Blogtable: College, Age Limits, Choices

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Deciding factor, KD vs. LBJ | Next step after preps | Remembering Nash

VIDEO: Commissioner Adam Silver discusses age limits (6:00 mark) and other topics at All-Star weekend

Your stud high school senior dreams of the NBA. What do you tell him? College? D-League? And what do you say to those who want to raise the age limit?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.comCollege. Easy choice. And here’s how I say it: “Get someone to fund your fallback preparation while still pursuing your dream. You’re not ready yet for the working world, especially one that shreds through wannabes the way the pro sports meritocracy does. If you’re talented enough and get good enough after, yes, at least two years, you might actually be able to give a fair return on the dollars someone will be pushing at you. In the meantime, learn as much as you can in and out of the classroom. Grow up as a player and as an adult. Scrape together a few bucks – your school of choice will have boosters, right? – for an insurance policy on future earnings, if possible, to guard against a major injury. Oh, and go easy on Twitter and Facebook – that stuff can come back to haunt you.”

Fran Blinebury, I still believe there is value in even a limited exposure to a college environment. If and when the NBA D-League raises salaries, guarantees signing bonuses and therefore raises the overall talent level, then my thinking could change. Raising the age limit would definitely help the colleges and would also help the NBA teams on not having to guess so much on potential. But last I checked, this is America with a free-market system and an individual should be able to reap the best price he can get for his talent with no arbitrary restrictions.

Jeff Caplan, NBA.comGo to college, young man. Go play for a marquee coach at a big-name school in front of body-painted student bodies jumping up and down and hollering like mad in hallowed venues across the country. Go get some March Madness and enjoy the camaraderie (even if it is just for one year). The D-League? To play in front of 1,500 people (on a good night) in some cold city via third-rate travel? Nah. As for the age limit, raise it.

Scott Howard-Cooper, Depends on the person. Going to college, even if just for one academic year, is a great experience, and not just in basketball terms. That should always be the first choice. But some people cannot keep up academically. They should not be put in a situation that creates more difficulty, for the student and the school. (And that’s to say nothing of the larger issue of taking away an enrollment spot from someone who can genuinely put it to good use.) The D-League is a worthwhile option. I am against raising the age limit. I get the NBA wanting to protect its product, but getting prospects into the system sooner, not later, will help.

John Schuhmann, NBA.comGo to college, enjoy the experience, go to class, and earn some credits toward the degree that you will eventually earn. I’d have to see the full data on one-and-doners (vs. players with more experience) to determine if it’s still too early to be making decisions on them, but Anthony Bennett might be the poster boy for raising the limit.

Sekou Smith, I wish the NBA Draft straight out of high school was still an option. I’m in favor of any high school graduate being given the freedom to make his own choice, good or bad, about their own future. Because it’s un-American to think of anyone of legal age not being able to choose their own path. But for the best of the very best, I have to agree that going the professional route makes the most sense to me. With all of the constraints that come with collegiate basketball, the idea that a guy could work for free, even for six to eight months, when he could hit the professional ranks immediately just doesn’t make sense. I know people love college hoops. I do, too. But if we’re not going to give kids the option of entering the NBA Draft out of high school and we’re not going to require kids to stay in college for three years (so they could actually mature, surrender themselves to the process in college and prepare themselves for life after basketball in some form or fashion), they need to be allowed to make the same decisions all high school graduates are allowed to make. There’s no guarantee a guy makes it to and lasts in the NBA based solely on whether they attended school or toiled in the D-League.

Lang Whitaker, All Ball blog: Son, I know you think you’re ready to play in the NBA right away, and you maybe even think you’re good enough to play professionally overseas as well. But before you decide, I left a few movies on your Netflix queue that I want you to watch. Yeah, those top three: Hoop Dreams, Lenny Cooke, and the 30 for 30 film, Broke. So go ahead and watch those, and then when you’re done, come on back and talk to me and we’ll sit down and figure out where you’re going to attend college. Well, at least for one year.

Simon Legg, NBA Australia: College. I just like the idea of exposing a young player to crowds and big TV audiences early so they’re not overwhelmed when they come into the league. The NBA can be so daunting for a young player. I’m definitely for raising the age limit and removing the whole ‘one and done’ system. I’d like it to be raised to 21 so we can have young adults with three years in college entering the league consistently.

Philipp Dornhegge, NBA Deutschland: I actually liked the way that Mark Cuban touched on the subject. To me, a proper education is crucial besides being developed as a basketball talent. Because once you come to the NBA you’re simply more than just an athlete, you’re an ambassador of the league and a role model for possibly millions of kids. And if you don’t make it, you should be prepared to be successful otherwise. As of now, colleges appear to be better suited to provide education and character-building than the D-League. However, those capacities aren’t put to use properly, as Cuban rightfully criticized. And the D-League does have the chance to grow into a true personal development league, too. Concerning the age limit: I don’t have a clear preference, as long as education is taken seriously, even in a one-and-done scenario.

XiBin Yang, NBA China: I prefer that kids stay in college. Playing basketball is just one possible way of making a living. That’s not the whole thing of life. You’ve got to take your talent into account. Spending more years in college could make a player more mature, both mentally and physically. There’re more issues than that on the table, and it’s not just a basketball affair. Raising the age limit is a good move, but it seemed not so smart to prevent all kids from joining the pro league earlier. Maybe the league could take some measures to value each player, whether this player has got the ability to stay in the league. If you’ve got the talent, and ready for all things, you get the permit.


  1. riDIRKules says:

    I think that b. jennings made the right decision going to europe to earn professional money. why shuold players go to college for 1 year???? it makes no sense. what do you have from ONE year college? right nothing. you learnd a little and still don´t know nothing the right way. than rather go overseas and earn a lot of money and play with pros.

  2. Cain says:

    The league has shown previous examples where players have jumped from high school straight into the league and had exceptional careers, but for each of those examples there a numerous others that simply faded into the black and failed to achieve their dream.
    Ideally I do think that 2 years in college would give them a better foundation for their lives in case the highly competitive league doesn’t work out. I also understand that further education is not for everyone, which means the d-league would be a better alternative. There is no substitute for life experience but having a better education and fall back plan simply makes sense for everyone, no one can plan for a career ending injury.
    There is no right or wrong answers but simply trying to give all prospects the opportunity to better their lives either through bball or having enough about them to find an alternative career.
    The d-league desperately needs improving to give a more substantial alternative if college isn’t the path.

  3. Shannon says:

    I just heard a statistic that by year 3, most guys are out of the league. It was over 75%, which means most of these guys should have never have been drafted. Why not put in a system where you either do two years college, two years D-League, or two years in Europe or China? Some kids are not cut out for college, and shouldn’t be forced, but it is obvious that most of these kids are coming in to the NBA too early, or GM’s that drafted them didn’t know what they were doing. There should be some exceptions, like for instance if a talent like LeBron or KD comes along, they can come out early. I would love to see the D-League become more robust, more akin to triple A baseball. It allows teams to draft a player, but see how he develops in a smaller arena before bringing him to the majors.

    • mee(a)t says:

      I don’t think there should be exceptions if you see a great potential in an athlete. There are many 1st round picks who were projected to make an impact in the league but either faded away (I’m looking at you Bennett) or injuries screwed them over (Oden, dude from the Knicks but I don’t know how to spell his name…)

  4. Mark says:

    I don’t get the American system.. Do U all really believe that you need to go to University (College) to get a “Proper Education”. U don’t think finishing year 12 at High School gives you that? Crazy!!
    I know many people that completed yr 12 & went on to College.. Besides the 1 or 2 subjects they worked on for 3 or so more years.. what else do they accurately know that I don’t? I worked 4 yrs straight out of H/S at the age of 16, becoming educated in the adult (world) workforce! Do you think I’m uneducated? I know people with degrees from 4 + yrs of Uni & they are not all-wise! For many of us education never stops. Why not potential NBA stars?
    Do you think keeping people with there peers until they are into their 20’s is best education?
    The NBA could make it compulsory for guys straight out of H/S to work on some study/educational projects over the first 2 years of NBA life .. They’ll surely have the time on their hands.
    I’m sure going forward in their lives, they have an advantage to educate themselves in many different fields, an advantage most of use don’t have the time or resources to achieve.

    • Colter says:

      First, I would say your use if homonyms proves that either you need to read more or you could have used further education yourself. But I digress. It really is the system in the US. You are taught from about middle school (grades 6-8) that college should be your goal at the expense of almost all other avenues even though other options may be more feasible or actually better for the person. I think that you shouldn’t limit the opportunities of people that have the talent and capability for anything. In this particular case, look at how successful these “kids” out of high school can be. My examples are Kobe, KG and LeBron. All have won championships and in LeBrons case was very impactful his first year in the league. At 18 these players become adults. Let them make their own decision for better or for worse.

      • kek says:

        Okey, If you have the talent that KG lebron and kobe had in high school, going straight to the nba is not a bad choice, because those guys pretty much knew that they were going to make it, but what about other highschool kids with a much lesser talent, spending 3 years in the legue and then are back on the streets with no education. Athlethes should prefer college and spend 3 or 4 years there to get an propper education, and the product in the nba would be much better, Look at Damien Lillard, the work ethic he has, how he carry himself, he spent 4 years in college, and he wasnt even close to be an nba player when he was a freshman. College works!

      • Desmodeus says:

        Again with the no college = no education thing. What do you think people are acquiring during the 12 years they spend at school before going to college? I can’t speak for the U.S but in Australia if you want to make money as an adult you certainly don’t waste your time going to university, You leave school at 15 and learn a trade. Plumbers make a lot more money than scientists.