You see, I am not knocking this kid for living out a dream that he's probably had since the age of two. I fully support the notion of someone who has the talent to play professional basketball, just as long as it's based on ability and not potential. But face it, right now, he has as much of an opportunity to make an impact in the NBA during his first three years as Martha Burke will ever have in becoming a member at Augusta National Golf Club.
Is this harsh? Maybe a little. However, this guy has a chance to become one of the great ones – in the NBA and college. He's got the tools that college coaches drool over. The type of game that, after a year or two of molding by a great teacher, could be ready to make an immediate impact in the league. The type of game that is worth the salary of a top-3 lottery pick, not a late first-round selection.
But no, he wants to go now. He needs the money, or the fame, or the attention, or whatever, right now. And the question that's burning a hole in my mind is, ‘what's so bad about college?' What's SO wrong with spending one year at a university? One stinking year. You'd sneeze and the year would be finished.
Ebi would be going to the University of Arizona. It's not like he'd be forced to play in some remote part of West Virginia. He'd be in Tucson, Arizona. Home to some of the best winter weather, a great university, more parties and gorgeous looking women than any one college male can handle, and oh yeah, a pretty decent college basketball program.
While some of his former high school counterparts would be stuck at the end of the bench on some .500 caliber NBA team and thinking about which Spectravision they will rent in their hotel that night, Ebi would be lighting it up on the national stage. The NBA is a business. It's not a place where guys get together after practice and go to a movie, or are buddy, buddy like in college or high school. Many have families or have other older friends in the league, and don't hang out at the mall on a Friday night or Saturday. Many former collegiate players including Richard Jefferson noted this fact when they got into the league.
Furthermore, Ebi would get the opportunity to learn and hone his skills from one of the best – if not the best - basketball minds on the planet, Lute Olson. Does that sound like an opportunity to pass up? Plus, once he got to the NBA, he would be so much farther along than 99% of the other rookies and the same high schoolers that were drafted in 2003, that it wouldn't even be worth comparing them.
Instead, he's going to be a 6-10 forward who weighs a shade over 185 lbs, at the ripe age of 18 years old trying to fit in with men, many of whom have been playing this game longer than Ebi has been alive.
On top of that, he's not going to learn the same skills that he would in college. It's already assumed that you have the fundamentals, and if you don't, you better be talented and athletic enough to improvise. Neither of which he displayed to the point of awing scouts and other invitees at his pre-draft workouts.
Then, there comes the issue of who might draft him, and if this isn't a reason to stay in school as long as possible, I don't know what is. It has been reported on a number of draft websites that Ebi could be drafted by the Portland Trailblazers at the end of the first round. Boy, there's a bunch of guys he could learn a thing or two from. I wonder how those practices will shake down between him and Rasheed Wallace?
Hopefully though, he'll succeed. I really do hope he is able to travel the same developmental path as a Rashard Lewis or even a Tracy McGrady and not a Korleone Young. So good luck young Ndudi, we wish you well but still wish you were here.
Talk about this on the BASKETBALL MESSAGE BOARD