College Basketball: Are There Any Seniors Left?

matt stevensContributor IMarch 6, 2008

What happened to the good old days when all players stayed through their four years of college and then went on to the NBA?  Why the sudden—and relatively recent—change?

Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Luold Deng, Greg Oden, and Josh McRoberts all are victims of early college exits in favor of pro ball play.  

Yes, of course I am aware that all of these players had extreme talent and would not have been challenged very much in another year with the NCAA.  Still, it would have increased the quality of college play.

I know the NBA's financial offers are appealing, but I think there should be a rule requiring that student athletes stay in school at least until their junior year.  In my opinion, this would make college basketball a much better game and it would be even more intense than it already is.

Those who do stay for all four years usually reap the benefits.

One example of this is J.J. Redick, who broke the ACC scoring record and also the three-point record.  

And after the Florida Gators won the NCAA Title in 2005-2006 all of their sophomores and one junior decided to come back instead of leaving early for the NBA.  The result?  Back-to-back NCAA Championships.

I know that this rule may never come into effect—at least not for some time.  But think of this: I am also a very big NCAAW fan, and very rarely do you see a woman leave more than a year early for the NBA.  I believe that it’s because of this that the games are so much more amazing and the talent so much better.  

Just imagine if Kevin Durant had stayed in Texas this year, or if LeBron James were playing for a school right now.  How intense would that have been?