Many NBA players look back fondly upon their time in college — usually a year or two, but occasionally four. They enjoyed the experience of being BMOC at a major university and all the perks that come with it.
However, even those players who liked the experience see the time there as lost revenue. They played for a year for free while a lot of other people and institutions — the NCAA, colleges, coaches, shoe manufacturers, etc. — raked in the money the players generated.
In the wake of almost-certain future No. 1 pick Zion Williamson’s knee sprain, DeMarcus Cousins was blunt about his advice to Williamson — get ready for the NBA because college is BS. Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area has the video, but be warned Cousins cusses in there so if that offends you do not push play.
“Knowing what I know now, college basketball is b*******.”
That’s the money line, but Cousins said more than that — and he speaks for a lot of players in the NBA.
“I loved my experience in college. That was some of the best years of my life, playing basketball,” Cousins said. “But with that being said, just how crooked the whole NCAA business is . . .
“I actually saw a post the other day that said the (lowest ticket) for that UNC-Duke came was $2500, $3500. How much does Zion Williamson see? That’s who (fans) are coming to see. So much of that is he getting? Actually, who does it go to? How does it benefit any player on that team?
“But if they were to get $20 and a free meal, they’re this bad kid. They get a bad rep, ‘uncoachable or ‘thugs,’ whatever the case may be. It’s bulls**t. It’s been bulls**t.”
Cousins echoes what a lot of players say. For elite athletes, guys heading to the NBA (or the NFL), there is a real hypocrisy to the myth of amateurism that the NCAA and colleges use to sell sports. That’s not to say the fixes are easy or simple, but steps can be taken. Let Williamson or other top players profit from their likenesses and images — if Nike wants to pay Williamson directly, so what? It’s better than them funneling money under the table to AAU coaches, family members, and anyone else who can influence his decisions. Get it out in the open.
Although, Williamson may not be too high on the idea of a Nike sponsorship today.