Lowering NBA Draft Age

Potential number one and two draft picks Zion Williamson (#1) and RJ Barrett (#5) celebrate at a sold-out Duke basketball game.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Potential number one and two draft picks Zion Williamson (#1) and RJ Barrett (#5) celebrate at a sold-out Duke basketball game.

Sean Lynch, Staff Writer

Not a year goes by without some form of controversy between the NBA and their potential future prospects in the NCAA. A very common one in recent years has been whether or not these D1 players should be paid in some way that is separate from the scholarship that they have received.

Another hot topic arose recently after the #1 ranked Duke Blue Devils played #8 North Carolina Tar Heels in one of the most hyped college basketball games in recent memory on February 20. This whole college basketball season, Duke has gotten all the attention with their three freshmen stars who are expected to all be top five picks in this year’s NBA draft. It seems the whole sports world is obsessed over Zion Williamson, the projected number one pick, drawing comparisons to LeBron James at the age of 18. Duke lost the game that drew out many celebrities including President Barack Obama.

That wasn’t the biggest storyline of the game, as star player Williamson went down in the very first minute of the game as he blew through his shoe, causing him to miss the rest of the game with a minor knee sprain. Even though the injury was minor, it sparked an uproar in the basketball community about lowering the draft age from 19 to the age of 18 which means coming straight out of high school.

This rule has only been in place for a couple seasons, and the years before that, many star players like Kobe Bryant and James came straight out of high school because they knew that they had such a high draft stock. Forcing the players take one extra year where they have a possibility of getting injured to a high degree like Williamson would drastically lower their draft stock and ruin their chances of receiving endorsements and money for being a top pick in the draft.

The NCAA implemented this rule to make millions of dollars of the backs of these star athletes, and the Duke, UNC game is a perfect example of this. The price of admission to this game was in the thousands of dollars, and was close to being the same price as this year’s Super Bowl tickets.

The draft age should be lowered as it greatly benefits the players,giving them the option to jump straight into the league and pursue the ultimate goal of money, or to  stay in college for as many years as they want to develop at their own risk of injury. This would benefit coaches as they have a chance to most likely build a team over time instead of having mostly new freshmen at the top tier programs like Duke, Kentucky and Kansas.The NCAA would most likely lose money as the top ranked players would mostly enter the draft at 18, but it is still something that needs to be done for the greater benefit of the players.