Transition Easier For Hoops


Of the three major high school sports – baseball, football and basketball – the one played on a hardwood floor, with a hoop and a net is the easiest to jump directly to the professional level.
Asking a high school quarterback, running back or wide receiver, no matter how big or strong, to leave those surroundings for the NFL without having played college football, would be tantamount to running a marathon without training.
There are too many variables at play, such as physical and mental maturity, and it becomes more apparent when one finds himself in front of a 10-year veteran.
The professional game in the NFL and Major League Baseball is simply too high to climb for an 18-year-old.
Think about someone like former USC quarterback Matt Leinart. In three seasons, he helped guide the Trojans to two national titles, and also picked up a Heisman Trophy.
Even so, in three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, he’s not even made a dent, and has had few starts. Imagine if Leinart never played at USC, and went directly to the NFL from high school?
It’s slightly easier to spring from the prep level to the major leagues, but it still takes at least a year or two, if not longer.
There have been cases of players going from college, skipping the minor leagues and making it in the big leagues like Bob Horner, who played at Arizona State, and then went to the Atlanta Braves, or Dave Winfield, who played at the University of Minnesota, before suiting up with the San Diego Padres.
But going from high school, and then playing in the big leagues without minor league seasoning is unheard of.
That’s not the case with basketball. All one needs to do is look at LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
They’re the two biggest names and draws in the NBA, and both made the jump from high school to the pros with no problem.
James plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers and has paced the club to the best record in the league.
The Cavaliers are blitzing their way to the Eastern Conference Finals, and their first league crown.
James drew attention his sophomore year at Akron, Ohio’s St. Vincent-St. Mary High and became a media darling.
Called “King James,’’ the 6-foot-8 power forward was just awarded the league’s Most Valuable Player trophy, after being selected the top pick in 2003.
In 2007, James and the Cavaliers advanced to the NBA Finals, but were swept by San Antonio.
Bryant played at Lower Merion High just outside Philadelphia, and has made a splash ever since with the Lakers, winning three titles.
The 13th overall pick by the Charlotte Hornets, and then traded to the Lakers, Bryant led the Aces to their first state crown in 53 years his senior season after averaging 30.8 points, 12 rebounds, and 6.5 assists.
James and Bryant are a dynamic duo, something that no high school sport could produce right out of the gate.

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