A New Trend For BB Players: Skip College?

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Not very often a basketball player comes along who is in his senior year of high school and is demonstrating that he has what it takes to play on the professional level. The National Basketball college basketballAssociation (NBA) has made an effort, albeit a tepid one, to encourage high school seniors to head to college instead of turning professional. No one wants to be accused of raiding the colleges for players, certainly not the NBA.

Right now, the NBA requires all high school graduates to wait one year before turning pro and be at least 19 years old. During the time that they wait, colleges hope that student athletes will stay around long enough to help the school win a conference title, perhaps even a national championship.

One problem with that scenario is not every athlete has the grades in order to qualify for college. Brandon Jennings, a standout point guard from Southern California, is one such student. Though committed to attending the University of Arizona this Fall, one of his SAT scores was too low. After retaking the test and before the result has been announced, Jennings has decided to skip college and plans to spend the next year playing in Europe instead.

Jennings situation is a rarity as most talented student athletes choose to follow the NBA guidelines and play at least one year on the college level. While there, NBA teams can assess whether the player has what it takes to compete professionally, something difficult to figure out when their only competition is on the high school level.

If Jennings fails to qualify academically, his decision to play in Europe will be a smart one, though there is always the risk that a career ending injury will send him home early. On the other hand, the sooner he turns professional, the quicker he’ll get paid, monies that will easily outstrip an athletic scholarship to a prestigious university.

(Source: Sporting News, ESPN)


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