THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER
The total number of early entrants to the NBA player draft has remained fairly constant over the last few years. The number of underclassmen declaring for early admission to this year's class has reached approximately thirty-five. That number changes day by day due to additions and withdrawals. There are twenty-five college under classmen who have declared to date and remain eligible for the draft. There are also five junior college prospects and five high school prospects.
For every Kobe Bryant that comes out there is a Bill Willoughby. Willoughby, a former New Jersey High School All American, was headed to Kentucky to play ball for the Wild Cats. A funny thing happened on the way to Lexington, Willoughby tested the waters and entered the NBA draft. He stuck around a few years as a bench dweller because, aside from the maturity factor, Bill had never developed the skills needed to survive at the level of the NBA.
When you look at this year's class, you start to wonder who will make it and who will have made a big mistake. Don't look at the Butlers and Goodens, don't think about Jay nee Jayson Williams they are locks. Even a kid like Juanie is got stardom written all over him.
Juanie was born to play basketball. The former Camden star spent a year honing his skills on the college level. He comes from an extended family loaded with athletes. His bloodlines include men and women that played professional basketball and football, a collegiate All American distance runner and even a professional boxer. Even in high school, this kid could take over a game. He single- handed beat St. Patrick's of Elizabeth with a fourth quarter rally. That team had two present Big East roster members on its starting five.
Now, contrast those athletes to the former Fordham guard Adrian Walton who is coming out this year. Half of you probably never even heard of him. Think about Omar Cook and where he is today, should he have stayed in college? You bet. Multiply that list by hundreds and you begin to see the problem and the pitfalls. You begin to wonder about who advises some of these kids. Maybe you just wake up one morning and say to yourself, I'm going to the NBA. I just don't know.
When is former Rutgers grad, David Stern going to step up and give the early entry process the safeguards that some of these kids aren't getting from so called advisors? When are we going to begin to see some legislation from the powers that be in the NBA to protect those who may be exploited by the process? David you put your head in the ground last year when problems arose with racial slurs, your inaction was your action. How about stepping up and making up for it now?