Highschoolers have right idea in skippinng college for NBA money | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Highschoolers have right idea in skippinng college for NBA money

Put another 9 inches on Whittell High senior basketball player Bryan Sigel and he might be a first-round pick in the NBA Draft in June.

Any big man that dominates high school basketball these days doesn’t hesitate to apply for the draft. And who can blame them?

Look at the latest enlistees: 7-foot-1 center Tyson Chandler of Dominguez, Calif., and 6-11 Eddy Curry of South Holland, Ill. Both of these young men will almost certainly go high in the draft’s first round. Some draft insiders believe that the Chicago Bulls will take Curry first and Golden State Warriors will grab Chandler third if the Ping-Pong balls bounce accordingly.

Each player took most of their senior season before deciding to trade in their books and college stardom to earn millions sitting on the bench in the NBA.

Just think of how much money they’ll lose if they spend four or five years in college: at least $10 million. They don’t have their high school diplomas yet, but they’re smart enough to know that you can’t earn jack like that in college, no matter how crooked the school is.

Who’s to say if they’d ever develop enough in college or remain healthy to rate as a first-round pick four years down the road. Curry and Chandler have the NBA’s attention now, even though they may never start in the pros.

“There was really no reason to hold off anymore,” Curry told SLAM Magazine. “Knowing I’d be a high draft pick had a lot to do with it, and my parents did a lot of research, talked to a lot of people and heard that I’d probably be a top-five pick.”

They only need to look at the success of Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, Indiana Pacers’ Jermaine O’Neal, Timberwolves franchise player Kevin Garnett and Tracy McGrady of the Orlando Magic for inspiration. While Bryant and McGrady were almost instant sensations, O’Neal and Garnett served some time on the bench but never became content making their millions sitting down.

South Tahoe High fans saw Chandler play as a gangly 6-11 Dominguez freshman in the Viking Classic. At the time he looked like his only ticket to the NBA was as a ball boy, but three years later Chandler has joined the almost exclusive 7-foot club and wouldn’t benefit much by dunking over 6-9 and 6-10 college centers over the next four years. Chandler has shown good shooting range but needs to add some muscle if he wishes to take on Alonzo Mourning and Shaq.

Curry has been on TV more than college centers from Kansas, North Carolina and UCLA in 2001 and has demonstrated that he’s tough to stop in the low block. Highlights from his Thornwood games were shown on FOX Sports’ Chicago Preps throughout the season, revealing suspect range and questionable quickness. He may be more of a risk than Chandler and take more time to develop.

DaJuan Wagner of Camden, N.J., did something this prep season that Chandler and Curry will never do – net 100 points – but at 6-2 he has no desire to go the pros yet. He’ll play next year for John Calipari at Memphis.

Size, not scoring average, allows players to bypass college ball nowadays, just like Moses Malone and Darryl Dawkins capitalized on it decades earlier.

* * *

If Michael Jordan really is serious about making a return to the NBA next season that could mean bad news to South Shore fans who hope to see him up close this summer.

In an effort to reach his own heights of play, Jordan would likely spend his summer honing his basketball skills, not his golf game. Hence, he’d likely skip the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship in July at Edgewood Tahoe.

That’s the price of a Jordan comeback. Then again, it would be nice to see Jordan operate every other night during the winter instead of relying on the ESPN Classic Sports channel to see his tongue-wagging performances every once in a while.

* * *

Watching Jordan lay the foundation for his comeback has been intriguing. Although he has yet to confirm his comeback 100 percent, the hiring of Doug Collins as coach and reports of Charles Barkley joining him in Washington seem to point to MJ’s return.

Those two won’t be enough to bring Jordan a seventh title, but the addition of Chris Webber (sorry Kings) and Scottie Pippen certainly would provide the Wizards with more than enough firepower to give the franchise its first title since Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld won it all in 1978. While he’s at it, maybe Jordan can talk Magic Johnson or Larry Bird out of retirement, too.

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