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Monday, June 10th, 2013 at 10:20 am  |  76 responses

Tracy McGrady Says Two Years of College Needed for NBA Players


One of the best players to come directly out of High School and into the NBA, Tracy McGrady, seems to think the League’s talent has been watered down since kids don’t spend enough time in college. Sure thing, T-Mac. Per USA Today: “McGrady has had a successful 16-year career, winning two scoring titles, and was been named to the All-NBA First Team twice. However, McGrady, now playing for the San Antonio Spurs, says he doesn’t think players should do it the way he did, make the prep-to-pros jump. He came from Mount Zion Christian Academy in Durham, N.C. to the Toronto Raptors as the No. 9 overall pick in the 1997 draft. In fact, McGrady believes that the age rule should require players to attend two years of college before entering the league. This would end the recent trend of one-and-done players in the NCAA. ‘I actually think they should implement having these guys go to school for two years,’ McGrady said. ‘What is it, one year now? At least go to school for two years because the league is so young. I think we need to build our league up. I mean, I hate to say it, but the talent in this league is pretty down.’ [...] McGrady believes that attending college ‘probably would have’ better prepared him for the NBA. However, he doesn’t regret his route to the league. When asked why he decided to bypass college and go straight to the pros, McGrady said bluntly, ‘Well, let’s see, adidas gave me a $12 million contract. I mean, (expletive), enough said.”

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  • Shifty

    Haha that last bit was golden.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    well, yes. College prepares you for the NBA better than not college…..but those 2 years you spend in the NBA that you would spend in college, obviously, prepares you more for the NBA than college does….. need proof? let’s look at the 4 most talented wings to come into the NBA in the second half of the 90s….

    . http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=mcgratr01&y1=2002&p2=bryanko01&y2=2001&p3=cartevi01&y3=1999&p4=hillgr01&y4=1995

    .
    Hmm

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ Nick Tha Quick

    Oh snap! Shock Exchange finally got someone to read his book. Clearly eye-bleach was not used after reading as is recommended by the American Psychiatric Association.

  • Mack

    I’ve always thought this was the best way to handle the high schoolers-to-pro situation; 2 years gives players at least 60 games to understand what they need to work on and improve to become a great NBA player. I’ve never felt 30 games were enough for a soon-to-be professional.

  • bike

    If all a kid wants to do is play pro ball but is not good enough upon graduating HS, he shouldn’t be going to college. Ideally, there would be a developmental league/farm system like baseball where he could develop a pro game and be evaluated properly.

    If a kid is good enough to play right away out of HS, he should be allowed to be drafted and not waste his or a college’s time.

    If a kid commits to college he should be expected to stay for a minimum of 3 years.

  • Dfrance

    I just feel like they’re two different games and college doesn’t really prepare you for the NBA. There are plenty of guys that excelled in college and couldn’t cut it on the NBA level. Then there are dudes who put up average numbers in college and really blossom in the NBA.

  • Faraan Akhtar

    TMAC could’ve been legendary if it wasn’t for injuries.

  • patrick

    talent in the league is down? how so? evidence? argument points? etc. i disagree

  • K_HOLIDAY

    Completely agree… I’m sure Russell Westbrook and Jimmer Fredette would agree as well!

  • K_HOLIDAY

    Kyrie Irving would disagree with you

  • danpowers

    i dont necessarily agree on the low talent level, but absolutely co-sign on hat two years of college demands.

  • danpowers

    i dont know that much about talent / skills etc development in college. but i assume that it would help most guys to mature as persons. from that point i guess the longer they stay in college the better. imagine how much less annoying howard would be with a maturity level that would exceed the mindset of a 4th grader by at least one year.

  • Dfrance

    Russell is the player that always comes to mind when I think about it. he was a backup, defensive specialist at UCLA. lol

  • Dfrance

    Shaq is just as annoying and he went to college. maturity just ain’t in the cards for some people.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Derrick Coleman.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    yeah, except for the whole lack of data to back any of that up.
    .
    in fact, all available data says the sooner a guy gets to the NBA, the more likely he is to have a long career.

  • danpowers

    no guideline will ever provide a 100% success rate. i think it would at least increase the probability to get more mature players. not that it would guarantee anything

  • danpowers

    exception from the rule maybe?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    more mature player’s? so you think 2 years of college is more important than the 18 years of a person’s life leading up to it? really?
    .
    and why can’t they mature in the NBA? which guy came out of high school and led a career marked by immaturity? JR Smith? Is he your case study?

  • danpowers

    i said its a guess or i’d assume that. i think that if someone has a surrounding to intensively work on his skills before he gets alot of money and world wide appreciation might help more to humble him than to hand him to stardom straightaway. sure, i guess a great college player is receiving an appreciation which is close to nba stardom, but at least he wont live in luxury straightaway.

    that was no rhetorical question anyway, i really meant to ask you coz i think u might went / go to college over there n know more about it than i do.

  • bike

    Gerald Wallace is another, older, example. He averaged like 9 pts/game at Alabama and went pro after one year.

    Still, college is a major step up from HS in terms of competition and right now, there is no other means for a player to develop if he isn’t currently draftworthy.

    Why I always was in favor of a farm system like baseball.

  • Dfrance

    They have the farm system, its just not used properly. The D League can be that if its utilized properly. Stop letting old heads like Mike James and Antoine Walker in and keep it for the younger players to develop.

  • Dfrance

    Idk, they force football players to go to college for 2 years and a lot of them come out knuckleheads. I think the whole “go to college and grow up” thing is a myth, especially when it comes to student athletes who are babied and pampered their entire time there.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    College is party central. The NBA is lonely.
    .
    who is easier to find and distract, a kid at a public university when his schedule is basically public knowledge, or an NBA player?
    .
    Only the guys who are mature when they get to college, leave college mature. You don’t come to college as an immature kid who makes poor decisions, stay for two years, and leave a mature man ready for the real world.
    .
    The problem is, people see these idiots like JR Smith who come into the league and act like a pompous prickhead who just was told by god that he can do whatever he wants and think, “well if he went to college he wouldn’t be like this” – when really, in college, they would have been handed all of the things they are acting like a pompous prickhead about (women, attention, money).
    .
    There just is no media attention like there is in the NBA to expose guys for being this way while in college. So the one’s who come out and are still immature in the NBA are just the guys who “couldn’t cut it” or “weren’t made for this league” when really, they are who they are. College or not.

  • Junior Taylor

    This is BS. Baseball players are allowed to go pro straight out of HS, same with futbol players (even as young as 13) but basketball players can’t? I know the reason why but I won’t go there.

  • bike

    The problem is, for it to work like baseball, the prospect would not sign a contract once drafted. That way, the kid could conceivably return to college and play ball if he didn’t cut in the D-league.

    I doubt the NBA would ever go for that. It’s too hardwired to grab a kid that will be ready almost right away. NBA teams won’t likely want to wait several years for a prospect to develop.

  • Mars

    Our only role models are rappers and ball players, and they gettin paid to not finish school. Lol. But what kid would pass on millions in endorsements? Pass

  • Mars

    Grant Hill. Penny Hardaway. Josh Howard

  • K_HOLIDAY

    YEP, LOL! It’s crazy to see the growth and how differently his game is valued on the NBA level.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    nah Bike, you can’t go play pro baseball then come back and play college. just because you aren’t on a contract doesn’t mean you can compete professionally. And you can’t play a professional game for free.
    .
    the real difference is, the MLB draft is not something a player “commits” to. you either get drafted or you don’t. you don’t even have to be a baseball player to get drafted. you just have the option of turning down the draft altogether after you’ve been selected.
    .
    in the NBA you have to actually enter the draft. which usually, a person doesn’t do without an agent.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    ehhh, baseball players don’t have a choice about their draft.
    .
    it’s once in a generation that a player is good enough to actually play in the bigs at 18. Actually, it’s barely even once in a generation. It’s happened like 3 times in the last 40 years.
    .
    and minor league baseball is the same thing as the D-League. And high school kids do have that option.
    .
    Soccer? American Soccer? Come on bruh. If you want to talk about other countries? Basketball is the same as futbol

  • Max

    First thing that needs to change is theshotclock, heck make all the rules the same.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    Nothing wrong with going there.

    Martina Hingis winning women’s tennis titles at 15,
    Andre Agassi was ranked 91st in the world and collecting a healthy amount of coin at 16 and getting paid to wear Nikes at 18,,
    Ryan Sheckler winning skateboarding titles and earning millions at 15,
    Cristiano Ronaldo signed his first contract at the age of 11,
    Sydney Crosby was earning paychecks at 16,
    Ricky Rubio was getting paid at 14!!!

    The media/public opinion seems to celebrate youngsters excelling at the highest level beyond their years, and do not seem to mind kids in their mid-teens being millionaires…unless those teens are Afro-American.

  • bike

    That’s why I said conceivably. The NCAA Div 1 could change or relax the policies associated with amateur status and allow someone who has competed professionally to return to school under certain guidelines. I believe you can now do this in Div II and Div III of the NCAA with certain restrictions.

    Obviously the NCAA is not going to allow a seasoned NBA vet who’s already made millions back into school to play ball. But what is the harm in letting a kid who tried his luck in on a farm team for a year coming back?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    well, it would change the whole definition of College athletics as “Amaetur” to let someone come back from playing pro sports….
    .
    i mean this would open a whole can of worms. namely, the open paying of collegiate athletes while they are in school. (which i actually support).

  • Max

    I don’t get why people think players can develop better in college than in the NBA with constant experts around you.

  • LeroyShonuff

    Difference in those sports they signed to minor leagues or was given time to grow. With the NBA it’s either sink or swim. The NBA do need to better utilize the D-League.

  • Max

    Basketball, especially in the NBA is a whole other thing tho, the physical play etc,..
    The body needs to be way more matured than to play tennis, soccer,..

  • LeroyShonuff

    Simple Solution: Let players declare outta High School for the draft but make it mandatory they will have to spend 3years in the D-League before they are called up. Make the salaries around 250k to 500k a year. If they go to college or another league they have to wait until they are 20. To help once in a generation players, set up a systems that says if a player is first team all D-League and All-Star selection then they can move up after one year of D-League service. The D-League can serve as a vehicle to teach young players how to handle the burdens of the pro game. Makes too much sense for it to happen.

  • LP @ThisisEther

    It cost money to improve the DLeague….They aren’t paying those guys enough, so no need to go to the Dleague if you can go overseas and get paid more…..So the Dleague doesn’t get the best talent, and that why nobody barely pays it any attention…..

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    But why can’t these youngsters have the freedom to make that choice? Why do the players that are NBA ready at 18 (Lebron, Wiggins) have to be penalized for others’ failures?
    These youngsters who aren’t ready wouldn’t be declaring if they were consistently going undrafted. I think the problem is that scouts, gms, owners, they want the perks of drafting young talent yet aren’t willing to take the liability that comes with it.

  • bike

    I think the problem with any radical change to the current policy is the nba likes using college as a farm system for evaluation. The current one and done seems to be cool with Stern. There doesn’t seem to be much of an incentive for the nba to change.

  • Max

    I’m not a fan of the players not being able to go to the NBA after highschool either.

  • Junior Taylor

    Well…even though it’s a rarity for a HS player to play in the Pros, they still have the choice of going down to the minors and getting “paid” (which is the point I am trying to make). HS basketball players don’t have the same luxury of going down to the NBDL and getting paid to play until they are ready for the big leagues. Huge difference.

  • bike

    Stern changed the ruling back in 2006 after that draft where all those HS kids went so high. He was worried in part that it was sending a bad message and too many HS kids would declare that weren’t ready.

    Your are right–the problem is in honest evaluation. The scouts, gms, etc. have become mesmerized with this notion of upside, athletic ability, potential and are willing to grab unproven prospects which screws over the few that really deserve to be drafted.

  • z

    Big business is simply looking out for big business. The NBA is basically helping out the NCAA by making sure they get as much free talent as possible. Neither org could care any less about whether these guys get injured or educated in college. College sports generate hundreds of millions each year, and the NBA has a free league to scout so that they can under-fund the D-league. T-Mac is misguided.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    HS basketball players do have that option JT.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    ignorance mainly.

  • Mike Gilbert

    true, but for some people it’s simply a matter of one’s body developing physically. Sometimes one extra year can give a young guy time to put on 15 extra punds of muscle.

  • Mike Gilbert

    Some players come into the league when their body is not as physically ready as it should be. Besides, it would make College basketball better, and the NBA better, so what’s the problem?

  • Mike Gilbert

    the quality of the NFL and the quality of college basketball has improved since they made players stay at least 3 years.

  • Mike Gilbert

    The quality of the NFL and the quality of college basketball has improved since they made players stay at least 3 years.

  • Mike Gilbert

    I think they should do it soo college basketball would be better. But only if they start paying the student athletes.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    If a player isn’t ready, then don’t draft them.

    The problem is that college players aren’t getting paid, yet generate millions for their schools.

    Why is it okay for everyone to make money except the player?

  • initbruv

    I like the one-and-one rule with college ball though when you’re in the bonus. Everything else should be the same.

  • initbruv

    This is really well said. I think there’s an argument to be made for the inherent value of getting an education though. Beyond just the “in case things don’t work out in the NBA” aspect, I’m talking about just going and learning from passionate, intelligent people who are experts in their field of study. I mean, I guess you can become educated just by having a library card but you miss out on a lot by not every going to college when you have the opportunity.

  • Mike Gilbert

    well that’s a different argument entirely

  • Junior Taylor

    My fault…you’re right. I am not in tune with the NBDL’s rules as I am with the NBA.

  • danpowers

    hm i see. maybe guys like duncan, battier, roy, etc just left that stereotype of the role model athlete from college over the years while guys like jr smith mess it up for their caste.

  • danpowers

    hm i see. seems like there is not really a sollution to that maturity problem then. anyway, someone has to deliver material for good memes tho

  • Brownjesus

    This one is gold

  • KBM

    Josh Howard legendary?

  • ace

    1. Kids with pro aspirations and potential seldom have interests in college. You must not know much about elite level college sports if you think most are learning from “passionate, intelligent people in their fields”. Taking classes like, TV, does not a scholar make.

    2. Beyond the social aspect of living the college life, there is absolutely NOTHING that can only be learned on a college campus that you can’t learn off it, especially in the Age of Information. Even a college professor knows this. I got my bachelors at Columbia and my masters at NYU. Nice paying job, but my boss is a millionaire who never set foot on a college campus as a student. My boss, with no academic credentials to stand next to me, is probably the smartest guy I know. Let’s not romanticize the college experience.

    3. Lastly, and more importantly, what people like you fail to realize is that there is no such thing as missing out on the opportunity to go to college. College will ALWAYS be there. The opportunity to turn pro will not always be there. Only a fool thinks college education is more valuable as a young, dumb kid than as a matured adult. College can wait.

  • OMG

    if we realy follow your line of thinking then in the real world where we all live in and llok for jobs. a degree doesnt really matter, does it?

  • OMG

    you think and speak with finality. College is needed by everyone. Even athletes. It’s a fall back. Its an education. Something which can never be taken from you. Unlike an athlete’s athleticsm. You seriously think guys like AI, Tracy,D12 wouldnt benefit anything at all for atleast 2 yrs of college. It also helps that college programs would really ensure their athletes tend to their academics truthfully.

  • OMG

    truth speaks. very well said.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Yeah as a pro basketball player you can more than afford college. This ain’t an education conversation, this is about basketball.

  • OMG

    There are 6 billions people on earth. Not everyone is an athletes nor a billionaire. Nevertheless,why would you let athletes fall into stereotypes about thier interest in education. That goes vice versa for you too. Why cant you let this guys have a chance to be exposed to real academic life even if u think they dont want it. How many these guys go broke after thier careers ended bcoz they didnt have the mindset to be “educated” enough. Academia was were these young minds we’re supposed to be molded. Y are you enforcing lazy mental attitude. So u can level the playing field and profit from these guys like what happened to Pippen. If you found nothing good in college,Why did you have to get your masters? No one forced you. So you mean college are for people with no options in life and get the bad end of the stick, not being smart millionaires or superb athletes. Losers..? like you?

  • OMG

    You said it yourself. its the system’s fault not the athlete-students.

  • OMG

    it’s the american culture even, twisted perception of how athletics should mixed with academics. Your system pampers these “kids” and they learn nothing and undisciplined.

  • OMG

    experts in what? playing basketball..? its only 2 years. Most big men prospects who hurry out dont even make a decent nba career start/halfway. case:Oden, Bynum. Problem is your NCAA is just another junior NBA cash-sucker. I’ts not really the players fault.

  • OMG

    1 point. tis the system,

  • OMG

    the system and the people that run it. not the players.

  • OMG

    injuries. unfullfilled careers. Oden, Bynum. etc. total waste.

  • Max

    Experts in dieting, shooting, defense, gaining strength,…
    Case: Oden, Bynum? Yeah because that didn’t have anything to do with injuries AT ALL?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    You are an idiot.

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