Jim Boeheim Discusses Tyler Ennis' Decision to Enter 2014 NBA Draft

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 4, 2014

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim talks to Tyler Ennis during the second half  against St. Francis in an NCAA college basketball game in Syracuse, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 18, 2013. Syracuse won 56-50. (AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli)

A man who makes millions of dollars coaching college basketball players recently criticized college basketball players for trying to earn millions of dollars in the NBA.

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim went on the offensive in discussing whether this year's crop of college stars should consider entering the 2014 NBA draft, per Zagsblog:

"I don’t think it would," he said. "I don’t think it would. I’m not going to be specific about anybody but my experience is guys look and if they see they fall where they’re favorable [they leave]…If you go 15th in the draft, you’re nothing. You might be out of the league in two years. It used to be a first-round draft pick you had a chance. That’s nothing. Those guys are out of the league. Half the guys taken in the first round the last three years are not even in the league.

"You gotta be in the top seven, eight, 10 picks to make sure you’re going to be playing in the NBA."

Two of Boeheim’s players — freshman point guard Tyler Ennis and sophomore forward Jerami Grant—are projected as first-round picks.

Asked if he’s given them this spiel, Boeheim said, "Well, I talk to them about it. But you gotta be ready physically. Just because you play good in a college game, that doesn’t mean anything. Are you big enough, strong enough, can you shoot?

"It’s not even dominate. You gotta have a skillset. They don’t work with you up there. You’re either ready to play up there or you’re not. You go up there and you can’t shoot, you’re not playing. You up there and you’re not strong enough, you’re not playing. People forget how good the players are in the NBA."

Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis has already declared for the 2014 draft, while forward Jerami Grant is weighing his options.

Boeheim has also said on SportsCenter that Ennis should've stayed in school for at least one more year, per Rob Dauster of College Basketball Talk:

I think he is a great college player, but I think physically he could have used another year. I think when you get to the NBA, you need to be as physically ready as you can be, so I think Tyler could have benefited from another year, but certainly he is a tremendous player and a very smart point guard.

SB Nation's Tom Ziller joked about what Grant might hear from his head coach if he decides to enter the NBA:

To a certain extent, you can see where Boeheim is coming from. Maybe Ennis could benefit from playing with the Orange for another season. The troublesome part is that he would come out and not back his former player 100 percent. If somebody else was saying what Boeheim said, it's probably not an issue.

Ennis played his compulsory season in college, and if he wants to enter the NBA and try to earn millions of dollars, then that's his prerogative. In this situation, Boeheim comes off as one of those sanctimonious head coaches who preaches the virtues of amateurism despite making millions of dollars in college sports.

It's like when Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said in Sally Jenkins' article in The Washington Post against the unionization going on at Northwestern that you have to earn rights as a student-athlete, contrary to the very idea of a right being that it's automatically given.

Dan Feldman of Pro Basketball Talk also did a great job of tearing apart Boeheim's argument that being a mid-first-rounder is somehow an NBA death sentence:

In the last three years, just seven of 90 first-round picks – Livio Jean-Charles, Lucas Nogueira, Jared Cunningham, Fab Melo, Nolan Smith, JaJuan Johnson and Nikola Mirotic – are not in the NBA. That’s fewer than eight percent – nowhere near Boeheim’s 50 percent claim.

If anything, teams are valuing deeper first-rounders and early second-rounders even more as they try to maximize their draft value and find the next Chandler Parsons, Tim Hardaway Jr. or Draymond Green.

Of course, college athletics are nearing a point where the athletes might be compensated for their contributions to their programs.

The landscape may be shifting, but until it does, you can count on coaches like Boeheim making money off the backs of their student-athletes while chastising them for wanting to get paid in the pros.