Friday, July 4, 2014

Year of the Freshman

Another year another NBA Draft.  This year was considered one of the strongest and deepest draft classes since 2003 when LeBron, Melo, Bosh, Wade, and company were selected and given mega-million dollar contracts.  Eleven years later, the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, and Joel Embiid will each get their time to shine in the spotlight.  Nobody will know for sure how good this draft class is until several years down the road when each gets professional playing experience in the NBA.  But how can we say that this class will make a major impact right away when each of the top ten picks are twenty years old or younger?  Seven of the top ten picks were freshman!  (Dante Exum is eighteen years old and the equivalent to a freshman.)

Each year, many college basketball players leave school after one year to enter the NBA Draft.  Years ago, it was odd for a freshman to enter the was odd whenever a player who was not a senior entered!  Nowadays, the older players are the ones drafted in the late first round, second round, or not drafted at all.  As a matter of fact, no freshman was drafted in the second round this year.  There is not enough tape on these freshman for them to be drafted as high as they are as compared to a junior or senior who has experienced almost everything possible in the NCAA.  Additionally, they all are much more mature as a twenty-one or twenty-two year old as compared to a nineteen year old kid.

When will Adam Silver lay down the hammer and change the draft eligibility rules to a minimum or two years of college basketball experience and twenty years old prior to entry?  This way, fans and scouts will be able to see how a player plays on more of a consistent basis.  A player can have a stellar freshman year in college then end up doing nothing in the NBA (Greg Oden, Byron Mullens, Tiny Gallon)  If Oden had stayed for a second year at Ohio State, maybe he would have learned how to keep himself healthy and could be an elite player.  However, because the Trailblazers only had a few looks at him while in college, they took a gamble on him that did not pay off.  Boy is OKC lucky Portland did not choose Durant.

The top picks in the NBA Draft continuously get younger and younger each year.  These kids have all the upside in the world and will hopefully have successful careers in the league.  Marcus Smart was the first non-freshman picked at sixth overall...and he was only a sophomore (one with anger issues I might add).  One cannot yet tell how good this draft class is now, but down the road, we may be saying to ourselves, "Gee, these kids should have stayed in college just a little bit longer."

Micah Sokolsky is a Pre-Junior Sport Management major at Drexel University with minors in Spanish and Business.  Micah hails from San Francisco, CA and was a participant on Drexel Sport Management’s College Sport Research Institute (CSRI) team last year in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 2013.  Micah completed his first co-op with the Camden Riversharks minor league baseball team in their Marketing and Promotions department.  A member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity, Micah is involved on campus as the Athletics Chairman for the Inter-Fraternity Council and as a Resident Assistant in Race Hall. Connect withMicah on LinkedIn.

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