Ranking Top 25 NBA Players Who Could Still Be Balling in College

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Ranking Top 25 NBA Players Who Could Still Be Balling in College
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

With all the recent chatter about new NBA commissioner Adam Silver's desire to raise the minimum age for draft eligibility and the annual bluster about the NCAA tournament, it's entirely reasonable to wonder what the 2014 edition of March Madness would look like if early declarations weren't a thing.

Remember, there was a time when even the best and brightest talents in college basketball were forced to stay for four years. That status quo was crushed in 1970 when ABA Rookie of the Year and MVP Spencer Haywood and Seattle SuperSonics owner Sam Schulman launched an antitrust lawsuit against the NBA.

The case (Haywood v. National Basketball Association) went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. In March 1971, the presiding justices upheld a lower-court decision deeming that the league's four-year rule did, indeed, infringe upon Haywood's right to make a living playing basketball if a team would have him. 

Imagine how much more different college basketball would be today if Haywood hadn't won and today's best players still had to spend four years in school. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would have sky-hooked everyone into oblivion for another couple of years while he was known as Lew Alcindor at UCLA.

Mike Krzyzewski could count on Jabari Parker spending four years at Duke, Bill Self would build his program around the dynamic duo of Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, and John Calipari's Kentucky Wildcats might have the talent and experience to challenge the tank-tastic Philadelphia 76ers.

Comb your way through the NBA's active rosters, and you'll find a wide swath of youngsters who'd be eligible to participate in this year's tourney if not for all those rules regarding "amateurism" and fraternizing with agents and whatnot.

Leaving aside those who were never granted eligibility to play college ball (i.e. Enes Kanter) and those whose health would've precluded them from playing this season anyway (i.e. Nerlens Noel), let's have a look at the best of those whose age and Division I stints would suggest that they could be competing at a level below the Association right now.

And, in a manner typical of college sports, we'll limit the list to 25 and rank those who made the cut.

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