By John Loop
After Syracuse’s sixth man sophomore point guard Dion Waiters declared early for the NBA draft, I stopped to think about the reason that collegiate athletes choose to explore their professional prospects after only one or two years at their university.
I came to the conclusion that these soon-to-be superstars are leaving college early because…
They just want to.
I can understand that the money factor plays a large part in their decision, especially since most of these players (we think) aren’t being paid to go head to head against talent-stacked teams. University of Kentucky super-frosh Anthony Davis will most likely be a Charlotte Bobcat this summer, and will probably get a somewhat size-able contract.
I can also understand if its a lifelong dream to put on a Lakers, Celtics, Bulls, or Knicks jersey every night. Even though most rookies don’t get a large portion of playing time.
Every year, there are teams like Davis and the Wildcats, or Roy Willams’ Tar Heels, who lose at least two or three athletes to the NBA draft.
Yes, some people would argue that some of the NBA’s brightest and most prolific stars have taken the one-and-done path. The Thunder’s Kevin Durant, the Bulls’ Derrick Rose, and the Wizards’ John Wall (also another Kentucky one-and done product) are helping fill seats in arenas around the league.
Take the Draft Class of 2010, for example.
Wall, DeMarcus Cousins (now with the Sacramento Kings), Daniel Orton (Magic), and Eric Bledsoe (Clippers) were all off board within the top 20.
All were Wildcats.
The University of Texas Longhorns lost integral pieces of their team in sophomore Jordan Hamilton and freshmen Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson, three key players in UT’s NCAA tournament run until a third round loss to an Arizona team led by sophomore Derrick Williams, 2011’s number two overall pick.
Are we starting to see a theme here?
Younger talent dominating in clutch moments. Williams made a baseline jumper to send ‘Zona to the Sweet Sixteen.
Just yesterday, North Carolina’s power trio of John Henson, Harrison Barnes, and Kendall Marshall declared for the NBA Draft. The conversation now shifts to the holes that their veteran leadership has left behind.
Kentucky will be a major player in the Final Four this weekend. I have them as my champion in my bracket. I just wish that the Wildcats would just quit making the Elite Eight to prove that the one-and-done rule doesn’t govern college basketball.