The decision by SMU recruit Emmanuel Mudiay to skip college and play overseas is an interesting one, and it doesn't matter why he made that choice.
SMU says it is not an academic problem, and Mudiay simply wants to start taking care of his family (and getting paid to play overseas is a way to do that).
It might not be that simple, but here's a simple question: Why does a young man have to leave the country to get paid for the job he wants, when getting paid to play a game is the only job that makes you do that?
If Steven Spielberg wants you in a movie, no one says you have to wait.
Heck, Doogie Howser was a doctor at 14.
Mudiay is said to be an outstanding basketball player; SMU coach Larry Brown calls him one of the best he's seen at that age. But the NCAA says he can't be paid, and the nba says he can't be drafted until he's 19, and a year out of high school.
Why... if making money is the goal (and an NBA team is willing to draft him, especially with the development league they have now)... why does he have to leave America to get a check?
If playing overseas to get a check now is such a good choice, then why doesn't everybody?
Since I never went to college, I've always thought that everybody should, and I still think that way.
But I also think a lot of kids can't, and a lot of kids won't. And if that young kid has the talent to get paid now, it's not the NBA's role to prop up the college game (and it seems to me it's the only reason we have such a rule).
The NFL makes players wait three years to be drafted. They let college be their "free" minor league.
Major League Baseball will take a kid out of high school (if they're willing to take a smaller check). Go to a major school, they have to wait three years. They can go to junior college for a year and then be drafted again... and I can't begin to understand the thinking behind any of that.
But I know this: If these pro leagues had the right answer, they'd all have the same answer, and they don't.
The argument about paying kids in college ... forcing them to wait for a chance in the pros... is like the immigration argument to me.
I don't claim to have all the answers (and maybe I don't have any), but I know that reasonable people could find a better way if they would try, and I don't understand why so many people are afraid to try.