Blog Entry

NBA Playoffs dominated by non-college players

Posted on: May 18, 2009 10:59 am

Anybody who reads here much knows that -- though I loved writing about Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley and Tyreke Evans -- I think the NBA's age-limit rule preventing high school players from jumping directly to the NBA is ridiculous, and that those who pretend college basketball is necessary to prepare prospects are either stupid, naive or blind to all the information suggesting otherwise.

Which brings me to these NBA Playoffs.

We are now down to the final four teams, and the leading scorer for those four teams - Kobe Bryant of the Lakers, Carmelo Anthony of the Nuggets, LeBron James of the Cavs and Dwight Howard of the Magic -- combined to play a grand total of one season of college basketball. Furthermore, none of the top three regular-season scorers from the Lakers (Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum) or Magic (Howard, Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu) played a minute of college basketball, and none of the remaining contenders' top three scorers from the regular season did more than two years of college.

Now look at it this way ...


  • Kobe Bryant: Zero years of college
  • Pau Gasol: Zero years of college
  • Andrew Bynum: Zero years of college
  • Carmelo Anthony: One year of college
  • Chauncey Billups: Two years of college
  • J.R. Smith: Zero years of college
  • LeBron James: Zero years of college
  • Mo Williams: Two years of college
  • Zydrunas Ilgauskas: Zero years of college
  • Dwight Howard: Zero years of college
  • Rashard Lewis: Zero years of college
  • Hedo Turkoglu: Zero years of college
Add it up and nine of the 12 leading regular-season scorers (who are currently active) from the Lakers, Nuggets, Cavs and Magic never played college basketball. Six (Bryant, Bynum, Smith, James, Howard and Lewis) went directly from American high schools to the NBA, three (Gasol, Ilgauskas and Turkoglu) are international players, and the other three (Anthony, Billups and Williams) played in college for a combined total of five seasons.

So again, I love college basketball would like to see all the greats play four years.

I'm sure you would, too.

But let's not pretend it's always the best way or even necessary to develop as a player.

Because these NBA Playoffs are clearly suggesting otherwise.
Category: NCAAB

Since: Oct 27, 2006
Posted on: May 20, 2009 9:46 pm

Blake Griffin

I guess Blake Griffin didn't benefit at all by going to college for 2 years.  We don't know what type of pro he will be, but I'm guessing he'll a make about 2 boat loads more money than he would have had he came out last year.

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: May 20, 2009 9:23 pm

NBA Playoffs dominated by non-college players

and you forgot to mention Dwight, Lebron,Kobe, and Carmelo all played for Team USA in the Olympics.

Since: Dec 24, 2008
Posted on: May 20, 2009 9:13 pm

NBA Playoffs dominated by non-college players

Well put Mr. Parrish.

Since: Oct 26, 2008
Posted on: May 20, 2009 2:05 pm

NBA Playoffs dominated by non-college players

Why is everyone busting on Kwame Brown?  So he is not a great NBA basketball player and has not contributed a thing to any team he plays for.  He is set to make 4 million dollars with an option for another four in a follow season in Detroit.  That is about 3.92 million more than I"ll make in the next two years.  All for not being very good at his chosen profession and I'm great at my job.

Since: Feb 24, 2009
Posted on: May 20, 2009 1:33 pm

NBA Playoffs dominated by non-college players

Happy to see that you reply back.  I take back what I said my apolgogy.  I do agree with what you wrote about gm waiting for them to be all-stars.  Lets face it if you were the Cavs you would of been upset to not get your pick the year you had the #1.  Although these high schoolers sould know that there going top 10.  Good to see your comments and in fact the glog is fact and interesting to see that many players with so little college.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: May 20, 2009 1:28 pm

NBA Playoffs dominated by non-college players

>>Oh yes, I'm sure these guys are regretting the jump right now while they lounge around in their big homes with fancy cars in the garage. Please.

You obviously didn't read the SI article a month or so ago which pointed out that 70% of professional basketball players are broke within a year after their career is over.

Why is that?

Well, because they go from high school to the pros, or from a measly 1 year in college, and don't know squat about the real world. They have to get all the bling, and they have to get the posse, and if they don't make it not only is their basketball career over but the money they were given is long gone.

Will they return to college? How can they? No more scholaraship to pay for school, and how many of these guys have the smarts to get a scholarship based on their smarts? Not very many.

Granted, lots of college-educated people can't handle their money properly either....but when an 18-year old kid is suddenly exposed to the bright lights and big city, it is that much more likely that he'll go off the rails, get in wtih the wrong crowd, etc. and ruin his life.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: May 20, 2009 10:31 am

NBA Playoffs dominated by non-college players

>>>Great piece Gary.  Please keep pounding the drum on this issue.  I have not yet seen a convincing argument as to why a kid who is talented enough to get paid well for his talents should be made to go play for free for some large institution. 

Wasn't there an article in Sports Illustrated a month or so ago that pointed out that 70% of all professional basketball players - who make millions and millions of dollars throughout their careers - are broke within a *year* of ending their careers?

So  what do these basketball players do after they're broke, and have no college education to fall back on to get a decent job? Why, they start dealing drugs, etc.

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: May 19, 2009 7:07 pm

GabeWarren - C'mon dude

You implied that for every Kobe, James, etc.. there are busts like"Sebastian Telfair's, Shaun Livingston, Kwame Brown, Darius Miles, etc "

Funny you picked these guys. I'd bet 80% of the NBA guys right now who didn't go to the NBA straight from high school wish they were in these guy's shoes. Oh yes, I'm sure these guys are regretting the jump right now while they lounge around in their big homes with fancy cars in the garage. Please.

The fact is, we all know Basketball is not like football. Kids CAN compete straight out of high school to the NBA. If the teams demand these players and willing to pay them big bucks whether the "experts" think they're ready or not is up to the kid.

Heck I've been following the NBA long enough to have read articles on the experts bashing Jermaine O'neal, Kendrick Perkins, Tracy McGrady, as BUSTS that should've went to college.

We're talking about fairness here. The NCAA and NBA is not fair to these kids and something is going on. I can't believe they're getting away with this practice of discrimination in America. Imagine being denied a job by some organization when the company wants to hire you? That job however, happens to pay very well. This is what we should focus on, not what's good for the NCAA or NBA. If the kids fail, at least they've made a few hundred thousands or can play overseas. If they don't get drafted, heck, they probably do not like school anyway.

Look at DeSagnia Diop, every "expert" said the guy is not ready and he will not make it. Last I remember, he's still in the league and making good money. Even had he not make it for long in the NBA, at least he would've been paid handsomely. That is the goal here. Making money and realizing a dream!

If a kid wants to make money, let him. If he fails, well he's 18, he can find other things to do with his life.

I just don't understand why people can't see this.

I applaud Sonny Vaccaro for advising the kids to go over seas.
Seriously, what is a one year education, NCAA exploitation, and risk being injured without making any money mean to the kid anyway??
Not every kid can afford another year of watching his family struggle financially.

What Sonny is doing is fighting against the unfair practices of the NCAA and NBA by letting them realize how ridilculous their rules are.
Now there's an option for the kids to make money if he doesn't like school. For every kid that goes from High School to Europe is another blow to the NCAA and NBA's injustice.

We're all trying to make it here in America and it's F'd up when a for profit entity think they know better than you about your capabilities.
The players I've mentioned can attest to how wrong these "experts" are a lot of times.

Seriously, name me a kid who didn't get drafted and is homeless or F'd up his life completely?

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: May 19, 2009 6:28 pm

NBA Playoffs dominated by non-college players

A great thread! This is what this site should be about.

I have read all arguments and here is a final thought- all positions have merit but to have Basketball AND College attendance linked (even if it is for one year) is best for all. I agree that too many high schoolers over rate their value. Let them go head to head with other high school standouts in the NCAA so they can accurately assess their chances. And Colleges benefit economically from having superstars in their midst even if it is for one or two years. So I am for the status quo.

Yes it holds back one or two players per year but I will waive that right if several hundred others planned on college back when they were kids.

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: May 19, 2009 6:01 pm

NBA Playoffs dominated by non-college players


clearly you've achieved what you were looking for by writing this article. You got people talking...
The bottom line is that keeping players in for one year is clearly a compromise. So we can rip the idea of 1 year till the end of time. It just doesn't make sense. If 1 year why not 2? (I prefer 2 but that is just me)

And if you want to use 'protecting themselves' as a base of argument then you probably have not stepped back far enough. We aren't really talking about who we are trying to save from themselves... the kids... the school... the team.

The people that are truly being saved are the FANS!

Fans don’t enjoy watching extremely talented players making dumb mistakes... the more organized ball a player can play before going to the big arena on TV makes it a much more enjoyable product to watch.

If you still want to make your point then please illustrate every 'straight from High School' player in the last two decades and let us decide what is good for the product.

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