I know this topic has been beaten over the head more times than Mick Foley with a steel chair, but it absolutely bears mentioning. And every time an incident like this happens, people like me are going to come screaming from the rafters until a change is made.
On Tuesday night, Kentucky Wildcats freshman Nerlens Noel, was injured while attempting to block the shot of
This is the second time since the age limit was enacted by the NBA in 2006 that a projected 1st overall pick suffered a serious injury during the college basketball season. In 2010, Duke Freshman point guard Kyrie Irving tore a ligament in his toe in just his ninth collegiate game and missed the rest of the regular season.
Things worked out for Irving, and they may end up working out for Noel, but the longer that the age limit rule is in place, the more likely the inevitable will happen where a "one and done player" suffers a career ending injury in college, having been robbed of the opportunity to play at the NBA level even though his talents and/or potential warranted them so. The longer this NBA age limit stays in place, the longer we flirt with the idea of a big time NBA prospect having his career ended in what amounts to (for the individual player at least) a meaningless game. Lets not get it twisted here, these kids aren’t going to college for school pride or for the
tradition or whatever contrived reason they give when they announce their decision on signing day every year. They are going to school because they are handcuffed - shackled even - and dragged kicking and screaming to play for an institution they have zero interest in by an unfair and an unjust rule.
I can go on a rant and spout off every excuse to defend high school players being eligible to enter the draft that has already been said over the years ("If you can defend your country at age 18, why cant you play basketball?"…"The precedent has already been set by players like Moses Malone, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady and even journeymen like CJ Miles, DeShawn Stevenson and Al Harrington"). But I won't do that. All I will do is bring attention again to a topic that should, but probably won't be rectified any time soon for a number of reasons. Number one is because the NBA just agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement a year ago where the age limit was never seriously discussed. And number 2, it remains more advantageous for the players association to keep things at the status quo
because it is their jobs to look out for the current players and NOT the incoming players. Bringing in a high school kid who may sit on the bench and take 2 or 3 years to cultivate (a la Andrew Bynum or Jermaine O'Neal) takes away a potential roster spot from a proven NBA veteran.
The sad thing is that arguments against the age limit are falling in deaf ears as the NBA's tyrant commissioner David Stern has never been one to allow public pressure to influence his decisions; His overly-inflated ego sticking to the mantra of "You'll take whatever it is I give you and like it." The good news on that front is that Stern will be stepping down as commissioner after next season and with that comes hope that this injustice will be flipped on its head and we can not only stop this mockery to the great game of college basketball but allow these MEN to pursue the career that they have a Constitutional right to pursue.