There seems to be little doubt about it. NBA players benefit greatly from collegiate experience. Yet most up and coming players seem to look at higher education as little more than a brief stop on the way to an pro-league paycheck—if that.
The Association has done what it can to curb the influx of fascinated younger players with dollar signs, not textbooks, on their minds. Many believe more needs to be done to teach young, talented players about discipline and paying your dues.
Even today, as I write this, West Virginia Supreme Court justices issued an opinion in a case involving O.J. Mayo. Had the court not ruled as it did, a certain amount of chaos would have descended on high school sports everywhere. The case was very complex, and I certainly won't get into all the details here, but in essence, the Court voted unanimously to reinstate two rules dealing with high school game suspensions.
Discipline, again, being the pointed issue here.
Where does one learn it? Certainly during the formative high school years, but perhaps even more so in college. Where you have to learn to attend class, not because your parents and teachers tell you you have to, but because you're driven to for your own good.
Kevin Garnett made his announcement in 1995 to jump from high school to the NBA. The following year, Kobe Bryant skipped college and was selected 13th overall.
Remarkable? You bet.
Look up the careers of other high school players who have been taken with lottery picks and a sobering splash of ugly reality will hit you.
Most of those forgotten, early entry players never averaged double figures during their professional careers. Not even close.
These guys definitely had skills and talent, but it seems they never got coached on what to do with them.
On the other hand, here's my list of active NBA players who not only graduated from college, but continue to dominate, inspire and make their mark in the league. Please feel free to add your own.
G- Brandon Roy (Washington Huskies)
G- Steve Nash (Santa Clara University Broncos)
C- Tim Duncan (Wake Forest)
F- Tayshaun Prince (University of Kentucky Wildcats)
F- Danny Granger (University of New Mexico Lobos)
Off the bench
G- Kyle Korver (Creighton Bluejays)
C- Emeka Okafor (University of Connecticut Huskies)
F- Shane Battier (Duke Blue Devils)
F- Ruben Patterson (Cincinnati Bearcats)
G- Jameer Nelson (St Joseph's Hawks)
F- Grant Hill (Duke)