Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine and we were discussing a current college freshman and how there is a good chance that he will finish his one year and enter the NBA Draft. We were both in disagreement, commenting on how he was not ready and needs to develop his game more. Unfortunately, this is a common phenomenon that should be looked at more in-depth.
The most recent, popular one and done situation was last year’s Kentucky team. While not all freshmen, University of Kentucky took a major hit with all five of their starters getting picked up in the 2012 NBA Draft. This turned out to be a good thing for the players, but not so much for Kentucky. They went from national champions to being on the edge of making the NCAA tournament.
Other one and dones include Austin Rivers, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Kevin Love and many more. While it does work out for some guys, there is a question of whether one year in college is good enough or whether college basketball players should be required to spend more time in college. There are pros and cons to each side.
For one, it works out for the players because they get to go into their dream job. I’d venture to say that it is every college athlete’s dream to go pro in their sport of choice. Being able to go after one year in college as opposed to having to wait after four speaks volumes to an athlete’s skills. However, just because you are ready on the court does not necessarily mean that you are ready to become a professional athlete.
One of the main pressures facing young athletes is their age. Although I am still young myself, I know that I have grown as a person in the three years that I have been in college. The average college student is 19 upon completing their freshman year. At that age, you are still immature and finding yourself. This can be a frustrating, confusing time for some. Now, add constantly in the public eye to the mix. That’s a lot of pressure to put on such a young person. The situation is somewhat different, but I am reminded of how Cam Newton was portrayed in this past football season. He was often criticized for his unprofessional behavior during post-game interviews. Newton is older than 19, but he is still young. Even as the season progressed, he admitted that he had some maturing to do and realized that he had to be more professional. There are no rookies in the NBA that have been called out for this kind of behavior, however, I’m sure that many do feel need to go through a maturing process.
With this said, there are some that can make the transition smoothly, so I’m not saying that it is not possible. What I am saying is that not all can do it. There should be a maturation process that takes place.
On the other hand, there are those that stayed and did more than one year in college. For Perry Jones, this hurt his draft pick. In 2011, he was projected to be a lottery pick. Instead of entering the draft, he decided to stay at Baylor for another year. This, in turn, hurt him in the draft. The next year, Baylor did not have a great season, which caused Jones to drop down to 28th overall.
In short, as the old saying goes: “Everything ain’t for everybody.” Just because you are good in a sport (in this case, basketball), does not mean that you can go to the league after one year. You must also be professional and know how to deal with being in the limelight and having more money than you’d have ever imagined. As the regular season is coming to an end and March Madness approaches, I wish all college basketball players good luck and remember that hard work does play off!
One more thing: Congratulations to Baylor Lady Bears on winning the Big 12 Tournament Title. The Lady Bears now prepare for the national tournament. Good luck to all other NCAA women’s teams on preparing, also! March is going to be a very exciting month.