NCAA Men's Championship Game - Butler v UConn

NCAA wants to do away with testing NBA draft waters


For an organization that is supposed to look out for the best interest of student athletes, the NCAA really comes off as a money-grubbing pawn of school presidents and coaches, student-athletes be damned.

Right now, there are a number of college basketball players testing the NBA waters — they declare for the NBA draft but do not sign with an agent, work out for some teams and get honest feedback from clubs on where they would go in the draft. Then they make an informed choice about whether to return to college or jump into the NBA.

The NCAA wants to do away with that, according to Andy Katz at ESPN.

While guys are making announcements now, you cannot officially enter the draft and meet with teams until the last week of April. Under the current system, players have until May 8 to let their colleges know their plans. It used to be June, but you know how those poor, stressed college coaches needed more time to get their rosters together for the next winter.

So now players have two weeks between when they can start to talk to teams and when they have to make a final decision. This year NBA teams are working together on one massive workout (in New Jersey) so they can see all the prospects in one place and talk to them, to speed the process along.

What the NCAA is apparently going to approve calls for players to make their decision on the draft and inform schools by the start of the Spring signing period, this year April 10. So before they can declare for the draft and talk to teams. Basically, you have to say you want to be employed in the NBA without talking to anyone from the NBA under the new plan.

Players get terrible advice from guys trying to be agents, from friends and family, from all corners. Guys who will fall undrafted are told they are lottery picks. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not, good players get people trying to latch on to them with bad intentions (many of those players do not have the support system to know the good from the bad). Some kids who should have stayed in college, who would have stayed in, are going to come out then be shocked by reality. It’s best to let these guys test the NBA waters, hear directly from teams and paid scouts where they stand, where they’d be drafted, what they need to work on. Then they can make an informed decision.

We’re not talking about the Kryie Irvings and Derrick Williams lottery guys. We’re talking late first rounders, second rounders, guys who will go undrafted who need the honest feedback.

But it’s not about them. It’s about the coaches and school presidents looking to pressure kids into staying longer. It’s about the NCAA looking out for its interest, not what is best for the students. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.

PBT Wednesday morning one liners

Portland Trail Blazers v Phoenix Suns, Game 5
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This is amazing — a chart and video of every dunk and its score in every NBA dunk contest. Click that link and you will waste a lot of your day checking out old dunk contests. You know what, waste is not the right word… spend. Spend your day.

Marcus Camby will not be playing for the Blazers on their current road trip. If they get more games from LaMarcus Aldridge like they did Tuesday it won’t matter.

Rick Adelman is trying to figure out how to get Aaron Brooks going again.

Shawn Marion and Jason Terry may well continue to come off the bench in Dallas. Yes, that means Brian Cardinal starts, at least until Peja gets right.

John Salmons could be back in the Bucks lineup soon.

Maybe the poor play of Raymond Felton recently is the norm and his good play earlier is the outlier.

Jordan Farmar will not return from a strained lower back until Friday at the earliest.

Kevin Love blogs about Ricky Rubio and the All-Star game. Oh, and he’s sick of all the losses.

Wow, a Denver columnist standing up for Carmelo Anthony. And he’s right.

Kobe Bryant Tuesday became the seventh player  in NBA history to reach 25,000 points, 5,000 rebounds and 5,000 assists in his career.

The Pacers owner is saying Larry Bird’s job is safe for the rest of the season. Of course, a couple weeks ago Bird was saying Jim O’Brien’s job was safe for the season so…

Charles Barkley admits he took money in college. Yawn.


Thumbnail image for cbarkley.jpgSo is the NCAA going to go back and make Auburn forfeit wins from 1982?

In a revelation that should be shocking to almost nobody, Charles Barkley admitted he took some money while in college during a conversation about Reggie Bush on the Dan Patrick radio show (as transcribed on Beyond The Arc).

If a guy wants to borrow money from an agent because he’s poor, what is wrong with that?” Barkley told Patrick. “Nobody can tell me what is wrong with that. I got money from agents when I was in college and I went in the 80s. Most of the players I know borrowed money from agents. The colleges don’t give us anything. If they give us a pair of sneakers, they get in trouble. Why can’t an agent lend me some money and I’ll pay him back when I graduate?”

It’s rather a simple view to a much more complex problem. But does the fact that a top athlete took money during college nearly three decades ago really surprise anyone? Does it change anything or anyone’s perception of Barkley or Auburn? Not even close.

Barkley is on the same page with us about a couple things. One is that the NCAA’s selective enforcement and archaic view of college athletics is pathetic.

The other is something else he told Patrick — if Bush had just paid the agents back as they privately requested nobody would be talking about this. Bush decided to fight them over a few hundred thousand, and it was leaks from that agent after he couldn’t get paid that led to the media and NCAA investigations. That eventually led to the punishments to USC, as well as Bush and his issues with the Heisman. This will hit Bush in the pocketbook regarding endorsements, and to much larger sums than he would have paid to the agent.

Bush could have been smart about this, instead here we are.

Blue chipper Will Barton may not be eligible to go to Memphis, but Europe, D-League beckon

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Latavious Williams isn’t the best player to ever waltz through the D-League, but could be among the most influential. After being declared academically ineligible to play for Memphis prior to last season, Williams opted to still pursue a domestic route to the NBA. Rather than follow the Brandon Jennings model and grab a quick paycheck before making his NBA debut, Williams blazed a trail of his own, and declared for the D-League draft with absolutely no college or professional experience.

Now, Memphis recruit Will Barton is running into similar eligibility issues. He has a much higher profile than Williams ever did as a prospect (Barton was ranked the 11th best recruit in his class by Rivals, and the 2nd best shooting guard prospect), but the doors to the our nation’s most prestigious academic institution will remain closed to him. Bummer.

But they say that every time the basketball gods close the door to Memphis, they open a window into the officiall NBA minor league affiliate. Barton has a chance to follow either Williams or Jennings, should the concerns over his eligibility not be cleared up, and a path through the D would likely be best for both Barton and, more obviously, the league.

The problem, as Scott Schroeder noted at Ridiculous Upside, isn’t that a trip through Europe would necessarily harm Barton’s NBA stock or even his development. If he chose to go overseas rather than play in the D-League, it’s very unlikely that his career would be suffer any kind of significant negative impact. Yet as the competition in the D continues to get better and better, Barton would get a head start working with NBA-style coaches and talent evaluators.

Barton could impress league scouts without having to worry about a language barrier, culture shock, or getting a consistent paycheck. There are definitely European leagues out there better than the D-League in terms of competition and talent, but if Barton wants a place where he can really showcase his skills (Jennings was hardly allowed such a luxury) while working to get better under the watchful eyes of NBA decision-makers, the D is an obvious choice.

Whether Barton goes to Memphis, the D-League, or overseas, he looks like a potential lottery pick in 2011 or beyond. Yet if you’ll allow me to dip into my bag of cliché, the journey matters here far more than the destination. Barton’s pre-NBA career could hold a significant impact on the paths lottery level talents take to the big leagues, and if he manages to improve the reputation and the audience of the D-League in the process, NBA teams across the board stand to benefit.