Saturday, April 16, 2011

Kentucky, Ohio State Hardest Hit By Early Entries to NBA

The Wildcats and Buckeyes have each lost 16 seasons by players leaving early for the NBA Draft since 2006 when the NBA instituted a new rule requiring players to be at least 19 years old before they are eligible.

"Rivals.com decided to measure which schools have been hit hardest by early entries since 2006, the first year student-athletes weren't allowed to enter the draft directly out of high school. We looked at all the early-entry lists from 2006-2010 to see which schools lost the most underclassmen to the draft.

We did not include players who have left early for the draft this year because they still have time to change their minds and return to school if they don't sign with agents."

Kentucky was tied with Memphis for the most players lost at seven. Ranking the schools 1-11

1. KENTUCKY
Number: 7 players
Seasons lost: 16
Players: Eric Bledsoe (2010, Fr.), DeMarcus Cousins (2010, Fr.), Jodie Meeks (2009, Jr.), Daniel Orton (2010, Fr.), Patrick Patterson (2010, Jr.), Rajon Rondo (2006, Soph.), John Wall (2010, Fr.)

Buzz: All five of the Kentucky players drafted in the first round last year were underclassmen. Four of those first-rounders were freshmen. Kentucky has a chance to "solidify" its No. 1 status this year if freshmen Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones follow Bledsoe, Cousins, Orton and Wall as one-and-done players. Wall was the No. 1 overall pick and Cousins also was a lottery selection last year. Bledsoe, Patterson, Orton and Rondo also were first-round picks. Meeks was selected in the second round.

Georgia Tech has certainly been hurt by early entries and it led to the downfall of Paul Hewitt's tenure when two freshman, Thad Young and Javaris Crittenton, declared for the NBA after the 2007-2008 season.  The Yellow Jackets also had far less success with their talent reaching only two NCAA tournaments and winning just one game the last five seasons.

10. GEORGIA TECH
Number: 4 players
Seasons lost: 10
Players: Javaris Crittenton (2007, Fr.), Derrick Favors (2010, Fr.), Gani Lawal (2010, Jr.), Thaddeus Young (2007, Fr.)
Buzz: Georgia Tech is the only team on this list that hasn't at least reached a regional semifinal in the past five years. Tech's series of one-and-done players prevented the Yellow Jackets from producing sustained success and indirectly may have contributed to the firing of former coach Paul Hewitt. Favors and Young were lottery picks after their freshman seasons, while Crittenton also went in the first round. Lawal stayed through his junior year and was drafted in the second round.

Rivals list also points out that none of the past three national champions have been hit hard by early entries into the NBA.

Reading over the list I am stunned by how many of these players have yet to amount to anything in the NBA and even more stunned by how many went undrafted

Who is giving advice to players like Darius Washington of Memphis who left after his Sophomore season or Davon Jefferson who left USC as a freshman?

The NBA and NCAA can fix this by working together and allowing players to go straight from high school to the pros.  Guys like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant have no business in college, but most are simply not ready physically and emotionally after one year.

I am in favor of the college baseball rule where if you come on campus you must stay for at least three years though I doubt this gets done as the agents run the NBA Player Association. Why? I have no clue.  Most unions I know of protect seniority.

Maybe this rule change can be one good thing to come out of the almost certain forthcoming NBA Lockout.

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