LeBron James. Kobe Bryant. Kevin Garnett. Tracy McGrady. These are some of the greatest players that the NBA has ever seen, and they are also 4 players that made the jump directly from high school to the pros. This decision worked out fantastically for these players, and there is also a crop of talent that made the jump that have firmly established themselves in the league, this includes the likes of Dwight Howard, Amar’e Stoudemire, Josh Smith, Tyson Chandler, Rashard Lewis, Al Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins.
The jump from high school to the pros has not always worked out well, however. There have been a large number of players to skip college and consequently struggle massively in the NBA. This could come down to immaturity, not being prepared for the physical and mental aspect, inexperience in not being the go-to player, plus a whole host of other reasons. These players have learnt the hard way that the NBA is one of the toughest and most demanding leagues in the world.
In addition to players that have turned out to be busts, there are also some players that made the jump and had mixed fortunes. These players are usually highly talented, but often have disciplinary problems and make poor decisions. These are the type of players that leave teammates shaking their heads, coaches tearing their hair out and fans at home screaming at the television.
The college experience is a great way to prepare players for the pros and it helps to iron out any issues that a player may have. Here are 10 NBA players that should have gone to college.
10 Darius Miles
9 DeShawn Stevenson
8 DeSagna Diop
7 Stephen Jackson
6 Robert Swift
5 J.R. Smith
4 Eddy Curry
3 Sebastian Telfair
Things have not quite gone to plan for Telfair, who was supposed to be one of the top point guards in the league following his choice to skip college and go straight to the pros. A New York City legend, Telfair’s journey in his final year of school was documented in Through the Fire, and this fascinating documentary gave us an insight into life for the young guard who is also Stephon Marbury’s cousin.
2 Andrew Bynum
Bynum had the potential to be one of the great Big Men and showed promise in his career (who can forget his spin move and dunk on Shaq?), but aside from an impressive 2011/12 campaign he has disappointed. In addition to injuries, his attitude has massively held him back and this is most evident through his suspension by the Cavs. Bynum became a disruptive force on a troubled Cavs team, reportedly shooting every time he touched the ball, regardless of where he was on the court. He was subsequently traded to the Bulls, waived the very same day and then signed by the Pacers where he has been out injured since.
1 Kwame Brown
Although he was the 1st pick in the 2001 NBA draft, Kwame Brown has become the butt of many jokes. He has been a perennial underachiever and failed to impress at every team he has played for, with his attitude also aggravating fans, teammates and coaches. He also suffered humiliation at the hands of Michael Jordan in Washington, which further damaged a teenage Brown’s confidence. Ultimately Brown was too young and underdeveloped, and the pressure of being 1st pick became too much. Had he gone to college, he would have developed the tools required to be a success in the NBA.
Kwame Brown epitomises the risk attached in jumping from high school to the pros, but the lure of the NBA and the money proved too much for these top high school prospects.
Sources: espn.go.com, nba.com, hoopshype.com, 14news.com, sportingnews.com, dailymail.co.uk, seattletimes.com, usatoday.com, bleacherreport.com, imdb.com, atthehive.com
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