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Friday, April 11
Pros and cons of high schoolers going pro

By Fred Carter
Special to

Why high school kids should go pro
1. Time: Most people don't realize the amount of teaching these kids receive in the NBA before and after practice. In college there are time restraints on how long a player can be in the gym. In the pros there are no limitations, and these kids are practicing and playing with the best players in the world.

2. The second contract: By going straight to the pros, players can get started in the salary-cap system right away. The quicker you get to the league, the quicker you get out of your first contract -- which is automatic for first-rounders, based on draft position -- and into the second, big-money contract. If a super-talented high school player goes to college, he's missing out on four years of being paid to learn how to play professional basketball.

3. All about the cash: The point of college is to receive a better education to increase your ability to make more money. The best high school players can bypass college and go straight to the money. As Rod Tidwell said in "Jerry Maguire": "Show me the money!"

Why high school kids shouldn't go pro
1. Maturity: Most kids coming out of high school lack physical and mental maturity. After games, some NBA players will go to bars and clubs, but these kids have to return to their hotels for video games. For the most part, there's no one his age on the team who can understand what he's going through.

2. Bad elements: There are too many bad elements out there for an 18- or 19-year-old kid to become involved with. It's one of the reasons that NBA players will pay for their friends from the old neighborhood to hang out with them. It makes it easier for them to know who their real friends are and who's there just for the money.

3. Work ethic: A young high school kid usually doesn't realize how hard he has to work in the NBA and is left shell-shocked. He's been Big Man On Campus in high school, and suddenly he isn't the biggest, strongest or fastest anymore. It's a huge adjustment.

Fred Carter is an NBA analyst for ESPN.

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