Perry Jones is still a Baylor Bear. Jared Sullinger is still an Ohio State Buckeye. Mason Plumlee is still a Duke Blue Devil. John Henson, Tyler Zeller, and unofficially Harrison Barnes are still North Carolina Tar Heels. Despite being consensus lottery picks, this group of young men followed the norm of yesteryear and passed on becoming millionaires for a year.
The NBA lockout looming is on the mind of most underclassmen and the NCAA should be grateful. Rather than be drafted and sit in limbo awaiting a collective bargaining agreement, college stars are choosing to hone their game for another season. Couple these returning blue chips with the talented class of freshman coming to a campus near you and this should make for the most compelling college season in quite some time. The 2011 NBA draft will almost assuredly be a snooze further driving home that old saying “you reap what you sow”.
Assuming the NBA can bounce back from the backlash of the lockout, it too will benefit. The 2012 draft could be the most talent laden draft since the vaunted 1996 draft assuming underclassmen return to leaving early. That is assuming the NBA doesn’t institute a two years of college rule in the collective bargaining process. The NBA will suffer from the impending lockout, but the effect of it could could bring back the nostalgia of what once was…drafts filled with talent and a college game that served as more than a two semester boarding house.