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What Jim Boeheim Said About Darius Bazley and Why He is Wrong

Darius Bazley shocked the Syracuse community and the basketball community when he announced his decommitment from Syracuse in favor of playing in the NBA’s G-Leaguge. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim went on ESPN’s Golic and Wingo on Monday to discuss Bazley’s decision and how he sees it impacting college basketball in the future.

I think it will be proven it’s not the way to get to the NBA. … The last 48 McDonald’s All-Americans, 47 of them went to college. Of the next 48, 48 will go to college. It’s the best route.

Boeheim clearly believes that Bazley will not be the trend-setter that the 18-year-old hopes he is. Boeheim is correct in saying that almost all of the top players in recent years have chosen to go to college to develop their game before the NBA. What Boeheim is neglecting is that these guys never had a choice. Since the NBA decided that kids can’t declare for the draft right out of high school, they have had little choice but to be one-and-dones. Now, the NBA offers an alternative. By playing in the G-League, Bazley will get paid, control his own likeness for the sake of endorsements and sponsors and play under the eyes of NBA scouts and NBA talent every single day.

It’s very hard now to go from the G-League to the NBA because every NBA team has 17 players. The G-League has 300 players  in it. How many of those guys, where is the room in the NBA for those guys? There isn’t room.

This is a ridiculous statement. Comparing Bazley to the likes of Rakeem Christmas is unfair to Bazley. He is using the G-League as a stepping stone. To say that there are 300 players in the G-League and there isn’t room for them in the NBA is crazy. This season, more than 4,500 men participated in Division I college basketball this year. How many of them will get into the NBA? How much room is there for them? Many of the guys in the G-League are G-League players. There are guys on one-way contracts where they are just G-League players, not in play to get called up to the Association. This argument makes little sense.

“Trae Young is the best example. If he came out last year he’s the 30th pick in the draft. Maybe. He goes to college, he’s at worst in the Top 10 because college helps you”

This is completely true. College basketball helped Trae Young go from non-entity to superstar and lottery pick. But success in college and having success in the G-League aren’t mutually exclusive. Boeheim seems to be jumping to the conclusion that because kids have made a name for themselves playing college basketball, it is the only way to do it. That is absurd. A year from now, we may see that Bazley was able to do quite well for himself in the G-League.

College basketball is changing and will continue to change. Players and the public are questioning the logic behind not paying these athletes and not allowing them to make money more than ever. Do not be surprised if more and more “one-and-done” type talents elect to forgo college basketball for some sort of professional experience. Boeheim may want to bury his head in the sand and say things aren’t changing but they are. And it will be for the better for these kids and college basketball.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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