The NBA is worth the wait

first_imgPlease don’t go. I know USC “expects to return all its starters,” but in this world of one-and-done and million dollar rookie contracts, who could blame a 19-year-old for jumping ship?I am a wholehearted supporter of collegiate basketball players staying in school and not leaving early for the NBA. The NBA and the NCAA should be supporting this as well for many reasons.The quality of basketball at both the collegiate and NBA level would improve — that is something that benefits both organizations as well as the players. In the world of college athletics where perennial powerhouses Duke and Kentucky are pumping out lottery picks in every draft, there is something endearing about watching a team like Virginia or Oklahoma who have fostered a superstar over the course of time and are now reaping the benefits.The debate this year turns to LSU’s freshman Ben Simmons versus Oklahoma’s senior Buddy Hield, both near locks for the lottery. Perhaps Simmons has more potential to be a LeBron-esque superstar, but Hield is a senior and with three more years of experience, training and maturity, thus poses the safer pick for teams this summer. This debate is all without even knowing who will be injured when and not accounting for the development that each player will put in with their respective team throughout the offseason to improve, but the same debate happens at nearly every college once the season ends — should our guys stay or go?The answer is almost always: They should stay.There is the possibility for USC to build a sustainable success that goes beyond just one year with marginal postseason results and develop the talent and chemistry of this group to make more than one deep run into March — this doesn’t happen if players start leaving for the NBA.Sure none of our players are lottery picks, but that doesn’t mean someone wouldn’t draft them in one of the later rounds. However, that prospect is especially inadvisable for the player. Why risk not making a team and floating around in the D-League for a few years when you can stay at USC in the glorious sunshine of Los Angeles, go to class four or five days a week and play basketball with a group of guys who you share the Trojan ties with?The benefit that comes from staying in college and improving over the course of one or two more seasons can translate to millions of dollars and an elongated period of success for these prospects.The team also benefits from the players sticking around longer. The intangibles that are developed over the course of time for a team are something that make Oklahoma more appealing to the eye than Kentucky. The team chemistry is there. The dedication is there. The connection to the players is there.Last summer, the men’s basketball team traveled to Italy to play summer basketball. Not only is that a trip that those guys are going to remember for the rest of their lives, but the experiences both on and off the court that the team shares are what make a difference on the court in the long run. Baylor’s team imploded during their first round loss to Yale last weekend. Cameras showed teammates shoving each other and verbally fighting during a huddle. That does not translate to a winning culture on the court. Chemistry, friendship and camaraderie are what prevent these types of events from happening, and that can only happen when the whole team is all in over the course of their four-year stay at the University.So please don’t leave for the NBA if you are considering it. Give USC a little more time. I know you don’t owe anyone here anything, but imagine what you and the rest of your teammates could build together with the Trojan Family rooting you on.Another season is going to give you a whole new batch of stories and memories to share the rest of your life, not to mention the accolades that you and the team will be able to earn.This season was great. It was a breakout year for USC, but let’s keep building on that. I’ll see you all at the Galen Center in November.Hailey Tucker is a sophomore majoring in broadcast and digital journalism. She is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, “Tucker Talks,” runs every other Wednesday.last_img