raise an interesting comment by suggesting a test of some type. Since players work out before the NBA draft, their skills are tested but NBA teams still draft on potential rather than skill. Any ideas what type of test would be helpful? I would love to expand on the idea in future writings because the right type of test would definitely have merit. If you return to this page, I would be very interested in your thoughts (and I will think about it myself, as well...).

Thanks, Totin. Your comments are appreciated.


bill yon profile image

bill yon 6 years ago from sourcewall

I disagree when the chance comes take it.they can go to college in their off season,besides why go to college for four years make the university millions upon millions of dollars,when you can go straight to the pro's and make your own millions?I agree that all should go to college,but they can do that in their off season,get their education so they can manage their money better.it shouldn't be a rule that future N.B.A.players have to attend college first,if the N.B.A wants them,and they want to go then go.when oppurtunity knocks you have to answer the door,or you'll miss it.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Bill, thanks for your comments. I believe it is better for the NBA to make these kids wait. If they are good enough, the millions will still be there. If they aren't, well--they might not have deserved the money in the first place.

If I have the aptitude to become a lawyer, should I demand a law firm hire me so I can learn to practice law on the job? Would you want me to defend you in court under these circumstances, or would you prefer to hire someone with a legal background? Am I being cheated if the law firm insists I go to law school first?

The NBA is an inferior product for letting kids with talent but without skills play for pay. And clearly the NBA is now looking overseas to find players with skills that American players once learned in college. Twenty-five years ago, overseas players couldn't compete with our collegians in international play. Now our pros struggle to compete with them.

I'm not convinced anyone gets cheated by playing college ball first, and I am still of the opinion that the NBA would offer a better game if kids went to college first.

Bill, despite the fact that we disagree, I appreciate your comments very much and I enjoy discussing basketball.

Thanks again.


SteveSprings profile image

SteveSprings 6 years ago

just joined and I love this topic. its one of my favorites, here's me opinion....if the player is good enough and the scout project him to go top 5 MAYBE top 10 let him go. but if they feel he won't develop right away then he should go to college for 3 years MAX. at the end of every year the player should get evaluated and if they can move on, let them move on. but if they need work then they should stay. that's just me but you make a strong strong point.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Steve, thanks for your comments. I am certainly not opposed to players who are good enough to contribute to an NBA team going pro, whether they are high school kids or college juniors. I just believe very few of them are able to contribute out of high school. Just one year of college has allowed the NBA the chance evaluate players on more than potential, and to separate the Michael Beasleys from Jonathan Benders. I also am firmly convinced that college teaches players how to win--not just play.

Well, thanks again. While I am in favor of high school kids going to college, I am appreciative of all viewpoints. I love talking about the NBA and welcome the comments.


Craig Popp 6 years ago

I gave my speech on this to my teacher today he loved it and agreed with what i had to say, and since i got some of it from you, i just wanted to say thanks for your help.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Craig, thanks so much for your comment. I'm very glad to know that my words helped with your report. Thanks for letting me know, my friend. Take care.

Mike


Ball2Day 6 years ago from Fort Wasington, Maryland

Yes high school players should be allowed to go directly to the NBA or Europe. The present rule of 1 year in college is a joke. All a players has to do is take is Mickey Mouse courses 1st semester and kill time until the end of March. Unless the rules is changed to require 2 years of college let them go.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Ball2Day, thanks for your comments. Players can in fact go to Europe from high school, just not the NBA. It also must be remembered that this is an NBA requirement to improve their product--what kids do in college is irrelevent to the NBA. It is an aspect of labor law that allows the NBA to set whatever standards they believe are necessary to make their business more viable, and it has nothing to do with getting high school kids an education.

I believe the rule should be changed to two years also, but it is unlikely--which is a shame.

Thanks for reading, I appreciate your comments.

Mike


cbris52 profile image

cbris52 6 years ago

Very interesting topic.... it's rare for a kid to play only one year of high school and be offered a scholarship to play for a University...(ie. The Blindside). I agree that it takes years of learning and experience to be able to compete on a professional level that could be obtained through four years of college play. However, occasionally there are a few rare phenoms that do have the talent and ability minus the experience straight out of HS. Very Nice Hub!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

cbris52, thanks for your comments. You articulate the most valid point when you say that the phenon capable of playing out of high school is rare, and you are absolutely correct. For the NBA to offer the best product it can, their labor policies need to serve the majority and not that rare exception. Kobe Bryant and LeBron James would still be in the NBA now if they went to college. Conversely, no one anywhere is wondering what Carmelo Anthony would have been like if he'd reached the NBA a year sooner than he did--no one cares, and that's the way it should be.

Thanks again.

Mike


6 years ago

What about all the high school graduates that take jobs before and after highschool. Inaddition, some of the players that went to college are garbage in the NBA, also. The organizations decide whether or not to hire players, it is their decision to make, they do not have to hire a high schooler.


6 years ago

How many players sre we talking here, give me a break


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

G, you are correct that the organizations decide whether or not to hire players, and no one is forcing them to do anything. The NBA obviously believes it was a mistake to allow high school players to petition for the NBA draft--just as I do. They instituted the requirement that a player be one year removed from high school before applying to the NBA. If not for the NBA Players Union, it would have been two years. They determined that it was better for their own product to prohibit players from applying for the draft out of high school.

The extra year gives the league more opportunities to assess their true skills--something that is limited when watching a kid play in high school or AAU games. This is as much an issue as anything, and it is the correct stand for the NBA to take.

It also eliminates high school kids getting bad advice, applying for the draft, not being selected, and never being heard from again. How many have there been? I don't know. Enough that the NBA felt they needed to do something about it.

The NBA decided it was best not to allow high school kids to apply for the draft--and I agree with them.

Thanks for your comments.

Mike


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

I totally agree!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Habee, thanks for your comments. Now that the college season is over, a flood of kids who aren't ready will apply for the NBA draft, and so many of them will never be heard from again. They might believe they are trying to live their dream by abandoning college, when college would most likely help them achieve it, instead. Every kid thinks he is the next LeBron James, but they are not.

Well, thanks again, Habee.

Mike


Craig Popp 6 years ago

Ok..uk just got destroyed by the 1 and done..how could some of those kids go out..no way they are ready!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Craig, I agree with you completely. Orton and Bledsoe are what this article is all about. Orton couldn't even crack the starting lineup in college, and he thinks he's going to contribute in the pros after a year on UKs bench and a 3 points per game average? Bledsoe was not ready either, but at least he got to play. It almost seems they were brainwashed into believing that because they played for Calipari, they were automatically ready. It is a shame, because they could have helped Kentucky and themselves by staying in college. This issue is a huge problem and would have been worse if the NBA still allowed high school players to go pro.

Even Cousins and Wall were not emotionally ready. I'm not claiming they should have stayed in college--obviously they are talented and will get a chance to play in the pros, but Cousins frequently hurt his team with his failure to keep his emotions in check, and Wall complained about his coach and said he was "unhappy" after his first loss. These guys would benefit from a chance to mature emotionally. Having said that, I wish them well and hope the best for them.

Thanks for reading, Craig.

Mike


mrm85.com 6 years ago

I personally think that high schoolers should spend at least one year in college, as is the current setup (for the most part, there are loopholes).

But it is undeniable the fact that some players have come into the league from high school & dominated. In the same regard for every LeBron James there has been a Kwame Brown.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

mrm85.com, thanks for reading. I agree completely, the great majority of high schoolers will benefit from college. As successful as he is, even Kobe Bryant might have benefited from attending college. LeBron James has been dominant from the outset, but has yet to reach an NBA Final, seven years into his career. Could he have learned something about winning and mental toughness from going to college? We will never know, but perhaps.

The NBA doesn't need the next Kwame Brown, and I hope every big man thinking about going pro before he is ready realizes the mistake he could be making.

Thanks again for your comments.

Mike


HoopBot profile image

HoopBot 6 years ago from Internet

Do you think Vince Carter and Andrew Bynum (even LeBron James) would have been more successful if they did?


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

HoopBot, thanks for stopping by. You pose an interesting question, and while the answer is yes, the reasons might be different for the folks you mentioned.

I believe Vince Carter spent a couple years at North Carolina, but they weren't enough. Sometimes you just can't help people.... Carter's problem is he does not give consistent effort, especially on defense. He had incredible skills but never relied on them too much and never learned to play hard. If he played as hard as Kobe Bryant, the results might be dramatic.

Andrew Bynum and virtually every post player that went pro out of high school needed to attend college. Kendrick Perkins, Tyson Chandler, Eddy Curry, even Dwight Howard. None of these players ever developed a post game, and probably never will. They relied on physical domination, and it shows in the pro game where other players are able to match them physically. There has never been such a collection of underachieving big men. As good as Dwight Howard is, he is not viewed in the same way as David Robinson, Patrick Ewing or Hakeem Olajuwon because he doesn't have an offensive game.

Now, LeBron James is an interesting story. Remember when he bolted to Miami and the Cavs owner accused him of giving up in the playoffs? I don't think he gave up, I just don't think James learned how to become a winner. You usually learn that in college, or in the pros playing with someone who has learned what it takes to be successful. Kobe Bryant might not be winning titles today if he didn't learn to win while playing with Shaquille O'Neal. James has not yet played with someone who understands what it takes to win (I can't yet decide if teaming with an aging Shaq counts), but he now has that chance teaming with Dwayne Wade.

Anyone defending a player's "right" to go pro out of high school might say I can't back up these opinions with evidence, and they would be right. There's no way to prove in a definitive way that anyone would be better if they went to college before going pro. I base my opinions on what I observe watching the games, and they are only my opinions. In many instances, however, I am sure college would have helped a player succeed.

Thanks for your questions, I appreciate them.

Mike


LakeShow T profile image

LakeShow T 6 years ago

Outstanding article Mike! I think you covered all the bases on this topic. I was glad when the NBA instituted this rule, but I think they need to take it a little further and require a player to be two years removed from high school to enter the NBA for many reasons. There are so many talented kids who went straight to the NBA after high school thinking they were going to cash in. They did so in the short run but lost millions in the long run because they just were not ready for the NBA and being a grown up. Of course there are always exceptions like Kobe, LeBron, and KG who have built Hall of Fame caliber careers, but I think you're point that even they could have used some time in college was spot on. Especially in Kobe Bryant's case, considering he began his career hot-dogging around the league and shooting airballs to get his team eliminated from the playoffs. He could have used the year or two of college to mature, as you illustrated in the article.

I also believe you are spot on about the benefits to the college game. I used to be a devoted college basketball fan. Before KG came out of high school in 1995, nearly all the star players remained in school for four years. As a result, there were so many recognizable players who built their names and legacies up in college; college basketball had that star power that you alluded to, which made it easier to follow. It was just so much more interesting. Nowadays, there are no more recognizable players because they leave for the NBA Draft the second they begin to build that star power.

It is so great to see the success that a player like Darren Collison had in his NBA rookie season. Collison was one of the rare star players to stay in school for four years and develop on the court and as a person. It obviously helped him become NBA ready as he averaged 19 pts, 9 asts, 3.5 rebs, 49%FG, 85 FT, 1.5 stls, 1 blk in the 37 games he started as a rookie this past season. He is a quintessential example of what 4 years of college can do for a player.

Once again, outstanding article Mike!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Lakeshow T, thanks for reading. I agree completely that the NBA should extend their rule to make a player two years removed from his high school graduation to enter college. The influences of agents will become more pervasive as the "one and done" players prepare for what they see as their professional destiny. The players will continue to mature and work on their games in ways they don't get to as a pro.

For example, as good as Dwight Howard is, he has virtually no post moves on offense. Had he gone to college, he would likely have been as good an offensive player as he is a defensive star. Seven or eight years into his career, it is doubtful he will ever gain the offensive skill sets needed to be considered an all-time great.

I am still convinced Kobe Bryant might have been a better player today if he had gone to college. As great as he is, his early years were hardly stellar. He would have learned lessons about teamwork and leadership that it took him a decade to figure out as a pro. He might have been better than Michael Jordan if he had also gone to North Carolina. For every LeBron James there are two or three Gerald Green types. For every Kevin Garnett, there is a Korleone Young.

Darren Collison is an outstanding example of a player who actually used college to prepare himself for the NBA. He knew it wasn't just about dunks and three-pointers, and he crafted himself into a terrific all-around player. Would three years on an NBA bench give him the same chance to improve his game? It isn't likely.

Thanks so much for your comments, I greatly appreciate your stopping by.

Mike


LakeShow T profile image

LakeShow T 6 years ago

Great discussion there Mike! Thanks for your reply to my comments.

First, although I do think Dwight Howard could have benefited from college (just as 98% of the others who skipped college could have) I am not sure he would have developed a post game more so than he has done in the NBA. Obviously, he has shown little post game up to this point in his career, but also keep in mind that he has been working with Hall of Fame Center Patrick Ewing for much of his career and that has yet to pay major dividends. As I get a bit off topic now, We'll see what happens now that he has worked with Hakeem Olajuwon a little this Summer. Hakeem, in my opinion, had the best post moves in history. Kobe also worked with Hakeem last year. Sometimes even great players/athletes like Howard never develop certain skills. I don't think anything he would have learned in college would have trumped what he has learned from some of the mentors he has had.

Second, as one of the biggest Kobe Bryant fans around who is not from L.A., I will say that I could not agree with the points you articulated any more about Kobe and how he could have benefited from college. Now, you alluded to how he could have prospered from going to North Carolina. If I am not mistaken, his first choice was Duke if he were to have gone to college. That is why him and Coach K have such a great relationship. Imagine the Team and leadership skills that he could have developed under coach K, much like you pointed out in regard to him with UNC. That was definitely a great point you made.

Third, you are exactly right about how there are far more busts than there are success stories for players who skipped college. You are also right about the agents' influence. What a shame that is.

Finally, you could not be more right about Collison. Like I said in my initial reply, he is such a great example. Even though the one-and-done rule is okay (but needs to be better) just look at the first round of the last few NBA drafts. How many Seniors have been drafted in the first round? Very, very few. Nowadays, it is almost like it is perceived that a player who remains in college more than two years has some kind of flaw as a player that makes them unattractive. Another good example of that is Stephen Curry. He played 3 years at Davidson and had a spectacular career there. Yet, very few experts and/or teams projected him as a good NBA player and therefore he fell in the draft. He had an outstanding rookie season as well and I attribute much of that to his college experience.

Anyways, great job once again!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

LakeShow T, thanks for coming back. I just threw out North Carolina randomly to compare Kobe with Jordan. Had he attended Duke, the result would have been the same. Kobe would have learned how to become a good teammate and sacrifice for the team--something it took him a decade to figure out as a Laker.

I saw where Dwight Howard was working with Hakeem Olajuwon and I hope it helps him. I have nothing against Howard personally, and the better he can become as a player, the more enjoyable he will be to watch play. I can't help but think that a week or two with Olajuwon won't make much difference, especially since Patrick Ewing is already an Orlando assistant. Had he gone to college and worked for a few years with coaches skilled in developing big men, he would be much better off. I'm not convinced NBA players will put in the time each and every day to improve their game--I just don't think the opportunity is there with all the travel. There's more time to work on your moves in a 30 game season than an 82 game season.

This is not true only for Dwight Howard--it also goes for Tyson Chandler, Andrew Bynum, Kendrick Perkins, and most of the other centers in the NBA. It is even more relevant to guys like Eddy Curry and Kwame Brown, who should have been successful but were not. Most NBA centers don't have a game, and I truly believe a big reason for this is they didn't go to college and learn to play. They come to the league with size but no skills.

There are no guarantees, of course. Emeka Okafor and Hakeem Thabeet have demonstrated that going to college will not guarantee success, but the lack of skilled big men in the NBA could be solved if these guys went to college.

Your remarks about Collison and also Stephon Curry are right on. I do believe the NBA is well served by weeding out guys that prove in college that they weren't as good as originally believed, but folks like Collison and Curry are hurt by the NBA perception that a player who goes to college for three or four years somehow has less potential than a player who comes out after one or two seasons. It makes me even crazier to see college juniors and seniors contribute immediately to an NBA team while a kid who can't wait to get to the NBA will sit on the bench for two or three seasons. In this regard, I wish the NBA would wake up and see that a 21 year-old can have as much of an upside as a 19-year old.

Well, I guess I've rambled enough about the benefits of attending college. I appreciate your coming back and I've enjoyed reading your take on this issue. Thanks again--come back anytime.

Mike


Adam 6 years ago

I mostly agree, but Shaq elp LeBron? Wat kinda crack are you smokin fool?


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Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Just because LeBron was good enough to go pro out of high school doesn't mean he should be allowed to. Shaq went to college and it didn't hurt him. Not smoking crack at all, Adam--just speaking the truth.

Mike


scholarshipsformo 6 years ago from California

I agree with the post fully. Without that college education there will be nothing to fall back on after their knee goes out on them


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Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

scholarshipsformo, you're abosolutely right. There are no guarantees in athletics, and an athletes dream can end in a split-second. Everyone should have something to fall back on.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mike


Bent 5 years ago

What's the point of one year of college? If they going to make you go to college it should be for the right reason and get a college education. So they should make you stay all four years.


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Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Bent, I agree with you that the correct reason to go to college would be for an education, and I think the NBA wouldn't mind mandating that if they thought they could. For the NBA, one year of college allows them to evaluate talent based on at least a little more than AAU games played in the summer. It allows them to weed out guys that can't play before they sign them on "potential". For the player, it is an opportunity to grow and mature. You may not get a degree, but you might be more ready physically and emotionally waiting a year before trying to go pro. These might not be the right reasons to go to college, but the one year does help.

Personally, I think they should stay all four years, also.

Mike


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SportsInfo247 5 years ago from Arizona

Mike, I am going to have to disagree with you on this one. Although I do feel it would benefit all athletes to attend college, I don't think it should be mandatory, and here's a few reasons why. Take a look at some of the other sports in the world and you will see athletes as young as 12-14 competing at the highest level possible, even though they are not considered professionals. For example, the best gymnasts are typically younger, and by the time they are 19-20, they are has-beens. The same is true for most swimmers, divers, tennis players and athletes in other sports as well. Skateboarding, snowboarding and many of the X-Game sports now feature many 14, 15, & 16 year old professionals. I'm not advocating that it is necessarily good, but all of these exceptional athletes should have the right to turn pro without attending some sort of schooling. There are many athletes turning pro that are bypassing high school these days, and if you want to start talking about the entertainment industry, that's another issue. Actors and musicians all turn pro whenever they have the ability to do so.

Secondly, you are making a huge assumption that every good athlete decides when they turn pro. It's not the athlete that decides when they can play in the NBA, it's the owners of the NBA Teams that are drafting these kids. If the kid doesn't get drafted, they are not going pro, no matter what age. In the NBA, there are only 60 basketball players total each year that are drafted into the league, that's it. You act like there are hundreds of high school basketball players drafted into the NBA each year. Perhaps NBA owners shouldn't be drafting on potential, especially if history proves that it doesn't work. I agree with you about the guaranteed contracts, and also agree that if the player is good enough to be drafted out of high school, they will probably be good enough to be drafted after one year of college, but there are opportunities that may be missed. Look at some of the football players that have a great year in college, perhaps even a Heisman Trophy year, but they can't be drafted into the NFL because of their rules. Then the next year, they get hurt, or just don't have as good a year as their previous year. The opportunity they have lost by not having the ability to turn pro when they were the most wanted/productive may cost some of these kids millions if not tens, or hundreds of millions of dollars. I am sure if you had an opportunity to make that kind of money, you wouldn't want someone to deny you that right. It's not the kids fault, it's the league's fault for paying unproven teenagers multi-millions when they know they are not ready, although some have done just fine.


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Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Sportsinfo, thanks for stopping by. We will respectfully disagree on this topic, because I am convinced the NBA has been ruined by high school and one-and-done players that can't wait to get to the league. If teens seem ready to play in the NBA now, it is because far fewer players possess the skills players from other eras possessed.

Any sport that contains physical contact (basketball, football, hockey) should wait for kids to mature physically. The sports you cite as examples of teens being ready are ALL non-contact sports. Kids are spending the time bulking up in the weight room to compete--30 years ago, you worked on your game to compete.

What does it mean for a player to miss out on big bucks if he doesn't have as productive a junior year as he did as a sophomore? If it means he wasn't as good as he might have appeared, does he still deserve the money? If so, why? If he gets hurt, well--a construction worker or truck driver or even a lawyer could fall and hurt themselves and jeopardize their career. They have no guarantees, and no one thinks teen lawyers should stalk court rooms to ensure they make all the money they can.

Most importantly, the colleges teach players how to play and win. The NBA sees that, and that's why they want their players to attend college. It should be seen as a job requirement--learn the skills you need FIRST. The current model of drafting kids when they are most wanted is not when they are most productive, unfortunately.

Final point--you're right, only 60 players a year are drafted, not hundreds. How many one-and-done players apply for the NBA draft each year? How many high school players applied, five years ago? Enough to fill the draft. These players don't know they're not ready. And, they aren't. They are not ready physically, mentally or emotionally.

I appreciate and respect your comments, my friend. You clearly know your sports. As I said, we will have to respectfully agree to disagree here. Thanks again.

Mike


Husky1970 5 years ago

Great hub, Mike. I am in complete agreement with you. The parity in college basketball is greater than ever because the power programs utilize the one-and-dones or other early departures while many of the mid-major programs are developing 4-year players with much more maturity. I hope the selection committee recognizes the parity and takes a few extra teams form 2nd tier conferences this year rather than go deeper in the power conferences. I am an ACC fan but don't think they deserve more than 3 bids. Same with the Big Ten. Princeton and Harvard should both be selected but that won't happen. There are many other examples of regular season champions in some of these leagues who might not get in if there is an upset in their conference tournament. Reward teams with juniors and seniors over 5th and 6th place teams from power conferences.


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Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Husky, thanks for your insights. I agree--let more of the mid-majors into the NCAA Tournament. Why should anyone advocate for the ninth placed team in ANY conference? Teams should rise above the parity and distinguish themselves if they are able.

I have sometimes advocated that no more than four teams from any conference should be allowed into the NCAA Tournament. That would make conference play much more meaningful and give mid-majors a legitimate opportunity to make the field of 64 (oops, I mean 68....

Well, Selection Sunday is once again fast approaching. Should be fun. Take care.

Mike

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