Here we go again
Marcus Henry | 4/12/2011, 4:39 p.m.
With the NBA and the players union set to begin negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement, expect to read and hear a lot more on the subject of high school players being allowed to go straight to the NBA.
Let's get one thing straight here. High school basketball players are allowed to skip college and play pro ball. They just can't go to the NBA. They can go over seas, sit out a year or even play in one of the lesser leagues such as the CBA, USBL.
Rumor has it a two-year rule may be on the bargaining table. I have problems with that. Just like I have problems with the one-year rule and just like I have an issue with high school players opting to skip college.
I know, it sounds like I'm coming down on both sides of the fence. To be honest, I am. And I freely admit that.
The problem I have with a two-year rule is that there are some players who are so talented, they don't need to go to college. At least not to improve their game. LeBron James, Dwight Howard and Derek Rose are prime examples of that. All three had big impacts on their teams in their rookie seasons.
You also have Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Tracy McGrady. But it took them three years to establish themselves as stars. They could've spent some of that time winning national championships and having a ton of fun in college. The same goes for Jermaine O'Neal. He languished on the bench with Portland for four years before blossoming in Indiana.
That notwithstanding, if a player is that talented, he should by all means make the jump. To tell a player you have only one choice: go to college for two years or nothing is wrong.
There is a flip side to players skipping college. Leon Smith, Lenny Cooke and Korleone Young are players who skipped college and had little or nor impact in the NBA. Portland's Martell Webster is another example. He's still in the NBA, but has done little, averaging 8.1 points in four years with the Trailblazers. New York's own Sebastian Telfair made the jump, too. Although he has found a niche as a quality backup point guard, he's not the star some thought he would be.
Now for my issues with the one-year rule.
The one-year rule has become an issue as colleges have opted to break the rules to get the blue chip recruits to play for them for one year. Tim Floyd resigned as USC coach amid accusations of payoffs to O.J. Mayo. Memphis is in trouble because it has been alleged that Rose didn't take his SAT.
Furthormore kids who have already decided to make the jump after their freshman year aren't even going to classes in the second semester, which totally makes the idea that they are student athletes a fraud.
The system is certainly flawed, but here's a solution.
Do what baseball does. A high school players has several options. He can to go to a four-year school, but must stay for at least three years before he can become eligible for the MLB draft. He can go to a two-year school and be eligible after the second year. Or he can skip school altogether and enter the draft.
In the NBA's case, a player should get the following options: You can go to college, but you have to stay for two years. Or you can go pro right out of high school. Everyone should have a choice.