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Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett and the Best Preps to Pros NBA Players

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Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett and the Best Preps to Pros NBA Players
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

One of the more controversial decisions in recent NBA history was the institution of the 19-year-old age limit and requirement for players to be at least one year removed from high school prior to entering the NBA Draft.

This rule was put in place in 2005 and took effect starting with the 2006 Draft, eliminating the potential for players to jump straight from high school to the NBA. Some, like Brandon Jennings, have found a way to circumvent the new law, but he was not the first to make his way to the pros in this fashion.

A more thorough history of preps-to-pros players will be provided on the next slide.

Supporters of the rule say that the one year of college experience greatly benefits a player due to the extra coaching and increased level of play provided by the NCAA. Opponents view it as a poorly disguised attempt to draw more interest to the college game thanks to pro-caliber players performing against athletes who will never even sniff the professional ranks.

I've had discussions with some readers on the subject, and they know my feelings on the matter. I believe the rule should be two years of college or nothing at all.

A year, and really just a semester, at an institution of higher learning does nothing to educate young athletes nor does it allow them to grow as individuals. A commitment of at least two years would mean at least three semesters of college-level education. This provides ample time to broaden a young man's worldview and would also further the skill level of many players.

And who knows, maybe some of them would even decide they like learning and would enjoy furthering their knowledge on a variety of subjects en route to earning a degree.

In the meantime, depriving young athletes, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds, of the opportunity to make a living and support their families while at the same time forcing them to risk the type of catastrophic injury that would permanently derail their career goal is selfish at best.

It should be up to those running NBA teams to determine who is good enough to play in the league. For every Kwame Brown there is a Dwight Howard, and there's just as much risk in selecting a highly touted college player as there is a top prospect coming out of high school.

But I digress. An exploration of the pros and cons of this matter is not the purpose of this article.

By continuing your reading, you will find a brief history of preps-to-pros players and a ranking of every player to enter the league in this manner will be provided.

Let's start by going to school ourselves.

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