Fixing the NBA and College Basketball Isn’t Difficult

I love basketball. I love to play and I love to watch, though I will admit I’ve done much more watching lately than playing. I am a fan of the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA and the Longhorns in every sport, but I’ll watch pretty much any game.

I, like many others, am growing tired of the poor play, especially in college, and the lack of name awareness. Too many players come out of college after only one year, some not even starting in college. They come to the NBA needing to learn the game and having an inflated opinion of their own talents. It’s bad for the NBA and it’s bad for the college game. I don’t think anyone would say the two leagues are better today than they were before the huge influx of high school seniors which led to the compromise of forcing these players to go to college for a year.

So here is my solution. Adopt the MLB rules. In baseball a player can be drafted directly out of high school and go straight to the big leagues, though most end up spending a few years, and some a career, in the minor leagues. However, a player can opt to go to college if they want. If they step on the college campus for the first day of classes, the MLB team that drafted them loses the rights and the player can be drafted again, but only after three years. This means a player in college won’t be hounded about a decision each year until after their junior year. They have time to be a college student. This is never a bad option in my opinion. They can develop as a player and the college gets a player for at least three years.

I believe this system can be implemented in the NBA because of the new developmental league. If a player wants to go straight to the NBA but isn’t physically or mentally ready to play against grown men, they can be put on a developmental team and the drafting team keeps the rights to them. However, if the player wants to play in college they will have to stay three years and will have a chance to become a good player. The college game gets to keep talent for a longer period of time and the nation learns who the best players are by name. The NBA is better off getting a player who has proven their worth and gained recognition in college. Instead of going from a year of college to a year sitting on an NBA bench, they get a player who has become a household name and is now seeing the court everyday in the league. The college game is so much better when you have teams of talented juniors and seniors playing each other than when you have talented freshmen and sophomores playing each other.

No doubt there are some players who can go straight to the NBA and play right out of high school. But most of those who think they can, they really can’t. Why burden colleges with kids who have no interest in education, who are just playing by the rules and waiting on the draft. Many of these kids don’t even go to class their second semester because they have no intention of being around for the second fall.  Some might discover the benefit of being in class and many will be better off later in life because they stuck with school.  But those who don’t want the benefit of college or who want to go to work right out of high school can take that route.

Nothing spiritual here, just wisdom.

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