All the talk about Gorgui coming out early, and the usual "one-and-done" conversations that now accompany the NCAA Tournament, got me thinking about the NBA draft, and how life really turns out for these first round draft picks. I'm a big proponent of staying in school, but I admit it's a selfish desire to see how great the college game could be with the superstars playing three or four years. It wasn't that long ago that Michael Jordan played three years in college, and he turned out OK.
I don't follow the NBA, other than occasional highlights on Sportscenter. And don't get me wrong, I'm all for going out a getting paid if you can do the job. So while I was doing a little research about NBA rookies on my magic google machine, I came across this story about a former lottery pick.
At the 3:07 mark, I noticed that Louisville had sent a recruiting letter to Swift, along with UK, Kansas, and other top programs. Swift's story is extreme, but it illustrates a great point --19 year-old kids who receive millions can really screw it up. A common attitude surrounding the NBA draft is "Hey, if a player can go in the first round and get millions in guaranteed money, then he should go." Well, the downside is the Robert Swift story. If you don't know how to handle the money and pressure that come with an NBA roster spot, maybe four years in college can help. And if an athlete can't improve his draft status with another year in school, it sounds to me like he probably won't be playing NBA basketball very long anyway. Just sayin'.
Gorgui is going to be hugely successful no matter what he does when he leaves UofL, because he's that type of person. But for other athletes, who don't have Gorgui's maturity or strong character, getting millions to play ball is not necessarily a good thing.