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ICYMI: Wesley declares for NBA Draft

By Jamison Cook | April 10
ICYMI: Wesley declares for NBA Draft
Notre Dame freshman guard Blake Wesley shoots against Rutgers in the First Four (Photo Credit: Andy Lyons - Getty Images)

Wesley's decision to move on to pros sparks debate

Picture this: you are offered two different jobs at the same time. One of them offers a partially guaranteed multi-million-dollar salary, the chance to travel the country, the prospect of working alongside the best professionals in your field and has lots of opportunities for growth. The second job also offers the chance to travel and compete alongside elite competition, but there is no salary and just a small chance for income on the side.

Seems like a no-brainer, right? But still, every year when college basketball players decide to forego the rest of their college eligibility and enter the NBA Draft, people always have something to say. The news of Notre Dame freshman Blake Wesley choosing to leave for the draft on March 30th brought this debate back into the limelight here on campus.

Wasting their chance to get a degree, thinking of only themselves instead of the team, and not being ready for the next level are a few of the classic criticisms I hear of college basketball players leaving early. Let’s take a look at each of them.

In terms of wasting their chance to get a college degree, many college basketball players never come to college with the intention of graduating. Due to the rule that prohibits college students from heading straight from high school to the NBA, a large number of players are forced to make a pit stop in college. While a degree can definitely be useful post-basketball, most players who are good enough to leave school early will make enough to last the rest of their lives – and change the lives of those they love – if they are smart with their money.

The thought that players are thinking selfishly and not considering their team when they decide to leave early is one that fails to recognize the difference in player’s priorities. Yes, some athletes come to college to compete for four seasons and get a degree during their last years as an athlete. Others, such as those hoping to be lottery picks, come to college because they have to before they rightfully get paid to play. Also, if you need more proof of teammates supporting their peers who declare for the draft, see the comments on Wesley’s recent Instagram post. News flash: they are all happy for him.

The argument that athletes are not ready for the next level is probably the most legitimate argument against players like Wesley leaving for the draft early. Critics cite the development of players like Purdue’s Jaden Ivey as the standard to better prepare oneself for the draft. However, playing against the best players in the world every day in practice seems like a great way to improve if you ask me, and this is exactly what Wesley will get in the NBA.

All I ask is that people just let the kids make the choice that is best for them. And, just for a second, put yourself in the situation. That money sure is tempting.