As usual after each season, a number of college underclassmen have proclaimed their interest in leaving early for the NBA. Can you really blame them? If they don't sign with an agent, what do they really lose by entering the draft? They can find out whether their stock will go up, and they will likely face good competition at a predraft camp in Chicago.
It does make sense from the players' standpoint, because they can learn about their marketability yet not give up their chance to return to college. But it places a burden on coaches because it affects recruiting.
Scouts say everyone is a late first-round selection. Are you kidding me?
A coach doesn't know what to do with that scholarship or whether he needs to replace his star player. It also affects a potential recruit, because he may sign with a school thinking he'll get playing time right away, only to have that star player pull his name from the draft and return to college.
There are many wacky reasons why players enter the draft early. It's time to go to my VBDI (Vitale Bald Dome Index) to identify the five wacky reasons why I believe many kids make the decision to declare for the NBA draft.
It's time to be cool, to be one of the guys people talk about. Everybody buzzes about these players, these potential NBA first-rounders. The player feels like he's part of the in crowd, baby! Isn't that a wacky reason, and players won't admit it, but that's half the battle.
2. The Posse
Members of the posse want to strut their stuff, so they get players to believe they're much better than they really are. The posse has visions of grandeur, because they want to be out with their man after the games, riding in the cool new cars the player can afford. They think it would be cool for their man to be in the NBA -- these guys want to be part of the action.
3. Scouts Over-evaluate
Scouts say everyone is a late first-round selection. Are you kidding me? They want as many people in the draft as possible. They don't want these kids to go back to school. These scouts and NBA people fill players' heads up with ideas that they'll be stars and definite first-rounders. They also fill the heads of the runners who help tell the players they'll be stars right away. They make sure the kid knows he can create a little buzz in the NBA. Scouts say, "He'll probably be drafted late in the first round." There's only one problem: They tell that to 60 kids and only 29 go in the first round! Those 29 get a guaranteed deal, while the others have to battle for a roster spot.
4. No More School
A player who goes into the draft early doesn't have to deal with getting up early any more to attend class. That's right, no more booking it, no more showing discipline by going to class. That's a wacky reason, because going to class makes you a more complete person. Many players don't want that responsibility. They just want to get up and shoot J's, baby! But that only takes you so far in life. Student-athletes can be exposed to great professors capable of teaching them how to manage time and to select the right type of people to associate with, etc. Instead, players take the easy way out so they can wake up when they want, go to sleep late and party. What a dumb reason to enter the draft.
5. Family and Friends
Families and friends put out all kinds of ideas on where these players will be drafted. They also want part of the action, to live through the athlete. They want to live through him because they didn't have that kind of success.
When you think about it, it's all pretty wacky. Players will never admit this stuff, and it's just my opinion. We may never find out, but players need to look in the mirror and be honest with themselves.