By RENE ESCOBAR
As the men’s college basketball season ends, work for the players is just beginning. The dreams for these athletes is starting to become a reality.
The National Basketball Association has begun sending invitations to the nation’s top prospects to attend the combine where scouts, coaches, and general managers find their next franchise player.
Most of the athletes are under the age of 21, and some are as young as 18. Should a player who is not old enough to buy alcohol be able to become a professional athlete?
I understand the lure of fulfilling a lifelong dream to play in the NBA while making millions of dollars.
However, key factors must be taken into consideration.
The NBA is giving multi-million dollar contracts to teenagers Last year, No. 1 pick Ben Simmons signed a contract that guarantees him $3.9 million at age 19.
Although Simmons has not made headlines for the wrong reasons, a lot of players fall prey to the root of all evil, money.
It can over take a career, especially at an early age. Fame and fortune brings distractions and for a professional athlete, that is a career killer.
There’s another reason why the NBA should raise the age limit. Most young players are simply not ready for professional ball.
Of the 60 picks in the NBA draft, 15 prospects on average are one-and-done collegiate players.
Of those 15 players, about three will become NBA starters. The rest will be cut or play overseas.
Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA draft, provides a clear example of a player who was not ready for the pros. Bennett bounced around in the NBA and is now playing in Turkey.
The one-and-done college trend also hurts the athletes who receive full-ride scholarships. They are throwing away an education that other kids would kill for.
When players leave school early, they lose a tool that will last forever. Football, baseball and basketball does not last forever. What’s going to happen to athletes who get injured or become a bust? There’s nothing to fall back on.
An education for an athlete should be more important than a draft pick.
An education can provide stability for when sport is over.