NBA PM: New Rules Changing College Eligibility?
Imagine watching an ESPN broadcast of a D-League game played in front of a packed arena and featuring two or three of the top 18-year-old basketball players in the country.
As much of a stretch as that seems right now, a new NCAA eligibility requirement set to take effect in 2015 might just keep some of America’s best amateur talent from ever playing NCAA hoops.
According to Dana O’Neil of ESPN.com, beginning in 2015, athletes will have to complete 16 “core” courses, 10 of which must be completed before the respective athlete’s senior season. In other words, players will have to take real classes (math, English, etc.) instead of propping up their GPAs with three periods of gym per day. (Andy Katzenmoyer’s hoop dreams are dying)
Players must have a 2.3 GPA in those 16 courses and anything below that, but above a 2.0, will cause them to become an academic redshirt, which means they could practice but not play for the school.
Obviously, some of today’s best college players would never have been eligible under these standards. In fact, for many that are already in high school, these restrictions would make it impossible to play college ball. That’s why the NCAA is waiting for the next freshman class to graduate high school before implementing these restrictions.
So what does this mean for college hoops?
First off, nothing will stop college basketball from being popular. Even before the NBA initiated its one-and-done rule requiring American players to be at least one year removed from their senior year of high school, NCAA basketball was as popular as ever. It didn’t bother fans that Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett went straight to the pros because they generally root for the school or for the famous coaches who, after all, are really the stars of the game.
But it does mean a handful recruits will be deemed ineligible every season after 2015 and they’ll be given the choice of playing in Europe or going to the D-League.
And as unglamorous as the D-League is now, the new ruling would bring media attention to Reno, Erie and Tulsa depending on which team landed the best teenager. Let’s face it, Brandon Jennings and Jeremy Tyler didn’t exactly thrive playing overseas and NBA teams would rather see these stars playing in the States anyway.
Take the Oklahoma City Thunder for instance. If they were interested in drafting a player, the front office would benefit from seeing him in their system for an entire year, which is what would be the case if he was playing for the Tulsa 66ers, the Thunder’s D-League affiliate.
And since NBA teams are investing millions in these new rookies, it would be nice to see how they handle themselves with a professional team. If a player gets caught doing something wrong, he won’t have an athletic director and a warm, loving community to whitewash his transgression. He’ll actually have to answer for himself, which is going to give teams an idea of who can be held accountable and who can’t.
The new restrictions are far off in the distance, but reality is rapidly approaching college sports. We can’t simply keep pushing the myth that everyone is a student athlete.
Why does Derrick Rose shy away from the spotlight?
Deadspin creator, magazine contributor and object of Buzz Bissinger’s scorn, Will Leitch may have penned the definitive article on Chicago Bulls superstar Derrick Rose for the latest issue of GQ.
Unlike LeBron James—who turned signing with the Miami Heat into a primetime television event—and Dwight Howard—whose demands on the Orlando Magic’s front office are now legendary—Rose is the anti star. He’s playing in front of his hometown fans while the hometown media swoons at nearly everything he does. Yet, Rose isn’t enjoying his fame. He’s barely tolerating it.
“Don’t get me wrong,” he told Leitch. “I don’t take anything for granted. But it seems like the better I play, the more attention I get. And I can’t get away from it. You play great, you get attention. But I hate attention. It is weird. I’m in a bind. The more you win, the more they come.
“I just remember being there my rookie year, going back and being parked outside my friend’s house,” Rose continued. “All of a sudden everybody within a couple of blocks just came to where I was. It was crazy. I appreciated it. I felt good. But you’re not the same person, and that’s what you’ve got to realize.”
Rose isn’t a complete hermit. He has an endorsement deal with Adidas that will pay him a reported $250 million over 14 years and it forces him to remain a public citizen. Still, Leitch paints a picture of a tortured individual, driven to compete, but uninterested in all the trappings of fame. It’s a good read and definitely worth your time.
Jan Vesely finishes an up and (mostly) down rookie year
Wizards forward Jan Vesely is a rare breed. In a hockey-crazed country like the Czech Republic, he came away playing basketball.
“Every country can play some sports, and if you’re good at it you can play at the highest level,” Vesely told HOOPSWORLD. “My parents played sports so that’s the reason I played basketball.”
While it’s not often you see Czech players, it’s even more rare to see a 6-11 European who refrains from shooting 3-pointers. Often times players like Peja Stojakovic and Dirk Nowitzki come to the NBA and immediately make a home for themselves beyond the arc. However, Vesley missed the only 3-pointer he attempted for the Wizards as a rookie and it’s starting to look like his game will primarily revolve around the painted area.
“(Interim coach Randy Wittman) just wants me to play under the basket so that’s all I do the last couple games so I feel more comfortable then in the beginning of the season,” Vesely said.
That’s why he’s made 51.1% of his field goals as a rookie while grabbing 4.0 RPG in just 18.4 minutes of action per night.
“I mean it’s getting better everyday,” Vesely said of his progress. “I try to work hard in practice and on the game in order to do my best and all I can so I think the progress is going good.”
Vesely said he wants to play everywhere so it will be easy for coaches to keep him in the game. But it’s been difficult for him to get good game experience when he’s playing along so many other young players. It’s not like there’s a lot of structure in which to explore his own game.
“It’s tough because we are all young and don’t have experience, but in other ways it’s fine because we can grow up together,” he said. “So one side it’s pretty fine to grow with them.”
Vesely will likely finish the regular season scoring about 4.0 ppg, but he’s gotten more time recently in the month of April (30.7 MPG) and he’s made the most of it, averaging 8.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest. That doesn’t sound like huge progress, but keep in mind, he’s yet to go through a true offseason thanks to the NBA lockout.
“I will work out all summer,” he said, although he doesn’t know if his offseason work will include going back to Europe, the Vegas Summer League or training elsewhere.
In any case, it’s been a long season for the 15-46 Wizards and for Vesely, there is no end in sight.
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