"One-and-done" basketball players are becoming increasingly popular. While there may be many success stories, there are an equal amount of players who flopped. There is a reason that college is 4 years. Not only for the education aspect, which is just as important but the maturing process as well. Only a certain group of players are mature enough for the NBA, one year removed from being a senior in high school. It is hard for 18 and 19-year-olds to compete with grown men in their mid to late twenties. Physically and mentally, most players aren't ready for the NBA. The association has already banned players from coming straight out of high school and I wouldn't be surprised if they make players stay more than a year in college.
My advice to young college players aspiring to become an NBA player is to stay in college. You will always be able to go to the NBA in a few years and if that doesn't work out, you have a college degree. But then again what do I know? Here are the top 15 examples of players that should have stayed in college.
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15 Shawne Williams
In the 2006 NBA draft, Shawne Williams was drafted 17th overall by the Indiana Pacers. After just one year in college at Memphis, he decided to take the next step in his career. It was soon evident that he wasn't ready for the NBA. The transition between college and the pros is huge. It is a completely different game and any weaknesses in your game will be under the microscope and exploited in the pros.
He only averaged 5.5 points-per-game throughout his short career. He played for seven teams and six of those stints lasted just one season. In late 2014, he reflected on his career and some things he would have changed: "The stuff I've been through, I definitely learned from it," Williams said. "It just took a long time. Sometimes I think a lot of stuff I got away with when I was younger just caught up with me when I got older."
14 Henry (Bill) Walker
Henry Walker, formerly known as Bill Walker, left Kansas State University in 2008. He wasn't a one-and-done but he left early after only his second college season. He should have stayed for at least another season. He was then injury riddled in the early portion of his career after getting drafted in the second round. Playing a healthy season at Kansas State would have surely helped his draft stock but he failed to show patience in pursuing his NBA career. The Wizards took him in the second round, but he was quickly shipped to the Boston Celtics. After two sub-par seasons in Boston, Walker was sent to New York.
In his best season, which was in 2009-10, he averaged 12 points per game for the Knicks but it was all a mirage because that's twice as much as his career average. He last played in the 2014-15 season with Miami, but only managed to suit up for 24 games. He recently signed with the NLEX Road Warriors of the Philippine Basketball Association.
13 Donte Greene
Greene was born in Munich, Germany. Greene was a standout after his first year at Syracuse. In his lone season in college, Greene averaged 17.7 ppg and 7 rebounds. The Grizzlies selected Greene with the 28th pick in the first round of the 2008 draft.
He was traded around from the Grizzlies, to the Rockets, then ended up on the Kings who would assign him to their D-league team. His best NBA season came in 2009-10, when he managed to score 8.5 ppg. He was the first player the Kings ever sent to the D-league. Greene only suited up for the Kings as a player, as the previous trades for him all happened before he had played an NBA game. He was signed by the Brooklyn Nets in the summer of 2014 to play in the NBA Summer League, but by December of that year, he was out of the NBA altogether. Later that year, he joined Al-Nasr in Dubai.
12 Anthony Randolph
Randolph, another player born in Germany, seemed to be a very promising young prospect coming out of LSU. He knew he was going to be a first round pick so he took his talents to the NBA. The Warriors snagged him with the 14th pick in the 2008 draft which turned out to be a reach. Randolph was projected to be like Rudy Gay and needless to say, he did not meet those expectations. Perhaps he could have, if he has taken another year in college to work on his game.
He had an underwhelming rookie season but he seemed to be improving after his sophomore season. In 2010 he was traded to the Knicks which must have messed up his rhythm because his scoring decreased. He eventually went to the Timberwolves and teh Nuggets. He isn't even in the NBA anymore but he is playing in the Euroleague for PBC Lokomotiv Kuban.
11 Jereme Richmond
Jereme Richmond was a shooting guard/small forward who went to Illinois for a season. He made the ill-advised decision to declare for the draft after his freshman year. He didn't even get drafted. This was a huge mistake for Richmond because now he had to find an alternative option.
He decided to play in the Premier Basketball League. He also got in trouble with the law around the same time. He was probably frustrated about how his life was unfolding and he lashed out. He spent time in prison for aggravated assault and disorderly conduct. During his time in prison, Richmond said he was really depressed. Following his release in 2015, he said he was too dejected to even touch a basketball in the prison yard: " I couldn't stand playing," he said. "The thought of going from playing on ESPN to prison, that was my reality, and I couldn't stand it. I didn't even go to the gym."
10 Keith "Tiny" Gallon
"Tiny" Gallon played high school ball at the legendary Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. That alone put him on the radar for college scouts. He committed to Oklahoma and played there for one season. Despite his nickname, "Tiny" isn't too tiny. He is a 6'9 big man, who was drafted 47th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2010.
Coming out of college, an NCAA investigation was launched regarding Gallon's elligibility and this information scared some teams. Gallon told ESPN in 2010: "When the situation had happened at Oklahoma and I didn't know I was coming out, I just told myself I'm going to be ready for it."
He has a long history of being signed and then later waived by teams. This has happened to him on several occasions. Gallon never actually played in the NBA but he has played professional basketball in China and in the D-league.
9 Davon Jefferson
Davon Jefferson played collegiately at USC and was awarded Pac-10 first team All-Freshman honors. Sticking to the script, Jefferson left after his first year. Whether it was Jefferson who decided to do this or his agent, it turned out to be a very dumb decision.
He evaluated himself a little bit higher than NBA execs, going undrafted. While he certainly had some accolades in college, clearly NBA execs saw some weaknesses in his game and didn't feel comfortable taking him after just one year of college ball.
He still realized his dream by playing professional basketball, just not in the NBA. His career has taken him across several countries. He has played in Israel, Russia, South Korea, Dubai and Puerto Rico. He is still playing today for Capitanes de Arecibo. In 2015, he was kicked off his team for stretching during the Korean National Anthem.
8 Daniel Orton
Daniel Orton is a 6'10 center who played for the University of Kentucky for a season. In his single season he averaged a whopping 3 points, 3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, and saw himself fit to declare for the draft. While scoring points isn't always a center's primary job the fact that his totals were so low should have been a red flag tor teams.
Surprisingly he got drafted in the first round by the Magic. Unfortunately for the Magic, he was no better than he was in college. After three seasons in the league, one with the Magic, one with the Thunder, and one with the Sixers, he gave up his NBA dream. Orton was never able to average more than three points a game, so it was of no surprise that his NBA career was so short. He went overseas to other basketball leagues to find more success. He recently signed with the Hunan Yongsheng of the Chinese NBL.
7 Marquis Teague
Marquis Teague, unfortunately, isn't having as good of a career as his all-star brother Jeff. In 2010 Teague was a highly-recruited prospect. He shunned many interested schools in favor of Kentucky. Teague averaged 10 points-per-game in his freshman year at UK and won a national championship with them. After that, he declared for the draft. While some might say it is a good idea to declare for the NBA draft coming off a championship, titles are won with a team, not because an individual player is ready to be a pro.
He was taken in the first round at 29th overall by the Chicago Bulls, but wasn't ready for the NBA. After struggling with the Bulls, he got signed by the Iowa Energy but soon after got recalled. He later tried to revive his career by playing for the Brooklyn Nets, but now he is back in the D-league with Oklahoma City's affiliate.
6 Josh Selby
Josh Selby was a big time recruit coming out of high school. He decided to join the Kansas Jayhawks. He was suspended for a good portion of his freshman season. In 2011, he declared for the draft. That was a big mistake as being suspended for a good portion of the season clearly hurt his development and draft stock. The fact that he went 49th overall probably had him immediately regretting his decision. Another year in college surely would have seen his draft stock rise if he had been able to play for a full season.
He was drafted by the Grizzlies 49th overall and joined the team with other Kansas teammates. He got sent down to the D-league in February of 2012. That year Selby played extremely well in the summer league and won co-MVP honors with Damian Lillard. Boy, did these two have extremely opposite careers.
5 Byron Mullens
Byron Mullens played at Ohio State for one season and averaged 8 points-per-game in 2o minutes per game. Mullens was actually considered a top prospect in the 2008 NBA Draft with some even giving him the nod over top players like Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook. Mullens was full of athleticism, as he could do a between-the-legs dunk. There were clear deficiencies in his game, that could have been cleaned up after another year at Ohio State. He often struggled defensively and failed to dominate in the paint. NBA teams just couldn't resist though.
Mullens got drafted by the Mavericks and was immediately traded to the Thunder. In his career, he has mainly been a journeyman playing for the Thunder, Bobcats, Clippers, and Sixers.
He also has played for many teams outside of the NBA. His two seasons with the Bobcats actually weren't bad but his stats may have been aided by dreadful roster in Charlotte.
4 Austin Rivers
Austin Rivers now finds himself on a good team in Los Angeles, but he's not exactly what steers the boat. He's a complimentary piece at best and his career could have taken a turn for the better if he was a little more patient in his college years. Rivers played at Duke for one season and played well. He was mostly a scorer, averaging nearly 16 points per game but only 2 assists. After his his freshman year he declared for the draft and got drafted by the Hornets/Pelicans.
New Orleans also had the first pick in the draft and snagged a player you might have heard of, Anthony Davis. Unfortunately, Rivers never had the success that Davis did although that would be hard.
He has yet to average double-digit points in the NBA. Currently, Rivers plays for his dad with the Clippers and it's hard to imagine that many teams would be interested in his services.
3 Jerryd Bayless
Jerryd Bayless played for the Arizona Wildcats for a season before entering the NBA draft. He led the team in scoring, averaging almost 20 points per game in his freshman season which is impressive by any standards. His Wildcats didn't go too far in the March Madness tournament and he declared for the NBA Draft, forgoing his remaining three years of eligibility.
He got drafted 11th overall by the Pacers but never played for them. The first team he played for was the Trail Blazers. He hasn't played overseas like a lot of the players on this list, but he has been a journeyman. He has been on many teams and has been a solid backup for some years now. You have to think that another year in school would have given him more tools to succeed in the NBA, and not just get by as a journeyman.
2 Anthony Bennett
Anthony Bennett might be the worst first pick in NBA history if he doesn't turn his career around fast. That was the last thing in the Cavs' minds though when they were drafting him. Coming out of UNLV, the Canadian scored 16 points-per-game and grabbed 8 boards. There was no consensus #1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft so when Bennett went first some were a little surprised. Bennett has averaged abysmal 4.2 points per game so far in his career. He needs a kick-start on a new team.
While Bennett would have slid down draft boards had he stayed another year in college (there's no way the Cavaliers would have considered him over Andrew Wiggins) he would have worked out his deficiencies as a player and might have landed in a better situation. The LeBron-less Cavs were not the ideal team for a young player like Bennett to begin his career.
1 Michael Beasley
Beasley was a standout since his AAU days. Playing alongside Kevin Durant and other great young players. Beasley went to six different high schools one of them being Oak Hill Academy. As a senior he averaged 28 points and 16 rebounds a game. When he got to Kansas State, he seemed to be a sure thing in the NBA. His game translated perfectly to the collegiate level. He broke many records throughout all of college basketball. I can't blame Beasley for leaving. He was drafted 2nd overall by the Heat. He didn't live up to the hype however.
In the NBA he had too many off the court issues and it hurt his play. Another year in college would have done wonders for Beasley. Think about when you were in your late teens and early 20s and think about how much you matured year by year. Who knows he could have been a perennial all-star playing with the likes of LeBron and Durant.
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