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rocketeli
04-18-2015, 01:29 PM
This is my response to several threads but it didnít seem to be completely on topic for any, so I thought I would start a new one.

There have been, of course, a lot of posts about the pros and cons of leaving college early recently and two recurrent themes seem to always crop up: missing those great college years and you might end up (gasp) playing overseas.

To address the first, why do so many of us feel nostalgia for our college years?

Perhaps is for the following reasons.

Besides feeling young and healthy, it was the last time we could be our whole selves around others, to have friends that we gave our whole heart to, and they to us. In later life, we cannot do this. We are always sharing only a part of ourselves, as the boss, or the employee, or the doctor, or the church member, or the parent and so on.

And we had the gift of free time. What did we do all day, that kept us busy? Looking back on it from the perspective of busy adulthood one of the great things about college was having the time to relax, to drain that keg, and to do side activities.

And as for the things we were supposed to be doing, if we didnít do them, or didnít do them very well, the consequences were minor. Maybe we wouldnít get the best grade on that sociology paper or lab report, but thatís about it.

Your college experience has nothing to do with experience of players in an elite Division I revenue making sports activity.

That is, unless you had a physically and emotionally exhausting 40-60 hour a week plus job while you were going to school full time. A job where your performance review is provided by thousands, or millions of often mean-spirited strangers. And if you express your true thoughts, or engage in any foolish youthful behavior, expect that you will be pilloried by a proportion of those strangers, or lose your job and compromise your future.

So if you talk about the ďcollege experienceĒ keep in mind that what you remember fondly doesnít exist for these guys.

And then there is the allure of the pros.

Firstly, these guys are geniuses. People often use that word to mean someone who is very smart, but what it really means is someone who has no sense of proportion. A genius is someone who is driven to give their complete energy and focus to one thing. Sometimes that gives us organ transplants and exciting new consumer electronics. Sometimes it gives us the worldís largest ball or string or collection of Star Wars figurines.

Division I basketball stars are geniuses in the subject of basketball. Unlike most of us, it seems perfectly reasonable to them to spend hundreds of hours making tiny refinements on their jump shot, or doing leaping exercises, or leaving high school for weeks to travel around playing a game. Just as Harvard had nothing to offer the genius Bill Gates, English classes and sitting around on the quad have little to meet these guyís needs. Where they want to be is where the basketball is, 24/7/365 with no distractions.

And finally, on ending up overseas. I think a lot of posters are unaware of just how much money is on the table. I have meet with some people in this situation and I can inform you that a mediocre forward, someone who started or was a sixth man and averaged 10 and 6 can easily get a job making 500,000 dollars a year overseas. Maybe Kobe Bryant and his ilk wouldnít bend over to pick up half a million, but Iím guessing thatís more than most of us are making right now. The top countryís leagues pay between 500K and 2million a year, and more for stars, which is realistically a lot of money and for a shorter season than the NBA as well. Sure, everyone may dream of the big show, but you have maybe 10 years to capitalize on your basketball genius and the money is actually quite good. You can always go back to school when you are 33, but your basketball career will most likely be over. So donít cry for the guy in Europe strolling around some historic city with his seven figure salary contract in his pocket!

DukeandMdFan
04-20-2015, 12:17 AM
This is my response to several threads but it didnít seem to be completely on topic for any, so I thought I would start a new one.

To address the first, why do so many of us feel nostalgia for our college years?

Perhaps is for the following reasons.

Besides feeling young and healthy, it was the last time we could be our whole selves around others, to have friends that we gave our whole heart to, and they to us. In later life, we cannot do this. We are always sharing only a part of ourselves, as the boss, or the employee, or the doctor, or the church member, or the parent and so on.

And we had the gift of free time. What did we do all day, that kept us busy? Looking back on it from the perspective of busy adulthood one of the great things about college was having the time to relax, to drain that keg, and to do side activities.

And as for the things we were supposed to be doing, if we didnít do them, or didnít do them very well, the consequences were minor. Maybe we wouldnít get the best grade on that sociology paper or lab report, but thatís about it.

Your college experience has nothing to do with experience of players in an elite Division I revenue making sports activity.

And finally, on ending up overseas. I think a lot of posters are unaware of just how much money is on the table. I have meet with some people in this situation and I can inform you that a mediocre forward, someone who started or was a sixth man and averaged 10 and 6 can easily get a job making 500,000 dollars a year overseas.

I think you make several good points.

IMO, the main appeal of college was that it was the first time we were living on our own, where we could be with who we wanted to be with 24/7. We were in charge of our own time. We had classes we were expected to attend, but most of them could be skipped without anyone finding out about them. We could spend as much or as little time on our homework as we thought. We did our own laundry and thought we were taking care of ourselves.

At the time, I thought that the kids who didn't go to college were really missing out, but then I realized that they also had a first time living alone and doing what they wanted. (They probably had more responsibility in their job and making sure they could pay their bills...)

Regarding playing overseas, I'm surprised that the money is that good. I was thinking that most of them were getting low six-figures. Nevertheless, it is not what they dreamed of.

MCFinARL
04-20-2015, 02:06 PM
I think you make several good points.

IMO, the main appeal of college was that it was the first time we were living on our own, where we could be with who we wanted to be with 24/7. We were in charge of our own time. We had classes we were expected to attend, but most of them could be skipped without anyone finding out about them. We could spend as much or as little time on our homework as we thought. We did our own laundry and thought we were taking care of ourselves.

At the time, I thought that the kids who didn't go to college were really missing out, but then I realized that they also had a first time living alone and doing what they wanted. (They probably had more responsibility in their job and making sure they could pay their bills...)

Regarding playing overseas, I'm surprised that the money is that good. I was thinking that most of them were getting low six-figures. Nevertheless, it is not what they dreamed of.

I would argue that all college classes can be skipped without anyone finding out about them, pretty much by definition. :D

On the other hand, not all classes can be skipped without anyone finding out about it.

CrazyNotCrazie
04-20-2015, 02:40 PM
Good points raised above. The two additional reasons why I think some players "unexpectedly" leave early are a) they come from very difficult financial circumstances so any income they can get playing basketball, no matter how small, could help, and b) college is not for everyone, and they just might not like going to school and class (which is more required at some universities than others) so they are tired of wasting their time and energy doing so. Again, why waste time doing something you don't enjoy and don't find rewarding when you can move on to the rest of your life.

JasonEvans
04-20-2015, 03:11 PM
And finally, on ending up overseas. I think a lot of posters are unaware of just how much money is on the table. I have meet with some people in this situation and I can inform you that a mediocre forward, someone who started or was a sixth man and averaged 10 and 6 can easily get a job making 500,000 dollars a year overseas. Maybe Kobe Bryant and his ilk wouldn’t bend over to pick up half a million, but I’m guessing that’s more than most of us are making right now. The top country’s leagues pay between 500K and 2million a year, and more for stars, which is realistically a lot of money and for a shorter season than the NBA as well. Sure, everyone may dream of the big show, but you have maybe 10 years to capitalize on your basketball genius and the money is actually quite good. You can always go back to school when you are 33, but your basketball career will most likely be over. So don’t cry for the guy in Europe strolling around some historic city with his seven figure salary contract in his pocket!

Your foreign salary numbers are very deceptive. Yes, the top European teams will pay American starters $500k and up, but the vast majority of Americans playing overseas are making a lot worse than that and there are very few guys who go straight from college to earning $500k or more overseas. Those kind of dollars tend to be reserved for guys who have played a few seasons in the international leagues and proven their value, not for 19 or 20 year old rookies coming straight out of the college ranks.

-Jason "not to say that $150-250k is something to sneeze at, but that is a much more realistic number for all but the top American international players" Evans

awhom111
04-20-2015, 08:54 PM
This is my response to several threads but it didnít seem to be completely on topic for any, so I thought I would start a new one.

There have been, of course, a lot of posts about the pros and cons of leaving college early recently and two recurrent themes seem to always crop up: missing those great college years and you might end up (gasp) playing overseas.

To address the first, why do so many of us feel nostalgia for our college years?

Perhaps is for the following reasons.

Besides feeling young and healthy, it was the last time we could be our whole selves around others, to have friends that we gave our whole heart to, and they to us. In later life, we cannot do this. We are always sharing only a part of ourselves, as the boss, or the employee, or the doctor, or the church member, or the parent and so on.

And we had the gift of free time. What did we do all day, that kept us busy? Looking back on it from the perspective of busy adulthood one of the great things about college was having the time to relax, to drain that keg, and to do side activities.

And as for the things we were supposed to be doing, if we didnít do them, or didnít do them very well, the consequences were minor. Maybe we wouldnít get the best grade on that sociology paper or lab report, but thatís about it.

Your college experience has nothing to do with experience of players in an elite Division I revenue making sports activity.

That is, unless you had a physically and emotionally exhausting 40-60 hour a week plus job while you were going to school full time. A job where your performance review is provided by thousands, or millions of often mean-spirited strangers. And if you express your true thoughts, or engage in any foolish youthful behavior, expect that you will be pilloried by a proportion of those strangers, or lose your job and compromise your future.

So if you talk about the ďcollege experienceĒ keep in mind that what you remember fondly doesnít exist for these guys.

And then there is the allure of the pros.

Firstly, these guys are geniuses. People often use that word to mean someone who is very smart, but what it really means is someone who has no sense of proportion. A genius is someone who is driven to give their complete energy and focus to one thing. Sometimes that gives us organ transplants and exciting new consumer electronics. Sometimes it gives us the worldís largest ball or string or collection of Star Wars figurines.

Division I basketball stars are geniuses in the subject of basketball. Unlike most of us, it seems perfectly reasonable to them to spend hundreds of hours making tiny refinements on their jump shot, or doing leaping exercises, or leaving high school for weeks to travel around playing a game. Just as Harvard had nothing to offer the genius Bill Gates, English classes and sitting around on the quad have little to meet these guyís needs. Where they want to be is where the basketball is, 24/7/365 with no distractions.

And finally, on ending up overseas. I think a lot of posters are unaware of just how much money is on the table. I have meet with some people in this situation and I can inform you that a mediocre forward, someone who started or was a sixth man and averaged 10 and 6 can easily get a job making 500,000 dollars a year overseas. Maybe Kobe Bryant and his ilk wouldnít bend over to pick up half a million, but Iím guessing thatís more than most of us are making right now. The top countryís leagues pay between 500K and 2million a year, and more for stars, which is realistically a lot of money and for a shorter season than the NBA as well. Sure, everyone may dream of the big show, but you have maybe 10 years to capitalize on your basketball genius and the money is actually quite good. You can always go back to school when you are 33, but your basketball career will most likely be over. So donít cry for the guy in Europe strolling around some historic city with his seven figure salary contract in his pocket!


Your foreign salary numbers are very deceptive. Yes, the top European teams will pay American starters $500k and up, but the vast majority of Americans playing overseas are making a lot worse than that and there are very few guys who go straight from college to earning $500k or more overseas. Those kind of dollars tend to be reserved for guys who have played a few seasons in the international leagues and proven their value, not for 19 or 20 year old rookies coming straight out of the college ranks.

-Jason "not to say that $150-250k is something to sneeze at, but that is a much more realistic number for all but the top American international players" Evans

Yeah, I think the idea that overseas money is that easy to get is not quite right. Sure CSKA Moscow has a payroll of $45 Million and a handful of other elite European teams with payrolls about half that and all but the poorest teams in China can afford to pay $1 Million to their foreign players, but that is far from the reality for almost all players. Like Jason said, the teams that pay that kind of money are disinclined to hand it over to players with no track record at the level these teams play at and European elite teams almost always sign players with lower level European experience. The overseas career is great for the players who reach that elite level and really embrace their opportunities, but there are plenty of players who struggle due to team instability and not always getting paid on time or the right amount. Even $250,000 is a mark that players might not reasonably aspire to reach in Europe. There's a reason hundreds of solid pros with European experience flock to Las Vegas every summer to try out for executives of the Korean League who only have a few open player spots available with a $250,000 salary on offer. The world has plenty of American players, mostly four year college players, who keep their professional careers alive for $500 a week or less. Even getting to the point where you make six figures a year is a pretty monumental accomplishment as a professional basketball player.

Also, for all but a handful of youngsters coming out of high school, college is the only option for getting anything in return for playing basketball. It still takes a few years to develop into a professional caliber player for nearly all kids that age. They can get to the point where they are ready before four years are up, but going from high school or even prep school to that lifestyle immediately is a tough adjustment.

JasonEvans
04-21-2015, 12:32 PM
awhom has forgotten more about international basketball than I will ever know, but to echo his re-enforcement of my earlier comment, here is a bit of a story.

I am pretty good friends with a guy named Jeremiah Boswell. Jeremiah played at Columbia, where he was a solid player but never a star. He averaged close to 30 minutes per game from his soph-senior years and scored 9.6 ppg as a senior. Nothing too special, especially at an Ivy league school, not a big-time program.

After graduating, Boswell decided to try to make a go of it playing professionally overseas. He did pretty well for himself, landing jobs in Brazil, Bulgaria, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and Macedonia over the course of 6-7 years. I've never asked him what he made, but judging by the fact that he gave it up and the way he lives now, there's just no way he was clearing hundreds of thousands a year.

A couple years ago he gave up on it and decided to become a coach -- not of teams but to help really talented guys with individual skills. The Hawks hired him to work with their players and he does a lot of work with international players to hone their game so they will have a chance to compete in the NBA. He's been working with a ton of Chinese players lately. The cool thing is that he does all his workouts at my sons' high school, where he is working in the athletic department, so I sometimes wander into the gym and see him schooling some stud pro. For example, here is a pic of Boswell working last summer with James Harden: https://jeremiahboswell.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/screen-shot-2014-08-10-at-10-46-20-pm.png

And, just for fun, here's a pic of him with Coach K: https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/473846311171530753/U7j_NuWk.png

Anyway, my point here is that while playing overseas for a few years can be nice, it won't set you up for life unless you are among the top players in the top leagues. Trajan Langdon, who made millions playing for CSKA Moscow, was the exception, not the rule.

--Jason "I bet there are less than 20 Americans making more than a million a year playing international basketball" Evans

Henderson
04-21-2015, 06:43 PM
awhom has forgotten more about international basketball than I will ever know, but to echo his re-enforcement of my earlier comment, here is a bit of a story.

I am pretty good friends with a guy named Jeremiah Boswell. Jeremiah played at Columbia, where he was a solid player but never a star. He averaged close to 30 minutes per game from his soph-senior years and scored 9.6 ppg as a senior. Nothing too special, especially at an Ivy league school, not a big-time program.

After graduating, Boswell decided to try to make a go of it playing professionally overseas. He did pretty well for himself, landing jobs in Brazil, Bulgaria, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and Macedonia over the course of 6-7 years. I've never asked him what he made, but judging by the fact that he gave it up and the way he lives now, there's just no way he was clearing hundreds of thousands a year.

A couple years ago he gave up on it and decided to become a coach -- not of teams but to help really talented guys with individual skills. The Hawks hired him to work with their players and he does a lot of work with international players to hone their game so they will have a chance to compete in the NBA. He's been working with a ton of Chinese players lately. The cool thing is that he does all his workouts at my sons' high school, where he is working in the athletic department, so I sometimes wander into the gym and see him schooling some stud pro. For example, here is a pic of Boswell working last summer with James Harden: https://jeremiahboswell.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/screen-shot-2014-08-10-at-10-46-20-pm.png

And, just for fun, here's a pic of him with Coach K: https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/473846311171530753/U7j_NuWk.png

Anyway, my point here is that while playing overseas for a few years can be nice, it won't set you up for life unless you are among the top players in the top leagues. Trajan Langdon, who made millions playing for CSKA Moscow, was the exception, not the rule.

--Jason "I bet there are less than 20 Americans making more than a million a year playing international basketball" Evans

I think you just told a nice story of a player without NBA skills who played pro ball for years and is now coaching, but who also has a strong resume for whatever he wants to do in the future. Not a bad path. And not a bad anecdote to remember when folks make the NBA draft the sine qua non for college player success. OK, he didn't get rich playing basketball, but not every college grad gets rich in the years immediately following graduation. And pro basketball players don't work in cubicles.

awhom111
04-21-2015, 08:57 PM
awhom has forgotten more about international basketball than I will ever know, but to echo his re-enforcement of my earlier comment, here is a bit of a story.

I am pretty good friends with a guy named Jeremiah Boswell. Jeremiah played at Columbia, where he was a solid player but never a star. He averaged close to 30 minutes per game from his soph-senior years and scored 9.6 ppg as a senior. Nothing too special, especially at an Ivy league school, not a big-time program.

After graduating, Boswell decided to try to make a go of it playing professionally overseas. He did pretty well for himself, landing jobs in Brazil, Bulgaria, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and Macedonia over the course of 6-7 years. I've never asked him what he made, but judging by the fact that he gave it up and the way he lives now, there's just no way he was clearing hundreds of thousands a year.

A couple years ago he gave up on it and decided to become a coach -- not of teams but to help really talented guys with individual skills. The Hawks hired him to work with their players and he does a lot of work with international players to hone their game so they will have a chance to compete in the NBA. He's been working with a ton of Chinese players lately. The cool thing is that he does all his workouts at my sons' high school, where he is working in the athletic department, so I sometimes wander into the gym and see him schooling some stud pro. For example, here is a pic of Boswell working last summer with James Harden:
And, just for fun, here's a pic of him with Coach K:
Anyway, my point here is that while playing overseas for a few years can be nice, it won't set you up for life unless you are among the top players in the top leagues. Trajan Langdon, who made millions playing for CSKA Moscow, was the exception, not the rule.

--Jason "I bet there are less than 20 Americans making more than a million a year playing international basketball" Evans

20 is probably too low. There are probably at least that many Americans making that amount in China. I think 50 is a reasonable estimate between China and the bigger teams in Russia, Turkey, and Spain.

But again, that's such a small percentage of Americans who were solid college players who are still playing professionally. Most are closer to the story of your friend, playing as best as you can to earn that next contract, which often is not with the same team.

One thing that I also feel is overlooked, especially at the college programs with more money, is the better living situations. Instead of getting good training table meals, charter flights, and good hotels, players in the D League and overseas are generally going to have their teams try to keep costs down as much as possible. Cheaper motels, grocery store level food if it is even provided, and flying in coach if you are lucky enough to not be traveling by bus or train is what you can expect. Instead of your locker room and team facilities being nice places to hang out in when you're not in action, you will probably just want to get changed and go to your apartment.