With the new CBA agreement in place, one of the lesser debates at hand was whether the NBA would keep its current one-and-done system for players' eligibility or return to the system that allowed players to enter the draft straight out of high school.
Essentially, it called for American-born players to turn 19 during the calendar year of the draft and be a year removed from their high school graduating class.
This has led to several high-profile players going to college and subsequently, abandoning the programs after one year in their jump to the pros. This trend has stirred criticisms of the one-and-done rule by several college coaches and programs.
These same critics have stated that such promising players might as well enter the pros out of high school rather than toil in college for a year and risk NCAA violations or serious injury.
As a Wizards fan, the team has been on the short end of the stick when they made Kwame Brown the first high school player drafted with the first pick in 2001.
Now over a decade later, the Wizards are stuck with another player that they drafted out of high school who has struggled to mature despite this being his sixth season in the league.
Andray Blatche was drafted in the second round of the 2005 NBA draft by the Washington Wizards after moving from his hometown of Syracuse, NY to attend the more prestigious high school basketball program at South Kent School in Connecticut prior to the one-and-done rules enactment.
Fast forward to the present and you have a 25-year-old versatile big man who has continued to tease and frustrate fans with his All-Star potential coupled with his immaturity.
With all of the missteps thus far, I believe Blatche would have benefited immensely from at least one year at a top-tier university basketball program of his choosing.
College is the place that kids go to learn through their mistakes and gain knowledge and wisdom in and outside the classroom. It is difficult enough making the jump from high school to college as a normal undergraduate, let alone doing so as a student athlete.
Being a student athlete is an enormous responsibility that requires players to juggle several hours a day of practice with a course load of schoolwork as well.
If Blatche had gone to college, his immaturity and selfish attitude would have been squashed immediately by professors, coaches and teammates who all serve to foster the same traits that Blatche lacks.
Coming straight into the NBA and earning millions of dollars, Blatche has never learned humility which has stunted his growth as a player and a person.
Ultimately, I see Blatche as the poster boy for why the one-and-done rule exists and why many others push to follow a system similar to the NFL where players are required to attend college for at least three years.
With the CBA agreement in place and the discussion of the rule died down for now, it is necessary that the league not regress, but continue to require players to attend college for at least one year.
It is fair to question the integrity of basketball programs and while the system as a whole is far from foolproof, college is a rite of passage that all young people should enjoy and learn from if given the opportunity, especially athletes.