Terrance Ferguson took the unconventional route by forgoing college and spending a year playing basketball overseas.
With the NBA Draft approaching, Ferguson has been making his rounds and working out with various teams hoping to improve his draft stock. After his date with the Charlotte Hornets, he told reporters about his decision to play professionally in Australia.
“I feel like more players should (play professionally overseas),” said Ferguson. “At college, the only people making money off you are the coaches. You’re not making anything off your jersey sales, ticket sales.
“Go overseas and get your money’s worth. Get paid for what you’re doing.”
College sports are infamous for making money (nearly $1 billion in 2016) off their athletes, and it’s a topic that’s very divisive — people either want the athletes paid, or they don’t. There’s no middle ground. Basketball and football are put under a more intense microscope because they’re the most popular sports.
Ferguson, a former five-star recruit, raises a valid point. Under the current rules, prospects are required to spend one year removed from high school upon entering the NBA Draft. For most, the NCAA’s extra publicity goes a long way. It’s easier for scouts to see you, especially if you’re at a big school. Ferguson had intended to go to Arizona, but college basketball’s flawed system certainly played a part in his decision.
“I think I’m way more prepared than any other college player,” continued Ferguson. That feeling comes from playing against guys who are already professionals. The competition may not be the best, but I imagination it’s close to the NBA regarding physicality. College athletes are still developing once they hit the league.
As it stands, Ferguson is a projected late first-rounder after one year with the Adelaide 36ers.
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The one-and-done rule is another divisive topic. Some believe the players should be able to go straight out of high school; others think one year should be raised to two. What Ferguson’s doing isn’t unprecedented. Brandon Jennings did it in 2009, and Thon Maker and Emmanuel Mudiay are two of the most recent guys not to go to college before entering the NBA Draft. They were all lottery picks.
College brings extra exposure, but also elevated expectations because it’s so easy to pick apart someone’s game. Players who go international don’t have to deal with that, and it could work out better for them because no one’s planning for them to become a star after a stellar season at Duke, Kentucky, Kansas or any other big school.
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