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Monday, June 21, 2010
Beasley advises Pullen on NBA draft

By Eamonn Brennan

You can be forgiven if that headline makes you cringe. After all, if you're a young player on the cusp of entering the NBA, the last person you probably want to take life advice from is former Kansas State one-and-done star Michael Beasley. K-State fans would probably prefer star guard Jacob Pullen remove Beasley's number from his phone. But bear with me, Wildcats fans, because this is actually not all that terrifying.

Jacob Pullen
Jacob Pullen, who averaged 19.3 points last season, decided to return for his senior season.
The story is as such: Pullen, one of the country's best guards as a junior in 2009-10, wanted advice on whether or not to leave Kansas State and enter the NBA draft this spring. So he asked Beasley. And Beasley's advice was actually pretty good:
"I talked to Mike," Pullen said, referring to his former classmate, Michael Beasley. "The two weeks right before the draft deadline, Mike spent out in Kansas. We talked and he said if he could re-do everything, he'd have stayed all four years."

"He said to think about it and not just worry about the money," added Pullen, who spent a day last week in Lee Arena helping at the Bob Chipman Basketball Camp. "Think about the experiences you want to be part of, because once you make that decision it's your life. It's a job. It's not fun anymore."

Beasley, of course, was taken No. 2 overall by the Heat in the 2008 NBA draft. Since then, Beasley has struggled both on and off the court. He's yet to capitalize on his versatility and potential, nor has he shown much of the intuitive rebounding and mid-range ability at which he was so adept in his one year in Manhattan. Off the court, Beasley has been even less consistent; last August the forward entered a rehab facility in Houston after posting a photo on Twitter that may or may not have included a bag of marijuana on the table.

So, no, it hasn't seemed as if Beasley's enjoyed his time in the NBA, and it's no surprise he would advise Pullen accordingly. At the same time, well, it's Michael Beasley. Plenty of NBA players are able to get past the psychological challenge of turning a joyful game into a full-time job, and they're able to make millions of dollars doing it. There's no anecdotal reason to think Pullen couldn't do the same.

In any case, Pullen's (and Beasley's) reason for staying in college might be the most convincing case of any in the should-I-stay-or-go debate. That reason, simply, is fun. College is fun. Playing college basketball is presumably a lot of fun. Sure, there's development, and sure, there's the matter of getting a degree -- but you can always develop in the NBA, and you can always get your degree in the offseason. You can't go back to college. To a 21-year-old on the precipice of professional life, that's as good a reason to stay in school as you're going to find.