Monday, April 9, 2012

Mr. Robinson Goes Pro

Thomas Robinson, Kansas Junior forward, will skip his senior season to go pro. He’s in better shape than Anthony Davis who will go pro after one year. Speculation is that Davis would have gone pro after High School, except that the NBA introduced a rule that you had to have at least one year of college before going pro.

I’m not sure of the why of that rule. Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett have both been very successful coming straight out of High School. They’ve both had fine careers, earned enough money to keep them living in high style from their retirement to their death. Of course that depends on how they’ve invested their high incomes thinking about the years of low incomes coming.

But will this “one and done” trend trickle down to our level?

There may be one NAIA player who has gotten a chance to make it in the pros. We occasionally get a baseball player scouted. I don’t think we’ve ever gotten a football player from the NAIA to the NFL. We don’t even get the TV coverage of NCAA III. It’s just not likely.
I met a potential student we were trying to recruit for our basketball team. “What are you going to do after college?” I asked. “I’m going to play basketball in Europe.” He’s not alone in that certainty that somewhere, somehow there is a professional sports check in his future. I like the confidence, but I sure hope we can help this young man get a reality check.

Otherwise we’re just using these young men and women. The odds are so stacked against them that they’re astronomical. And if “one and done” becomes the trend we’ll have a generation of athletes who have no higher level thinking skills, the skills that will be absolutely necessary to future success. Yes, there will still be a need for those who are skilled with their hands – but the folks who’ll be running the society are those who can think from a concrete situation to the abstract decision. The future belongs to those who are able to critically evaluate claims and adjudicate among options. We need highly educated citizens.

That takes time, reading, thinking, debating and mentoring. One and done won’t get you where you need to be.

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