I have thousands of dollars in student loans.
And if I’m lucky, my hard-earned bachelor’s degree will score me a job as an art educator where I will barely make more money than the 70-year-old greeters at Walmart.
This scenario probably sounds familiar.
That’s unless you are one of the lucky, talented athletes sitting around complaining about the NBA’s "one-and-done" rule.
Give me a break.
The fact that basketball players are only required to be out of high school one year before going pro is absurd.
And the fact that athletes complain about it is even worse.
High school basketball is fun, friendly competition between a bunch of tall, scrawny teenagers.
There is rarely a rigorous workout, strict diet or hardcore discipline involved.
They don’t have to learn how to carry themselves in an interview or how to compose themselves when the media starts talking.
High school basketball players don’t face much adversity at all.
So why should someone so inexperienced be thrown into the life of a professional basketball player?
College is where athleticism starts.
Not only does playing for a college team improve an athlete’s skills, but it also presents them with new experiences that are necessary for furthering their careers.
At that point, basketball becomes a player’s life. They are faced with constant demands and expectations.
They become humbled.
Athletes who were stars in high school learn they are now in a large pool of equivalent talent and they begin to work for their success.
But college players today are leaving that passion behind and taking nothing but their arrogance with them to the NBA.
I mean, maybe if LeBron James had gone to college, he wouldn’t be such an egocentric jerk.
Or at least he would have learned how to close out a game.
Student-athletes hoping to reach the NBA should have to attend college — and for longer than one year.
Just because Anthony Davis can lead Kentucky to a national championship as a freshman doesn’t mean that most players can, or that he’s ready for the pros.
College programs should have the opportunity to build on their talent rather than losing it a year after it arrives. Letting the best athletes leave after only a year or two does nothing but water down college basketball.
College sports fans want to watch the best of the best and that’s not what we’re getting.
If I had a full-ride scholarship to a Division I school, there’s no doubt that I would milk it to the end.
Why not live for free, play some basketball and learn about the world for four years? You’ll never have the opportunity to live so carefree in your life again.
There’s no reason to rush into the NBA, anyway — unless you’re really set on marrying a Kardashian.
— Amanda Jones is a senior art education major from Gainesville and the design editor of The Red & Black. Her column appears weekly.