Now that March Madness is over, we can move on to the real madness.
We’re talking about the ludicrous system that the pros and colleges conspired on to make prep stars spend an extra year passing themselves off as students, denying them the chance to start playing hoops for a living right out of high school.
They wind up holding nationally televised spectacles to announce where they’ll pretend to go to college next season. Decisions are made on where’s the best place to run some pick-and-rolls, pull off a few spectacular dunks and maybe win a championship before getting on to the real task at hand: making it big in the NBA.
Since the NBA and the NCAA can’t even agree when that is _ they’re bickering over dueling deadlines for players to declare themselves eligible for the draft _ this seems like a good time to scrap this farce of a system altogether.
Two of the latest victims, I mean, two of the latest crop of top prep stars _ Shabazz Muhammad and Nerlens Noel _ made their announcements Wednesday night. Muhammad went first, picking UCLA over his other finalists, Duke and Kentucky.
“I choose to be a Bruin,” Muhammad said. “So I’ll be at UCLA next year.”
Though he very well could spend the next four years in school, he tellingly made no commitment beyond that.
Noel went an hour later _ wow, the announcement show was more drawn out than LeBron James‘ “Decision” _ and revealed Kentucky was his team. In keeping with the over-the-top nature of the whole affair, he turned for the cameras to show the “UK” logo shaved into the back of his high fade haircut.
What a surprise: Kentucky landed another top recruit.
Wildcats coach John Calipari has perfected the one-and-done system _ now known as won-and-done _ that everyone has played by since 2005. Noel clearly expects to step in for All-American center Anthony Davis, likely headed to the NBA after a season in Lexington.
“I watched what they did with Anthony Davis,” Noel said. “My mom thought it was the best fit for me, and I did too. So I went with that.”
More than likely, he’s already envisioning how he’ll be following Davis again a year from now _ right to the NBA.
But really, if a kid is truly serious about getting an education, he should commit to a school for a minimum of three years _ just like they do in college baseball. If he wants to go to the NBA, that’s fine too. The door should be open as soon as he picks up his high school diploma.
Don’t count on any changes, though.
For everyone beyond the kids, the status quo is working fine.