Recruiting Stability


Yesterday's USC agent summit focused primarily on football, but all the parties involved admitted the basketball system is as much, if not more, in need of an overhaul.

While collegiate football and baseball student-athletes are not draft eligible until three years out of high school, the men's basketball players have a decision to make after every season, which leaves them exposed to agents and bombarded by "advisers."

"I would absolutely be in favor of that," USC athletic director Pat Haden answered when asked if he would like to see basketball switch to a system similar to baseball.

"I would love to see that rule," he continued.  "It would make it a lot easier for us and a lot easier for our coaches."

KO-MoJo.jpgKevin O'Neill seconded the notion.

"Yes, it would be a great change," the men's hoops head coach said.  "We would have much more recruiting stability."

To that point, O'Neill will lead a team into Galen Center this Thursday and Saturday night with only one senior (Marcus Simmons), one junior (Nikola Vucevic) and one sophomore (the injured Evan Smith) that arrived at USC as freshmen. 

While high school baseball players are immediately eligible for the major league draft, they can see where they were picked and then bypass the pros for a minimum three-year commitment to a college program.

If basketball embraced that system, coaches would not have to worry about the instability of one-and-done student-athletes like DeMar DeRozan in 2008-09. 

It also might relieve the anxiety of instant stardom, which leads to transfers over playing time like the recent Bryce Jones' situation.

According to Haden, the NBA and their players' association would have to initiate any sweeping changes to the draft eligibility rules.

DeRozan led USC to a Pac-10 tourney title before being drafted in the NBA lottery.


Aren't Alex Stepheson and Donte Smith seniors?

Yes they are, but they both transferred after spending time at Mt.SAC (Smith) and UNC (Stepheson).

The article is about recruiting stability and being able to hold onto players that came to USC as freshmen.

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