Daishen Nix skips college basketball year in waiting – and college hoops will be better for it

This is Daishen Nix. He’s going to the G League. You will not watch G League games because he plays there.

Five star recruit Daishen Nix has decommitted from UCLA, and will join the growing number of NBA hopefuls who will jump straight from high school to the G-League.

Some are predicting a bleak future for college basketball because talented teens like Nix are shifting holding areas from college programs to the NBA’s feeder league.  Not me.  I’m thrilled.

I’m confused by the notion that pro ready collegians like Zion Williamson are more valuable to for college hoops as they wait for the millions awaiting them in the NBA than the more traditional four-year players who will never sniff an NBA contract.

Click here for your copy of “Oops – the Art of Learning from Mistakes and Adventures” by Kent Sterling

College basketball is about programs – not stars.  At Indiana, who was more important and better loved by Hoosiers fans – Romeo Langford or Jordan Hulls?  How about comparing the impact of Eric Gordon versus Christian Watford?

Neither Langford nor Gordon would have played a minute of college basketball if NBA rules allowed high school seniors to go straight to the league rather than participate in a sham year of college.  Of course, that rule benefits the NBA much more than the college basketball.  The best players are showcased and branded through their year of college ball, and the year of experience toward max contract eligibility is pushed forward a year.

The NBA wasn’t born yesterday.  The only people harmed by the one-and-done rule have been players who are forced to bide their time playing for a school from which most of them will never graduate.  Now, they can go to the G League to earn more than they would have made in college but less than an NBA contract pays.

Somehow, someway, many predict it’s the college game that will be hurt by the absence of freshmen like Jalen Green, Isaiah Todd, and Nix.  The truth is, even the most ardent basketball fans would know any of these three if they bumped into them on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill or Kirkwood Avenue in Bloomington.

So we can agree that college fans won’t miss what they don’t know, right?

Okay, the argument must be that because these young men are really talented, G League teams will somehow gain popularity.  Let’s see how many problems with that theory I can come up with in 90 seconds:

  • No one belongs to Fort Wayne.  Nothing against the Mad Ants, but for two years I lived in a dorm across 17th Street from Assembly Hall.
  • Whether Green, Todd, and Nix are crazy talented or not, I have no love for them.  Hell, I have only a vague understanding that they exist.
  • I don’t know what a Mad Ant, Blue Coat, or a Skyhawk is, but I see a Hoosier when I look in the mirror.
  • March Madness is my favorite sporting event, but I have watched only two G League playoff games in my life.
  • I can name every basketball coach in the Big 10, but only one coach in the G league – Steve Gansey from the Pacers affiliate in the G League.
  • Until 2005, high school players could go straight to the NBA, and college basketball continued to grow.
  • Roughly one-half million college students attend a Big 10 university and develop a deep loyalty to that institution.  That entrenched affinity does not exist in the G League no matter how talented the 19-year-olds are.
  • The college basketball programs I detest outnumber the G League franchises whose existence I am aware of.

Pretty good list for a minute and a half!

I feel very comfortable that the popularity of college basketball will continue to expand with rosters entirely comprised of players who are both students striving to earn a degree in four year and athletes working hard to reach their potential.

If players who go to college excel to the point where NBA teams covet them – I have no problem with their leaving for millions.  That’s fine, but I would like every college player to be bonafide members of their university’s community of students before declaring for the draft.

That might be pie in the sky thinking, but the point is that college basketball is going to thrive with traditional one-and-dones running through the G League instead of the college game.

One thought on “Daishen Nix skips college basketball year in waiting – and college hoops will be better for it

  1. Jim

    It actually levels the playing field and makes March Madness even more competitive. The one-and-domes tend to play for a small number of blue blood programs and their absence makes everything more interesting.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *