Is Skipping College For The NBA The Right Move?

HIGHLY-touted high school recruit Mitchell Robinson changes his mind as often as I change my underwear. Well maybe not that often, but the 6’11, 5-star basketball phenom has once again backflipped on his decision to play college basketball. Instead of joining the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Mitchell will spend the upcoming year preparing for the NBA with the help of a professional basketball trainer. We have heard of players opting to play overseas instead of going to college but this is a new one entirely.

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JUST to give you a quick history lesson here’s how the events of Mitchell Robinson have transpired to get him to this point in his pursuit of a pro basketball career. After committing to Western Kentucky, he was suspended indefinitely in July and left the program altogether. At that point in time, Robinson flirted with the idea of skipping college before visiting numerous other schools. Towards the end of August after those visits, he once again committed to the Hilltoppers, only to go back on his word in the past few days and opting to skip college entirely.

WE have seen players forgo college in the past with the likes of Brandon Jennings, Emmanuel Mudiay and most recently Terrance Ferguson opting to play overseas instead. However, this is an entirely different process. The biggest bonus of playing in a college/international league is the experience you get from being in that system and learning from other pros and proven coaches. If you are spending the season preparing by just doing drills, weights and pick-up games it’s hard to build a solid reel to sell yourself to NBA teams with. It’s a massive gamble for Robinson and it’s one that we haven’t seen someone as highly ranked as himself attempt before.

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WHILE Robinson’s future is yet to be determined we may see more players take this path in the future. As big a gamble as it is, there have been players in the past who upon leaving high school have been ready to go pro right away. The likes of Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady and perhaps most famously LeBron James are such players who have made the leap straight from high school and have gone on to have incredible HOF calibre careers. With the rules the way they currently are it means that players can’t declare for the NBA draft straight out of high school and if Robinson’s new path proves to be a successful one we could see others follow his footsteps.

NEXT in line to potentially take the same route is the infamous LaMelo Ball. After releasing his own shoe in the past month there is speculation over his eligibility for NCAA competition and he may have no choice but to forgo college and train or play overseas to follow his brother’s footsteps into the NBA. The outspoken LaVar Ball has made it quite clear that regardless of the NCAA’s verdict on LaMelo’s eligibility, spending a year training for the NBA is a realistic possibility.

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ROBINSON’S saga will be followed closely this year, but it’s the wrong choice to make in my opinion. Could this potentially open the door to high schoolers become eligible for the NBA once again? Unlikely. In fact, don’t be surprised if commissioner Adam Silver enforces stronger restrictions for future pro prospects. Regardless, we will learn a lot from the process that Robinson undergoes in 2017-18. How this journey affects the raw, athletic big man’s draft stock will be something that plenty of high schoolers dreaming of the NBA pay close attention to.

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