Time for the NBA to make a change

It is about time that the National Basketball Association does something about player eligibility.

It is clear that undergraduates do not want to be apart of a dynasty and play all four years in college. Instead, they would rather play one year and then turn pro as the current eligibility rules require them to do.

Why can’t players just turn pro after graduating from high school? The athletes would have the opportunity to sink or swim at the professional level, while the players who actually want to play college basketball and get an education will be able to play at a more prestigious school in a better conference and in front of more people.

There have been success stories for players who opted to go pro.

Players that skipped college

Year Drafted Player Career Stats
1974 (ABA) Moses Malone 20 PPG; 12 RPG
1995 Kevin Garnett 18 PPG; 6 RPG
1996 Kobe Bryant 25 PPG; 5 RPG; 5 APG
2003 LeBron James 27 PPG; 7 RPG; 7 APG

There have also been some disasters. Though some of the flops played many seasons in the NBA, they never quite prospered like they were supposed to.

Players that flopped

Year Drafted Player Career Stats
2000 Darius Miles 8 Seasons; 10 PPG
2001 Kwame Brown 13 Seasons; 6 PPG; 5 RPG
2004 Robert Swift 4 Seasons; 10 PPG; 4 RPG
2004 Sebastian Telfair 12 Seasons; 7 PPG; 3 APG

*Stats courtesy Basketball-Reference.com 

If players decide to play for the NCAA, they should be required to play for at least three years like in the NFL.

If the NBA did this all parties involved would benefit from the change.

  • The NBA would be able to draft franchise players at a much younger age if players come out of HS.
  • Players that go to college will get a chance to learn from another quality coach before going to the pros.
  • The NCAA would be able to exploit players for more than one season.
  • The men’s college game would become even more competitive thus creating a better product.

Respected college head coaches opinions:

“College is not for everybody. So if a kid doesn’t want to go to college, let him go to the pros. Let him go into the [D-League]. And if someone does want to go to college, let them go. We’re still going to have great basketball teams,” Rick Pitino said.

“Major League Baseball has the best idea of all. Three years before they’ll take a kid out of college, then they have a minor league system that they put the kids in. I’m sure that if the NBA followed the same thing, there would be a lot of kids in a minor league system that still were not good enough to play in the major NBA,” Bobby Knight.

Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed seeing Kentucky season. I believe that John Calipari is a creative virtuoso in the field of recruiting. You deserve to go to the Final Four every year whenever you can build a new program with that high of a turnover. Conversely, wasn’t college basketball better with group of recognizable players? You will never forget the Fab Five or Phi Slama Jama.

There are arguments for both side of this issue, but any system has to better than the one they are currently operating under.

Photo: Getty Images

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