Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hello Europe

I grew up watching basketball stars like Tracy McGrady, Kevin Garnett, Lebron James, and Kobe Bryant. All great players- yes. One thing that started their careers though is that they never went to college. They went from doing high school math to staring at millions of dollars. Three years ago, the NBA made in mandatory for high school graduates to go to college for at least one year before entering the draft.

As a result, highly talented high school basketball players, while some still went to college, found a way to get the immediate payday they desired. Many of the high school stars are African Americans from tough financial situations, and money for their family can't come soon enough. High school graduates have been going to Europe to play for a year instead of college. They are able to see the world, gain experience, and make some money. Most notably, Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings did this last year. He was drafted 7th overall with many scouts surprised he went so high. Why? Because he only averaged single digits points in Europe league for an entire year. Although athletes make money, many NBA scouts feel like the European game is much different than the NBA, and attribute a lot of European busts, like Darko Milicik, to the game being so different.

However, a trend may be starting. Jennings is averaging over 20 points a game in his first NBA season. He has lead the Bucks to a winning record and proved he was worthy of a 7th pick- thus far. What's alarming is the implications this could have for the NCAA. They are losing talented players to Europe that bring them millions of dollars from advertising college basketball games and the March Madness tournament. What the NBA should do is let college kids go pro after graduating. The NBA claims they're not mature enough. But if you wanna see mature players, check the list at the top of the page. The NBA has brought in many stars from high school. After all, can't 18 year olds make their own adult decisions?

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