Now is the time top Division I college basketball freshmen are making a decision on whether they are going to enter the NBA draft or stay in college.
From Kentucky’s seven frosh to Syracuse’s freshman point guard, freshmen must decide if it is to their benefit to enter the draft.
Many factors have to be taken into consideration. Players cannot enter the NBA draft until after their freshman year in college. There can no longer be a Kobe Bryant or a Moses Malone, who both went to the NBA right out of high school.
Some of these top freshmen go to college knowing they are going to enter the NBA draft and use Division I basketball like a baseball player uses a Triple-A farm team.
Players try to go directly to the NBA for the bigger contracts and try to avoid being sent to the NBA Development League.
Many top picks do not want to risk the chance of injury by staying another year in college and a million-dollar contract is more alluring than a college scholarship.
That financial security is perhaps the biggest reason for entering the NBA draft after one season in college, but are they really ready for the NBA and will they make an immediate impact?
They are usually just 19 years old and it is hard enough going against college seniors who have matured physically and mentally. There will be many NBA players who also have 10-15 years of pro basketball. A freshman’s future in the NBA is unknown at the time they sign their big contracts.
However, I can understand their decision to enter the draft because of the financial security.
Perhaps what these freshmen need is insurance to protect their financial futures.
Maybe the NCAA should consider allowing colleges to insure prospective top lottery picks as part of a player’s scholarship package after their freshman years.
If the schools pay for this insurance, it could encourage these top freshmen to stay another year or two because their financial futures might be protected if they are injured in college.
It can be ascertained at the end of the season whether a freshman is a top NBA prospect and whether schools should provide insurance funds.
What happens to those that enter the draft not knowing where they really stand and then are a very low draft pick or not drafted? What happens if they get cut after their contract expires?
Their options may be the NBA Development League, returning to finish their degrees or playing pro ball in Europe. If they had stayed in school, then they had a college degree to fall back on. Some seniors, such as Doug McDermott of Creighton, made this decision and is now also facing a million-dollar NBA contract.
Conversely, Kentucky has made a decision to sign these one-and-done wonders each year and right now it looks like his program has found a winning solution that pays off for the colleges, coaches, players. and fans. They have also signed four of the 22 high school players that played in the national McDonald’s High School All-Star Game.
Hopefully, the college freshmen will receive some good guidance from family, friends and coaches before deciding if they should become another stat in the one-and-done category.