When I was younger the only stepping stone to the professional ranks was through college basketball system in USA. But it seems more and more basketball players are bypassing college basketball in USA for the pro leagues here in Australia and Europe. We are also seeing a load of players leaving college teams after 1 year to play in the NBA. Players such as Ben Simmons. Why are more and more people opting to bypass college for the pros?
Eligibility to declare for the NBA draft
To better understand why basketball players are bypassing college basketball systems for the pros it’s best to look at the eligibility rules to enter into the NBA draft.
NBA Draft rules
- All drafted players must be one year out of high school.
- All drafted players must be at least 19 years old during the calendar year of the draft.
The “one and done player”
Due to this ruling there has been a new term that has been created called the “one and done players”. This refers to players that go to college for one year and enter into the draft the next. This is what Ben Simmons did with LSU; played just the one year and got out. He isn’t alone though, there’s be a fair few people do this and it has become the norm.
Getting around the rule playing pro
Recently there have been basketball players bypassing college basketball to go play professional basketball around the world. This is somewhat of a way around the NBA draft rulings. Playing a year of professional basketball will enable you to earn pretty good money and then head on over to the NBA the next season. Brandon Jennings did this after graduating from Oak Hill academy when he went and played in Italy for a season.
Closer to home Adelaide 36ers shooting guard Terrance Ferguson ditched signing with the University of Arizona to come play NBL for a year. After this NBL season there’s no doubt that he will be declaring himself to the NBA draft.
My take on bypassing college basketball
I have mixed feelings on this as I had such a great but turbulent time during my college basketball career.
Playing college basketball was the greatest part of my basketball life and I highly recommend all young basketball players pursue this avenue. College basketball enabled you to grow. It gives you the opportunity to get physically stronger and improve your skills.
I see a lot of very talented basketball players enter the NBA without the NBA basketball body; Thon Maker is a perfect example. Having said that, there have been players that were ready to step up to the pro’s at the age of 17 -18, such as Lebron, Amare and Dwight Howard to a certain extent.
Let’s face it, poverty is an issue in USA and a perfect way for someone to come out of poverty is to use their talents. It’s evident that this is the reason behind some of the decisions being made by basketball players.
The great thing about going pro in some leagues around the world is the amount of experience one can gain. Instead of playing against kids in college you are playing against men. The NBL is a better competiton than most NCAA division 1 conferences so if you have the talent this is a great league to grow as a player and showcase your skills.
Opting to play professional basketball and bypass college basketball has it’s pros and cons. It all depends on the individual. What works best for you? But when deciding please consider that as soon as you go pro there’s no turning back. You will lose your amateur ranking and won’t have the option to play college basketball in USA. You need to think and decide which is the best path for you.
I wish you all the best in your decision! Please comment below and tell me what you’d choose. Professional basketball or college basketball.