I personally consider this to be a very important… if not THE MOST important story for the future of college basketball and the NBA. High School phenom Brandon Jennings is not going to college next year… he’s going to spend a year playing in Europe.
I’ve already said that I’m against this move. But if this move works, then we’re about to see the end of college basketball as we know it. If it works, all the best high schoolers are going to go overseas and cash in… instead of playing college ball. After that… the guys who THINK they’re phenoms will go there too.
That leaves the third best crop of kids to play for the best schools in the country. Suddenly, Duke, UNC and UCLA are drawing players who might once have been option #2 and Davidson. Then what happens to the mid-majors?
That leaves fans in a tough situation. On one hand… I don’t want to see the demise of NCAA basketball. On the other, who the hell am I to tell this kid not to go make some money now while he can?
I know systems evolve and things change. I mean… once upon a time the NIT was the biggest tourney around. But the NBA NEEEEEEDS college basketball to be viable. It needs all of us to watch college hoops, fall in love with players, and have debates when the draft lottery comes out. Beasley or Rose… Oden or Durant. It made people watch a crappy Sonics team this year when they normally wouldn’t. Hell.. I WENT to the Celtics-Sonics game just to see what Durant was about. It’s going to make people watch the Blazers, Heat and Bulls this year with a little added interest.
We’re not going to watch some random European team because it’s got this Jennings kid on it. Their 7pm games will start in the late morning on the east coast… 7 am sometimes out west. That’s not going to work.
No… this is bad, bad, bad, bad. Bad for everything we love about the NBA. I hate to say it… but unless David Stern steps in with some sort of rule.. I have to root against this kid. I have to root for this kid to fail miserably and fall into the second round or go undrafted. At that point, I’ll root for him to hook on with a team, play well, and earn a big contract… but I feel like I HAVE to root hard against him right now… just to uphold the system that makes the NBA what it is.