7 NBA Rookies Who Clearly Left College Too Soon

Jay SchaefferContributor IIIJanuary 13, 2013

7 NBA Rookies Who Clearly Left College Too Soon

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    The one-and-done rule in college basketball has increased the pressure on underclassmen to declare early for the NBA draft. Staying all four years in college severely hurts a prospect's stock in the NBA draft, which forces college players to make hasty decisions.

    Every year, it is clear that several rookies make the mistake of leaving college too early to live their dream of becoming a professional basketball player. It is hard to blame a young man who chooses to play in the NBA while making a lot of money over staying in college and going to class. However, sometimes these guys should put their dreams on hold in order to make the best decision for their future.

    This year is no different, as numerous players left college too early and are now realizing the monumental mistake they made in declaring for the draft.

7. Kendall Marshall

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    Kendall Marshall had a fantastic two-year college career; however, so far his success is not translating to the NBA.

    Marshall has played just 51 minutes all season for the Phoenix Suns. Although North Carolina lost a lot of talent, Marshall could have returned for his junior season and received ample playing time.

6. Fab Melo

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    Although Fab Melo was playing very well in the D-League prior to his concussion, he still could have used another year at Syracuse.

    Melo could have set himself up to be a potential lottery pick in the 2013 NBA draft. He has not appeared in a single game for the Celtics this season, and he may end up being traded before he makes a significant contribution in Boston.

    Melo is making progress in the D-League this season, but he could have been making the same progress back at Syracuse, which would have made him a lottery pick this year.

5. Jeremy Lamb

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    Jeremy Lamb has played just 54 minutes for the Oklahoma City Thunder this season after being acquired in the James Harden deal.

    Lamb is another player who could have used another year in college to improve his skills. However, Lamb still has a good shot at being a very good NBA player. The real problem is that he is not playing enough in the games to really improve as much as he needs to in order to be a successful player.

4. Tony Wroten

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    There is no question that Tony Wroten left the University of Washington too early. Wroten simply is not ready to make an impact at the NBA level and really could have used another year of improvement at Washington.

    Wroten is simply too erratic for Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins to give him significant playing time. In addition, he struggles with his shot, which is another reason why he cannot get on the court. 

    Wroten has played just 14 minutes this season, which is truly going to inhibit his improvement.

3. Quincy Miller

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    Quincy Miller is another guy who made the mistake of leaving after just his freshman season. Miller saw teammates Perry Jones and Quincy Acy leave and made the mistake of following them to the NBA.

    Miller has played just 15 minutes for the Denver Nuggets this season after being selected in the second round of the 2012 NBA draft. Miller would have returned to Baylor as its best player and could have been a lottery pick next year, but he couldn't turn down the money of being an NBA player.

2. Austin Rivers

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    Austin Rivers has been horrific thus far this season for the New Orleans Hornets. Rivers clearly should have returned to Duke to receive further tutelage from coach Mike Krzyzewski.

    Rivers has played a lot for the woeful Hornets, but he has accumulated just a 5.6 PER, good for last in the league among players playing 25 minutes or more per game. His true shooting percentage is an abysmal 39.9 percent.

    Rivers is also proving incapable of playing the point guard position, which is a troubling fact to face for the Hornets organization.

1. Royce White

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    The Houston Rockets' Royce White experiment has been an unfortunate disaster so far. White suffers from an anxiety disorder that prevents him from flying and doing other activities that all players must do.

    Although this is not White's fault at all, he should have returned to Iowa State for his junior season in order to work on this disorder. If the Rockets cut White loose, NBA teams might not want to gamble on a guy who may never play a game.

    The bottom line for White is that he should have returned to a comfortable environment to work on making his anxiety disorder manageable.