Every season, the NBA Draft features a brand new crop of youngsters making the leap to the big stage.
In the past, the only thing teenage hoopsters had to worry about was their one year of mandatory college/overseas service after high school.
But there is a bigger problem looming for this year's possible early entry candidates for the NBA Draft.
Right now, it seems as if a lockout is pretty much a sure thing for the 2011-2012 NBA season.
This means those freshman who thought they were going to be one-and-done in college, just might be hanging around for another year.
A lockout would not only be detrimental to the NBA, it would be a huge blow to many of these early entrant candidates as well.
Normally, these players only have to worry about scouts, school and statistics.
But now, it looks like they have a lot more to worry about.
So thanks to the potential 2011-2012 lockout, let's take a look at five reasons these early candidates need to be worried.
The first thing these kids need to be worried about is possibly having to go to school for another year.
Let's face it, a lot of these athletes don't take the most difficult course schedule when they go to an elite basketball program.
I mean, if you have a pretty good idea you are just going to be in school for one season, you take the easiest classes possible during those semesters.
The majority of the players will take the minimum number of credits to be considered a full-time student at the college for one basketball season.
After the season is over with, they are already signing with agents, declaring for the draft and picking out their first new car.
What happens to these athletes if they have to stay in school another year?
They will have to maintain a different course load to remain eligible, actually look at future courses and stay out of trouble for two years of college instead of one.
This may be a huge problem for players who have "red flag" or "character" issues after one season of college basketball.
Let's face it, going to Europe to play basketball is a new trend for professional basketball players.
We saw Brandon Jennings bypass college to do it, and now, Allen Iverson is over there showing the world he still has it.
And if these early entrant candidates decide that another year of college isn't what they want to do, many of them may flee the United States for the lucrative contracts and experience of playing in Europe.
They may not play the best competition, but getting paid to play the game they love might just be enough of a draw while waiting for the NBA to figure out their situation.
This scenario also has its drawbacks as well.
Many young athletes have not had great experiences overseas.
There have been problems with getting paid, adjusting to the different rules and not playing up to expectations.
This will be something that will go through the minds of these kids while making up their minds.
Every season, there is a new group of "Diaper Dandies."
These super freshmen come in and wow the college basketball world with their youth and talent.
The top basketball programs thrive with these players because they draw a lot of media attention to the team with their high profile signings.
But what happens if the stars don't leave, and these players don't get to play?
Or even worse, if the early entrants get outperformed by the youngsters and their draft stock falls?
Early entrants need the NBA to be there because it helps continue the cycle.
The cycle for potential draft picks and colleges is to perform, help the school make money, showcase your talents, get drafted and create space for incoming recruits.
Colleges sign new guys to replace the ones they expect to get drafted, and if they don't have these players leave, there could be some unhappy recruits waiting to transfer out next season.
A lot of components go into draft stock for an NBA prospect.
It extends past the player's game and deep into their personal lives.
Most of the players that come into the NBA through the draft get lucky because they only have to put this on display for one season of college basketball.
Young people make mistakes, and small ones are forgiven by the scouts and general managers because of talent.
But if these players cannot control themselves, a second year of "issues" could be just what stops them from millions of dollars.
And even if these players don't have any issues, a second season of NBA scouts picking apart game film could lead to them seeing something they ultimately don't like in that player's game.
These things are normally seen in year one or two in the NBA—at that time the players are already getting paid to do their jobs.
But if they are seen before the paycheck comes, it could mean a third year of college for a player who wasn't planning on being there for more than one.
If the lockout occurs, I would give anything to be an NBA general manager locked and loaded with 2012 draft picks.
Early entrance candidates will stay in school if they think a lockout is coming.
This means that the 2012 NBA Draft is going to be a packed full of huge prospects.
The first round of that draft could be like having two lotteries full of players.
That is a good thing for NBA teams thanks to the rookie pay scale, a bad thing for players coming out because they want lottery money.
A larger pool of players means that a "project guy with upside" probably won't be taken that season in the lottery.
Normally, you can find a few of those guys taken in the lottery, which earns them more money than they probably should have gotten.
I can guarantee you this will not happen in the 2012 Draft if there's a lockout, which could lead to more players playing another year of college.
So there you have it.
Falling stock, competition for playing time, loss of money, fighting for a job at the next level and much more are just a few of the things that could affect early entrants if there's a lockout next season.