The NBA’s Plans Concerning High School Athletes

Antre Stephenson
Staff Writer

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PC: Mayo Clinic/Flickr

When it comes to the NBA, the NCAA and high school athletes there has always disagreements on what athletes should do and not do. The NBA stopped allowing high school athletes to join the NBA right after high school in 2005. Prior to that, athletes such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard entered the league straight out of high school. The new rule made it where they have to at least have one year out of high school to be able to put their name in for the NBA draft. This is colloquially called “the one and done rule.”

Just that alone sparked a lot of controversy. We are in a time right now that since high school athletes can not go straight to the NBA, a lot of them are taking the one and done rule. And for coaches and school officials, they understand that the player they recruited from high school is simply a one-year rental.

There are some that are ready, and there are others that are not. Not only that, a lot of athletes and some college coaches are urging the NCAA to find a compromise to start paying the players who generate millions of dollars for the universities. The reason is because so much money is being generated through the NCAA, and the university’s and players want to get paid for their likeness (jerseys, autographs etc). But unfortunately they can not. With them being student athletes and with them committing to a collegiate university, they can not work or have any other job, and they can not profit from what they do as a basketball player while playing collegiate basketball.

Over the past month, an FBI investigation has uncovered this policy being ignored. The NCAA found a few collegiate head coaches who were offering money to recruits to sign with their particular school. Lonzo Ball from the Los Angeles Lakers said that “they should allow players to get paid, most of them are getting paid anyways.” Ball’s brothers, LiAngelo and LaMelo, both touted to attend UCLA like him, has decided to play professionally in Europe. Multiple current NBA players, such as Emmanuel Mudiay of the New York Knicks and Terrance Ferguson of the Oklahoma City Thunder have spent their year before being drafted playing professionally overseas where they can earn a paycheck instead of going to an American university.

This has been an issue that has been ongoing and does not seem like it will be fixed anytime soon. Something that is starting to come into fruition is that the Commissioner of the NBA, Adam Silver, is starting to formulate a plan where the NBA will be able to contact elite high school players and providing ways to develop them on and off the court. Silver said “We are looking at changing the relationship we have with players before they reach the NBA.” A high ranking league official said “this is a complex challenge, and there’s still a lot of discussion about how it’s going to happen, but we all see the need to step in.”

Silver also mentioned, “we’re spending a lot of time youth basketball. I think there is a big opportunity, on a global basis, focus on site players in terms of better training, better fitness. So that they ultimately can be successful at the highest level.”

Silver said during the All-Star Weekend, “that is something from a league standpoint, together with our teams, we’re putting an enormous amount of energy and resources into. We’ve talked a lot about youth and development in terms of whether we should get involved in some of these young even earlier. Than when they come into college,” Silver said. “And from a league wide standpoint on one hand, we think we a better draft when we’ve had a better draft when we’ve had opportunity to see these young players play and elite level before the they come up in the NBA.”

An anonymous general manager commented as well to the situation. “People have been saying we need to fix the AAU system for a long time. At least for some of the kids we may end up having on our roster one day, this may be our chance to start the process.”



Categories: Industry News, Pro Sports, Sports

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