Kemba Walker: 5 Reasons Leaving for the NBA Was a Big Mistake for the UConn Star
Why would they?
Walker accomplished a lot in his collegiate career. He was an All-American, broke the career scoring record at UConn (965 points), was the Final Four's most outstanding player and—most importantly—led the Huskies to a national championship.
However, despite all these accomplishments, Walker's decision to leave for the pros may have been a poor one.
Here are five reasons Walker might have been better off staying with the UConn Huskies for another year.
National Player of the Year
The one glaring hole in Kemba Walker's legacy is not winning the Naismith College Player of the Year.
The award was instead given to BYU star, Jimmer Fredette in 2011.
While Walker would cite this award as a secondary achievement to the primary goal of winning national championships, he would no doubt liked to have won the award.
Winning the Naismith award pays off on draft night too. Since 2000, the player who wins the award has been selected as one of the top two picks six times, including three times as the first overall.
Should Walker have returned to the NBA he would have been one of the favorites to win the award in 2012 and could have possibly improved his draft status.
Kemba Walker has entered the league during a trying time in the NBA.
The NBA lockout has already begun and there is no end in sight. While most NBA fans remain optimistic, there is a chance that the NBA will not have a full season, or worse, no season at all.
The prospect of Walker beginning his NBA career without a season is enough to say that staying at UConn for another season could have been the smarter decision for Walker.
As Mike Van Gundy so eloquently said on the night of the 2011 NBA Draft—despite selecting Kemba—the Charlotte Bobcats have gone from mediocre to terrible.
After trading away their two best players in Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace, the Bobcats are clearly content with being in a rebuilding stage.
While this might be the right move for the team, it puts a lot of extra pressure on Walker to be the "savior of the franchise"—a label that never sets a player up for success. That is not to mention the Bobcats won't have much of a supporting cast around him.
In fact, the best returning player on Charlotte's roster is DJ Augustine, who just happens to play the same position as Walker.
The Bobcats likely won't be competitive for at least a few years, which doesn't present the ideal situation for an incoming rookie.
Walker may have been better off waiting another year and then hoping to end up in a better situation.
Chance for Two Straight National Championships
If Kemba Walker would have decided to stay at the University of Connecticut for another season he would have had the opportunity to accomplish something that few players have ever done—back to back national championships.
Since Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Bill Walton among others led John Wooden's UCLA Bruins to seven straight championships, there have only been two schools to win back to back titles.
Duke did it in 1991 and 1992 and the University of Florida did it in 2006 and 2007. In each case, the best players on those teams solidified their legacies as one of the school's best ever.
Kemba Walker could have had the opportunity to do the same.
2012 NBA Draft
Although the 2011 NBA Draft was considered one of the weakest in recent history, Walker may have been better off in the 2012 draft.
With Walker's former teammate Jeremy Lamb projected to go in the top five of the 2012 draft, it's possible that Walker would have been an even higher draft pick than he was this year.
He would have been by far the most decorated collegiate player available and likely would have been the best point guard in the draft, which could have improved his stock substantially.
Because the difference between the ninth pick and the second or third pick in terms of salary can be as much as $3 million, Walker may have lost out on substantial money by leaving for the draft after his junior season.