Villanova was still immersed in its buzzer-beating win over North Carolina for the national championship when Kentucky reserve Skal Labissiere announced he was leaving for the NBA after his freshman season. He scored 6.6 points per game last season and still could be a first-round pick.
NBA draft rules, which require players to be 19 years old and one year removed from their high school graduating class, have been dissected for years. Some believe players should be allowed to jump directly from high school. Others argue it stunts their maturity and development.
Here’s a solution that makes sense and comes with risk and reward for all involved: Make players eligible for the draft out of high school but not eligible to play in the NBA until they’re 20. Stop with the right-to-work argument.
NBA teams would be on the hook financially in the case the player suffered a career-ending injury. Scholarships would be guaranteed for life, making education the safety valve. The risk for players is never signing a pro deal.
Remember, it’s not a right to play pro sports. It’s a privilege.