Monday , Jun , 30 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

The NBA, College or Overseas

Former basketball shoe company recruiter Sonny Vaccaro retired last year, but he made it very clear that he wasn’t just going to sit back and let young players be taken advantage of by the NCAA. Some of the players to have attended his basketball shoe camps went to the pros right out of high school, and others went to college but didn’t stay very long.

Now he wants to start a new trend since the NBA wants to enforce being nineteen years old or out of high school for one year. Sonny wants to help American-born players bypass the college experience and go overseas to play. The first player he may help do this is Brandon Jennings, one of the top high school players in the country. He made a commitment to Arizona, but his SAT score may not be high enough to get into college. Even if it is he still may consider playing ball overseas instead of being a one-and-done player at Arizona.

Many say Brandon could make $200,000 to $600,000 per year overseas, and a shoe deal and other possible sponsorships could push his per-year salary between $800,000 and $1 million. At Arizona his financial package for tuition, food and board would be less than $50,000.  Obviously, that is a big difference.

Renardo Sidney, Jr., a 2009 incoming college freshman, may also consider going the overseas route. His father Renardo Sidney, Sr. said "For us it’s definitely an option." He also said "Brandon’s decision will have an effect on the younger kids." So after these players play one or two seasons overseas,they’ll likely enter the NBA draft if they produce solid seasons overseas.

The NBA once again will probably sit down and evaluate the situation, making a decision on what they’ll do with young prospects. Whether they get rid of the rule, increase a college commitment until a player’s junior year or improve their minor league system.
The NBA age rule bothers basketball legend Oscar Robertson. He said "I think that’s illegal to be honest. If you you can go and fight in Iraq at 18, why can’t you play basketball? This is something concocted by the NBA and the NCAA. It seems like it benefits both. It benefits college more than anybody. If you can go fight in a war, why can’t you play basketball? Tennis players do it. Baseball players do it. So why not basketball?" He also said "They’re not like where LeBron is. Some are not going to do well. Some will. That’s just the way it goes, and I wish the best for them. I hope they’re ready to play."

As I have said many times before, I’m in favor of young players playing in college.  However, they should be allowed to make the choice without being forced into one.

Let HoopsVibe viewers know what you think about this issue. I’m sure this debate will carry on for a while.