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Early NBA entries miss more than education


Eddie Griffin, Seton Hall's 6-foot-9 diaper dandy, has made it official that he will no longer play college basketball. He will be part of the NBA draft and take his talents to the next level.

It really amazes me when young players leave college and give up the greatest years of their lives. I only can think of the face of Chicago Bulls forward Elton Brand as he stood in the stands, cheering for his former Duke teammates in Minneapolis.

Eddie Griffin
Eddie Griffin will find college-like D in the NBA next season.

You can only wonder what was going through his mind, because he could have been part of the celebration, hugging and cutting down the nets with his former teammates and coaches. Yet he stood in the stands as a very rich guy. But believe me, all the money in the world can't pay for the four years that one experiences on the college level.

When people think about college, they think of education. It's more than one's education; college also provides all the necessary skills to help players make the transition between the ages of 30-80, when the professional career is over. Unfortunately, many athletes don't understand. Instead, they go for the short-term gain and run for the quick cash.

Looking at the college athletes, they're not starving or in a situation where they don't have three meals a day, a set of wheels to drive and nice clothing to wear. Many of them are doing just fine, but they can't wait for the instant cash to be placed in their account. Many of them would still come up big in the long run if they followed the pattern set by Grant Hill, Tim Duncan and David Robinson.

Take a look at Griffin. There are so many parts of his game that still need work. His shot selection was questionable throughout his freshman year. You also have to question his ability to play with enthusiasm. On many occasions, he didn't demonstrate the energy you'd like to see from a star player.

Does he have potential? Yes. And he will be drafted very high on potential and will be a very rich young man. The question I have: What happens when his playing days are over? So many have dollars, but they disappear quickly.

Something tells me Shane Battier made the right choice ... all the money in the world, my friends, couldn't pay for Battier's golden, title-winning moment.

In fairness to Griffin, the amount of money he will receive is unreal. The option of going to the pros and gaining monetary fame is sometimes too tempting for kids to turn down. But there are so many hangers-on who fill players' heads with visions of grandeur; everybody wants to get a little piece of the action instead of giving players the kind of advice to help them in the long run.

Unfortunately, there will be many kids coming out early this season, even some high school players who are saying bye-bye to any idea of playing at the college level. Well, if cash is the cure-all and dollars are what it's all about, then they are making the right choice.

But something tells me Shane Battier made the right choice. All you had to do was simply see the look on his face as he and coach Mike Krzyzewski embraced at courtside after Duke's championship victory. All the money in the world, my friends, couldn't pay for Battier's golden moment, sharing the championship in front of millions watching on TV.

I wish Griffin nothing but the best. But I know one thing: Griffin would have been a lot better off in the long run had he decided to wear the Seton Hall uniform for the long-term.

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