JUMP OR STAY?
Here's my opinion on the NBA draft Thursday ... How desperate is the NBA?
OK, I understand youth is important in building a team but is it necessary to have a high schooler become the cornerstone of a franchise?
It saddens me that high schoolers pass up college to experience the real deal in professional basketball. Charlotte drafted a potential superstar in Emeka Okafor of UConn.
Okafor fooled everyone during March Madness saying his back was not 100 percent. When he was needed, he rose to the occasion. How many of these high school draft picks experienced a similar feeling comparable to winning a college national championship?
There are too many questions and not enough answers. Most would agree the bling bling is a reason for these high schoolers to jump to the NBA.
One of the surprises of last year's NBA draft was No. 1 pick LeBron James.
I love his game. James did not succumb to the pressure in his rookie year. He got the ultimate diss when he was not selected for the NBA All-Star game. Just wait, he'll use it next year to show up those coaches who passed over him.
He did not lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to the playoffs, but he's one heck of a player. He handled the media criticism and bling bling with poise.
Dwight Howard, this year's No. 1 pick, looks like another Kevin Garnett. Garnett jumped to the NBA from high school; it took him a couple years to make it big.
Howard is on the cover of ESPN. When I saw that magazine in my mailbox, I had to chuckle. Here's a kid supposedly going to save the worst team in the NBA. That's a whole lot of unwanted pressure and responsibility, if you ask me.
I'm a huge fan of T-Mac; I hope he leaves the Orlando Magic for a shot at an NBA title. Drafting Howard is a start for the Magic in a direction I do not really understand.
I never played high school basketball. Covering basketball during the state playoffs is exciting. I should know, since I've been watching it for the past 2 1/2 years as a sports writer for The Observer.
At times, I wish I could be on the basketball court and hit the game-winning shot or steal the ball on a crucial last-second play. I know my dream of making the WNBA is very slim.
I think it is a step in the right direction for women's basketball players to have a professional league. I don't know of any WNBA draftee jumping from high school. Doesn't that say something about women?
Women don't jump from high school to the pros because they value getting a higher education.
Maybe these high school boys should think twice about skipping college. Why not play for Duke or UConn or North Carolina?
The college game is not perfect, but at least it provides three or four years of getting needed experience. Once these boys graduate from college, they can do whatever they please. It's nice to have basketball skills; it's smart to have a degree to fall back on if a professional career goes down the tank or a severe injury limits playing time.
The high school boys should pay attention to what the women are doing. The WNBA may not be a must-see event on TV, but at least its players have degrees and a deep passion to play ball. They got skills.
How many high school boys basketball players have more than just skills in them?
Raenelle Kwock is The Observer sports writer.