©01 The Media Desk
High School Players in the NBA?
Oh yes, and more all the time.
The Bull's locker room would have more use for pimple cream than for Ben-Gay. And the Wizards... Prep Academy robbing? A High School Player as the top overall pick in the 2001 draft? Come on Mr. Jordan.
It was bad enough when college Juniors and even some Sophomores jumped ship. Skipping their Upperclass years to go make the big money the NBA offered.
Unfortunately, more often than not, these youngsters didn't always pan out for long term careers.
In fact, more often, they went down to injuries or misbehavior than they were voted MVP.
Now the National Basketball Association is actively recruiting kids, and that's the word, kids (even if one of them, Curry, is 6-11), to come out of high school, skip college altogether and go Pro.
Give an 18 year old high school kid... some without even a diploma in their pocket yet... somewhere in the neighborhood of two and a half million dollars a year, or more for a top round draft pick with a good agent, and turn him loose in a major city such as DC or Chicago, and what do you expect?
The Desk doesn't hold out much hope for this year's crop of teenage rookies.
Some of them may see some playing time, but for most, they'll be benchwarmers, maybe get some time on the practice squad, and then, well. Maybe the Continental Basketball League will need a few good players.
Sure they were All Universe in High School. OK, yeah. But that is a totally different game, with different rules, and how many games?
The NBA runs from Now through... well, sometime around the Fourth of July. When High School is having its tourney, the NBA hasn't even seen its all star break yet.
The NBA game is physical, rough. In High School if you go up to block a shot and loosen somebody's teeth, it's a major penalty and you'll spend the rest of the season on the bench. If not at home watching the games on local access cable. In the Pro's if you DON'T... you will be.
There are college players that say they can't keep up with the more rigorous Pro schedule. City hopping, living out of a suitcase for a month on end. Sleeping in airports and trying to keep track of... "If we're playing the Knicks it must be Thursday."
No the NBA isn't rocket science... But then again. For the Money they get paid, we EXPECT a team of good players, if not Great players. No, not every kids that laces on his sneaks is going to turn into a Larry Bird, if they did, we couldn't appreciate a true talent like Dr. J or even the player Iverson became over the course of a season.
It isn't fair to judge every NBA player against Kareem, or even Shaq. And one headliner per team is plenty. Who needs five superstars on the floor when one will get you into the playoffs. Besides, how many locker rooms are big enough for three or four of those egos. And how many Penny Hardaway's can one city take before they beg the owner to move the team to Montana?
That's why the teams take the chance on the young players.
Sure. It's worth a shot for the team to pay some kid the bare minimum with the outlook that maybe, just maybe, he'll turn into the next Pistol Pete.
But is it fair to the kid? To pay him next to nothing compared to what the older, college age, players can command as a more MATURE player, with more floor time and maybe national playoff experience. Then to burn him, and his still growing knees, out in a couple of years and cut him loose?
If the NBA was serious about fostering the development of the college game and to guaranteeing their crop of new talent on an ongoing basis, they'd forbid the drafting of High School players. Or at least insist that said players have GRADUATED from high school.
Yes. Graduated. There is no reason to draft a High School Junior.... No reason.