Do I Stay or Do I Go?: Lessons Learned from NBA Draft Night 2012 #highrisklowreward

In gyms and basketball courts all over the world young boys envision themselves as their favorite NBA player nailing a buzzer beater and winning a NBA Championship. Last night there were 30 young men whose dreams finally became a reality when they heard their names called in the first round and had the opportunity to shake the hand of NBA Commissioner, David Stern. For many of these young men the opportunity of playing in the NBA was their ticket out of low-income housing and into a life of luxury fulfilling the promise of early retirement for their mothers. And also providing their families with cars and homes as a show of their appreciation for the many sacrifices that was made for them.

After the Kentucky Wildcats were crowned as the 2012 National Champion, 49 underclassmen forfeited their college eligibility to declare for the NBA Draft.This list of underclassmen consisted of those destined for stardom, upperclassmen who may have waited one year too many, as well as a few head scratchers who had little chance of being drafted at all.

Although these 49 underclassmen will probably never attend a college class again, each of them was taught a few hard life lessons on Thursday night:

  • Lesson 1: The more you play the further you drop

Each year the top players in college basketball are faced with the tough decision to either play another year or go pro, those who decide to stay another year are praised by their coaches for their unselfishness and team first mentality. However, last night several of these rising sophomores lost millions of dollars after being selected later in the NBA Draft than they were projected the previous year. For example Harrison Barnes was projected to be a top two pick in last years draft but was not selected until the seventh pick by the Golden State Warriors. Although general onlooker would not consider this to be much of a drop off, financially it was a difference of nearly seven million dollars. Harrison Barnes was still fortunate to be selected in the first round because there were a few players projected to be top fifteen picks last year who fell out of the first round entirely.

  • Lesson 2: Get a physical before you declare, avoid red flags like you avoid fouls

Last night several young men dropped in the draft due to their failure to address injury issues before the NBA Draft Combine. Unfortunately, the agents for these young men failed them miserably, the flags discovered by team physicians could have been avoided completely. Jared Sullinger and Perry Jones III were both top ten talents that could have opted for surgery to address their ailments which may have prevented their free fall from the lottery to the back-end of the first round.

Royce White and his agent handled this situation remarkably, by using the 4 months before the draft combine to address his anxiety disorder and his fear of flying. They were rewarded for being proactive, this talented forward from Iowa State was selected in lottery by the Houston Rocket, way to go Royce White!

In closing, to all the young men aspiring of playing in the NBA I encourage you to trust no one: not your coaches, not your friends, and definitely not your agent. Each one is driven by their own ambitions of either getting another coaching extension or maximizing their profit margins.

Too the thousands of young boys striving to relief their family of the hardships of working double and triple shifts I remind you that shaking David Stern’s hand and being selected in the NBA Draft does not determine quality of life, you do. Less than 2% percent of the boys with this dream will achieve it, for the other 98% they will be tortured by the unknown, never forgetting the many opportunities lost in their quest to fulfill their dream of guarding Kobe Bryant or taking a charge from Dwight Howard. Stay tuned… I know I will. – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslpsprtz)

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