Thursday, March 24, 2011

Unraveling of NBA (and college) basketball

The NY Times Magazine writes about the Baylor freshman basketball player who is already an NBA draft prospect: Is it Dunk and Done for Perry Jones?

"In eighth grade, Jones was invited to attend a Baylor University basketball game on the campus in Waco, Tex. He was still a raw player, not widely known and in some ways perfect for the Baylor program, which was not attracting the best of the seasoned prospects.
"Jones declared on the ride home that he had found his school, and soon after, he committed to Baylor, meaning that the team’s coach, Scott Drew, offered him a scholarship and he accepted. It was only a verbal bond, one that could not be officially sealed until he reached his senior year of high school and signed an N.C.A.A. letter of intent, but he never wavered, even as coaches from more-traditional college-basketball powers, including Kansas and U.C.L.A., sent letters to his home.
"But just about everyone assumes that he will be a one-and-done player at Baylor, a pure rental who stays for a single season. That has become the norm for top college players. In fact, in some projections, as many as six of the top 10 picks in this spring’s N.B.A. draft are college freshmen."...
...(Players can no longer enter the N.B.A. straight out of high school, as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and many others did.)
"You might assume that if Jones left school after just one season for the N.B.A., it would be a terrible disappointment to the coaches who recruited him when he was in his early teens — then had to keep in constant contact to make sure no one poached him. (Such vigilance is known as baby-sitting.) But that is not the case. If Jones leaves, it will further validate Baylor’s program and show everyone — the media, potential recruits, influential summer-league coaches who control players and sometimes broker them to colleges — that Baylor is a place that attracts top talent and produces N.B.A. millionaires. It will make it easier for Drew to recruit more players like Jones, who then, of course, also might also leave after one season. "

See my earlier posts Unraveling and uncertainty: The NBA draft, and Another step in the unraveling of the baskeball market about how the rule that players have to be 19 years old and a year out of high school before being drafted by the NBA has caused some players to play a year for European teams.

HT: Scott Cunningham

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