Anthony Davis, Anthony Bennett, Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns. What do these names mean to you? These are the last four first-picks in the 2015 NBA draft. All of which played only one year in college and then declared for the draft. It is no lie that college basketball has been dominated by freshman for the better part of the last decade, but in 2015-16, things have changed.
Now what do the names Buddy Hield, Denzel Valentine, Malcolm Brogdon, and Brice Johnson mean to you? Well according to ESPN, they are the top four candidates for the J.R. Wooden award. The J.R. Wooden award is given to the best player in college basketball. It is similar to the Heisman Trophy in football. The four men I just mentioned are seniors and have stuck with their program for four or five years to make themselves better. Personally, I think the NCAA should change their rules so that players cannot leave after just one year. It takes away the competitive nature, and makes college ball just a stopping point for most players on their way to the big bucks.
The fact that seniors are taking over this season is refreshing, because they really deserve praise for sticking it out and getting their degree. I am a huge Oklahoma Sooners fan, and the starting five for the Sooners consists of three seniors, a junior and a sophomore. One of the seniors just happens to be Buddy Hield, the favorite right now for the Wooden award. Hield is averaging 25.4 PPG, which is second in the nation. He has eight 30-point games, and the closest player to him in that category only has two. Besides those two points, all of his late game heroics have boosted his status as an Oklahoma legend.
Now I know it might seem that I am a little biased, and I am. But I do not want to take anything away from Hield, Valentine, Brogdon, and Johnson and what they have done to get where they are.
The sad truth is that when NBA scouts look for players, they take the players age into account. This is one reason why freshman are so valuable. If you were a GM wouldn’t you rather have a 19-year-old kid come into your program instead of a 23-year-old? If they are younger, you have a couple more years to mold them and make them into a star. This is logical and I understand it, but it doesn’t mean that the senior players listed above are not capable of being great players in the NBA.
This year will stand out to many as the year of the senior, and people who love sports should enjoy it while they can. This is how college basketball should be; unfortunately we don’t know when it will be like this again. So next time you see a men’s college basketball game on your television, sit down; I promise you won’t be disappointed.