Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Are They Ready?

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Are They Ready?


In 15, Scotty Thurman was one of the best players in the NCAA. Thurman led the Arkansas Razorbacks to a NCAA championship with one great game after another. After his best season he decided that he would change his fate. Rather then come back for his senior year and to get his college degree, he decided to put his name into the NBA draft. He thought that with a championship under him that he was ready to play in the NBA, but others didn’t think so. As the draft began the only thing that Thurman could do was sit back and watch the whole draft from the being to the end. Nowadays, Thurman finds himself without a degree and is still trying to fulfill his dream, on a minor league basketball team.


Thurman is only one example of terrible events that happens to young prospects trying to enter the NBA. Fame and fortune often leads these young adults to pass up great opportunities to go to top-notch universities on a full scholarship. Athletic scholarships give student athletes the chance to receive a college education and also to compete on a collegiate level. NCAA basketball allows athletes to develop on a mental and physical toughness. The skills that are learned in the college atmosphere go well beyond just the basketball court. But still each year anywhere from 4 to 5 athletes prematurely decide to declare themselves eligible for the NBA draft (NBA.com). But by not completing a higher education most of the futures of these athletes is severely limited. Despite the odd of all the failures, the influx of early entry into the NBA draft still is rising and will most like continue.


Marcus Fizer, was a standout junior at Iowa State University, and made his thoughts clear on college basketball when he announced that he will forgo his senior year of eligibility to enter the NBA. That’s what college basketball is all about, hearing David Stern (the commissioner of the NBA) call your name (Kinder 00). Fizer basically implied the college basketball was simply a stepping-stone on the way to the professionals. Statements like those illustrate how the game of basketball was changed in a dramatic way from a competitive sport to a business. In the old days basketball consisted of athletes competing intensely just for the love of the game. But now the smell of all the dollar bills and the glory of the dunks seem to be the motivation factor that influences the athletes in my generation.


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Something positive can be taken from the precedents Thurman and Frizer both you can include started a college education and made positive contributions to the game. Each year the number of high school athletes that go directly to the NBA increase. In the recent years, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett have become household names with huge contracts. Both of them have risen to stardom after making the jump directly from high school. With all of the hype surrounding these success stories, little is mentioned about those not so fortunate. Like Garnett, Ronnie Fields attended Farragut Academy. In 17 Fields attempted to follow Granetts path to the NBA rather than accept a scholarship from a major university. Fields was not drafted and is not currently involved with any organized basketball (NBA.com). High school athletes need to realize that the fame of Bryant and Garnett are rare exceptions in professional basketball and their successes may never be duplicated.


Teens entering the NBA not only find it physically difficult, but it places a great deal of mental stress on the individuals as well. The young athletes that do make it into the NBA usually struggle early in their careers. Even David Stern, the commissioner of the NBA believes the number of teens trying the NBA is getting out of hand. Stern and the rest of the league have considered new rules placing an age limit on the entrance to the league (Decorum, 00). A rule of this sort would benefit both the NBA and the NCAA. The NBA would receive players with a higher level of maturity and better unerdstanding of the game. With underage athletes unable to test the NBA waters, NCAA basketball may once again become a place where the top athletes come to compete.


Until professional basketball officially passes a minimum age rule, young athletes will continue to take the risk of jumping to the NBA early. It is hard for any young person to turn down the opportunity to make millions. Sadly, athletes are often encouraged to go after the money before they are fully prepared. Family, friends, and mostly importantly, agents might influence a high school or college star. Sports agent are now involved with talent at every phase of the game. Sport agents not only guide athletes with contract negations, but also steer them towards a university of choice (Forde, 00). Financial gain is usually placed ahead of the athlete’s future when making important decisions. Star players with little money are usually vulnerable to agents and find it hard to turn down the temptations that an agent brings. By stopping agents from reaching athletes at a young age, the rate of student athletes that graduate would increases greatly.


When discussing the future of big name basketball players at any level, it is important to rememder that there are real lives involved. All too often athletes are seen only for what they do on the court. The people who influence the decisions made by these young adults need to consider what is best for individual’s future, not their athletic performance. Athletes that choose to take advantage of their position and receive a degree will be rewarded in the end. Shane Battier, a returning senior for the Duke Blue Devils, seems to have his priorities straight, for a 1 year old to pass up millions, but in the end, it’s the right thing. Talent alone is not enough to survive in the NBA or any other profession. Success requires knowledge and character to make the right decision in life. The money offered by the NBA will always be a possibility, but the pride gained by earning a degree is something that will last a lifetime.


Work cited


Decorum, Mike. A New College Trend Returning for Senior Year. The Sporting News


March 00.


Forde, Pat. Love Him or Hate Him, Bearups a Player. Home Page. 1 Mar. 00


ESPN. http//espn.go.com/ncb/columns/forde_pat/410.html


Kinder, Dave. Jump Through Hoops? College Sham Continues. The Sporting News


April 001


Mark David. Florida Cracks Down On Corrupt Agents. Associated Press 5 Apr.00.


http//dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/000405/sp/fb_sports_agents_1.html


NBA.com. Early Entry Candidate History. Home Page.


http//www.nba.com/news/early_entry_history.html


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