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Did Charles Barkley Focus on all the Wrong Things?


He looks pensive, but he’s really just saying “One Mississippi… Two Mississippi…”

KSR linked an article the other day, via Aaron’s Basketball links, wherein everyone’s favorite “Round Mound of Rebound” made a bold claim: nobody from last year’s championship team should have entered the NBA Draft.  Even though Barkley was operating with the advantage of hindsight that those kids didn’t get (the deadline to withdraw is now famously, and shamefully, close to the end of the NCAA Tournament), I couldn’t disagree with him more on the topic.

Kentucky fans, no question, would have liked to see AD, MKG, and company back for a second year.  All of the woes we’ve had so far this season, even in a “down” year for college ball, have been a direct result of the hangover last year’s championship has brought.  Everyone, from the coaches to the players to the fans to the media, had unrealistic expectations going in.  Thank last year’s class for that.  But Barkley’s argument is that so far, none of the six guys drafted has made an impact for their teams.  I’m okay to stipulate that that’s a valid point.  But rather than say that they shouldn’t have come out, maybe he should put the responsibility for this problem where it belongs: on the teams drafting, and on the NCAA.

If you’re a talented young player and have a virtual lock to go number one in a professional sporting league’s draft, you do it.  If you go second overall, you do that, too.  And then you work out everything else later.  There is so much uncertainty with possible injury, the fluctuation of talent from year to year, and your team’s success, that career-wise, you have to go pro when it’s a good opportunity for you to do so.  For Barkley to say these kids were wrong to leave school and go pro when they did, because their teams are still struggling, shows he’s not focused on where he really should be.

He did mention in his explanation that the NCAA should work out a system to pay these players a modest amount to stay in school, but still continue physical training to increase strength and ability.  And while that seems like a good idea, and certainly one that Cal and some others are in agreement with, the reality is that that hasn’t happened yet.  A college athlete’s choices are either stay in school and risk injury, falling draft stock, etc., or go pro, make your money, and live with whatever losses your team takes.  For Charles Barkley to say that it ruins the integrity of the game might be accurate, but it’s unfair to put that burden on the guys that have the fewest choices of everyone involved.

So while I disagree with what you say, Charles Barkley, you were still my favorite Monstar.  And maybe don’t say that these guys should have stayed in school, but that school (read: the NCAA) should have better options for them to make staying more appealing.  Because until then, as much as I’d like to see some of the title squad on this year’s team, I can’t even start to blame them for leaving.  And you shouldn’t either.

Article written by Corey Nichols

52 Comments for Did Charles Barkley Focus on all the Wrong Things?

  1. Wall2Cousins
    9:04 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    Florida still hasn’t scored!!

  2. Homestead Fred
    9:07 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    Actually, in other interviews Barkley has blamed the one and dones numerous times on the NBA Player Association.

  3. cristoforouk
    9:07 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    Funny thing is he says that all the UK guys should have come back and says Nerlens isn’t physically ready, but then he goes on to say that he would choose Ben McLemore with the #1 pick, another freshman. I love Sir Charles but he is contradicting himself.

  4. roydillard
    9:12 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    I think he is correct! All of them will be out of the nba in five yrs except maybe the kidd and davis..stay in school and get better you dont get better on the bench in nba..

  5. roydillard
    9:14 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    The first nba contract is not the important one, its the second. And we will see in years to come how great this system is with players gone after the first contract..mark my words!!!

  6. ktmiln2
    9:15 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    4- No, they won’t.

    And also, how has Davis not made an impact? 12.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.8 bpg as a rookie. Who has been injured off and on, and that just strengthens the argument of go when you can. What if he had had the same issues at UK that he’s had this year?

  7. barn
    9:18 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    pay them a modest amount to stay in school? why? are these bball players expenses more than a non-athlete student? when my kid went to UK he could have surely used a ‘modest amount’ in addition to the modest amount his mother and i gave him. we did this by working everyday plus overtime. if these athletes are to be paid then all students should be equally paid. they need to get a taste of the real world

  8. SamKat
    9:21 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    Corey has excellent points. Charles is right that the immediate impact of the one’ers may not be like the Lebron James’ of the world, but even Sir Charles was not that after his multi-year stay at Auburn. I, too, like Charles particularly for his honesty in sharing his opinions. I hope he makes a fortune in broadcasting.

    Some excellent points with this article!

  9. Melvit
    9:23 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t agree with Corey. Barkley is correct, the system should be fixed. The one and done system is killing college and professional basketball.

  10. tom
    9:24 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    Whether he went to UK or not, the fact remains that Cousins is nothing more than a thug. Constantly spouting lame excuses for his irresponsible actions on the court. He does not cast a positive light on Kentucky’s program

  11. tom5673
    9:26 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    davis and kidd-gilchrist had to go pro. no brainer under the current system. but, teague and lamb cost themselves millions over the life of the career they could have had. i truly believe they will be out of the league in a few years, maybe sooner. the thing that bothers me most is the notion that all of these guys leave early and are instantly millionaires. it’s not true. teague will make $850,000 over two years; lamb makes $650,000 this year with no guaranteed 2nd year contract.
    after buying homes, cars, jewelry, etc., there really isn’t that much left.

  12. UKAlum
    9:27 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    7- Your kid also wasn’t making the University millions of dollars in merchandise, ticket sales, and other forms of revenue. Oh wait I forgot, people bought the #11 jersey because they love the number, not because of John Wall or anything. Why shouldn’t the player, whose jersey is selling like crazy purely because of his performance, be paid for it? Also if you remember, Eric Bledsoe lived in his car prior to UK, I think he had a bit more idea of what the real world was than your child already.

  13. dribble drive high five
    9:27 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    These comments have just gone full retard. You never go full retard.

  14. Kevin
    9:27 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    I think he is on spot saying that the kids should stay. How many true freshmen have actually been drafted in the top 5 and made an impact on their shitty team that they get stuck on. That is what they are being drafted to do, and they are not ready for it. Mentally or physically. And by no means am I saying that they are not great ball players, but when you go to the NBA, it is a huge difference then college. You are playing against the best of the best. Good luck to all of them, but I think that it would not only improve college basketball, but it would also make NBA better because the kids are more developed.

  15. statman
    9:28 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    I agree with every word Chuck said. Davis may be the only who belongs in the NBA right now.

    #5 – you are spot on. I think this could be why the NBA likes drafting these one-and-dones. It’s a small risk for them. These kids won’t be worth much when their first free-agent period comes around, and then teams can sign them for long-term deals for a lot less money than an NBA superstar. Does anyone think Lamb, Teague and Jones will be able to get big NBA dollars in free-agency? No way. They need to put themselves in a position where NBA teams will WANT to go after them when they’re a free agent, and the only way to do that is to play more and get better. And that won’t happen sitting on the end of an NBA bench.

  16. Rockfield, KY
    9:28 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    10. Tom

    [thuhg] Show IPA

    a cruel or vicious ruffian, robber, or murderer.

    ( sometimes initial capital letter ) one of a former group of professional robbers and murderers in India who strangled their victims.

    Please explain how Cousins is a thug. I’d like to know who he robbed or murdered.

  17. UKAlum
    9:28 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    9. Then let players go straight out of high school, whats the harm in that?

  18. tom5673
    9:28 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    the big money is in the second contract. unfortunately, some of these guys aren’t going to see that contract. the potential injury issue is a tough one, but with multi-million dollar insurance policies taken out for these guys, it shouldn’t be as big of a factor.

  19. Devastation INC
    9:29 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    This is crazy. You take the money when you can get it. Then you go prove yourself just like any other job. Get in the door when you can then you either sink or swim! Who is to say college basketball will make you any better than the D league. At least in the D league you are making like 500k a year or better!

  20. JHD
    9:32 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    #4: Do you know how long the average NBA career lasts? About 6 years. I say let these young men “make hay while the sun shines.” It’s an economic issue, so until we fix the economics through a lower rookie pay scale, increased compensation while in college, insurance opportunities, or increased barriers to entry (no more one-and-done rule), you can’t fault them for maximizing their earning potential. Take facebook as a related example: Mark Zuckerberg had to know that most businesses fail in the first three years, but he saw an opportunity to capitalize and took it, which meant leaving college early. Facebook, like LeBron James, is the exception, not the rule.

  21. dribble drive high five
    9:35 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    I would love to force all these kids to stay in college, it would be great! But I’m also American, and I side with freedom.

  22. the yo
    9:36 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    nice post nichols. mrs t should be fired and replaced by you. she sucks.

  23. MJ4UK
    9:36 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    #7…Because being an athlete takes away the possibility of having a part time job, and non student athletes have that opportunity. Could you see Cauley-Stein saying, hurry up coach I got to get to my shift at Cane’s. The time required to be a successful student athlete is enormous. UK makes more money off of them than they do non student athletes…We are not going to pack Rupp with people to see Joe Schmoe and his buddies’ pickup game of 21. I think they should reimburse students with a minimum wage for time spent. In economics its called “opportunity cost,” when you weigh the value of one activity over another. Of course in the long run, it will pay more to be a student athlete (for some), but that does not help the student athlete at the present time. I don’t see anything wrong with the NCAA and UK stroking the hands that feed them.

  24. Mattd
    9:37 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    @7 A taste of the real world? The real world is capitalism. These youn men make the NCAA how many millions of dollars? Was your son getting the sec multi million dollar tv contracts? Doubtful. What you re really saying is these kids should have to work hard and not get money…. Like you. Maybe you should join the real world. This isn’t a communist state, it’s not about how hard you work, it’s about capitalism, if thy don’t get money, they go pro and make their millions. Don’t like it? Move to North Korea.

  25. Slappy
    9:38 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    This year’s struggles are a direct result of the hangover last year’s championship brought? What? How? None of those guys are here anymore…

  26. G-Unit
    9:38 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    4 – Lets Examine The Statement You Made:

    Anthony Davis: Turn down nearly 12 million dollars in 3 years. Plus he is Avg 12.9 ppg and 8reb and he has been hurt.He most Def will get a contract extension.

    MKG: He is working so hard to get a jumper and it has showed in his past few games. With his work ethic with Jordan mentoring him, its a matter of time before he blows up.

    Terrence Jones: Just got drafted into bad situation at Houston. IF he still had an attitude problem, he wouldnt be working his ass off and avg 26pts 12reb in the D-League. Many NBA teams are looking to aquire someone like him in the off season. In the limited time he has had in the NBA he has just posterized 3 ppl… once on the right team, he will get and etension.

    Teague: He is still developing but is now doing well in Chicago. Will be a great backup PG in the next couple years to Rose. Will follow in the footsteps of Bledsoe… it just takes some longer. He will get better and have much more productive 2nd and 3rd years.

    Doron Lamb: NBA is a shooters league, teams will find a spot for shooters…

    Darius is the only ? mark.

    look at all the 1 and done players now:

    John Wall: on horrible team but will most def get an extension
    Eric Bledsoe: will get a starting PG gig after this year
    Cousins: with his talent, teams will always be interested. Sacramento is just awful franchise.
    Patterson: Solid garbage man that NBA teams always need
    Knight: One of the most under-rated PG in the game. In his last 5 games has went for over 25 in 4 games and for over 30 in 2 games.
    Enes Kanter: Currently Avg 19pts 8reb in last 8 games. Went for 20/20 game in his first start.

    Seems like all 1 and dones are doing pretty damn good to me. So sit down and just stfu. You have no idea what you are talking about.

  27. barn
    9:39 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    12**my kid also wasn’t receiving a full ride scholly including meals, room & board, tutors & books. i’d say that’s more than a fair exchange

  28. Just a Suggestion
    9:40 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    What if, for any player who leaves without graduating to go to the NBA, that player must repay his scholarship from the university into the general student scholarship fund. Look, I know these guys bring fans into Rupp, but let’s be honest, Kentucky filled the seats when they recruited mainly from the state and didn’t send anyone to the NBA. It’s a popular program. I think, though, it would benefit the university as a whole if, when someone signs even a $700,000 one-year contract after playing at U.K., or any school, for one season, he should repay the cost of his tuition. It’s just a way of making this recruitment of one&done players something that can truly benefit any school that lands them.

  29. UKAlum
    9:41 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    27- If you learned math in the back of a barn then it sure is a fair exchange.

  30. UKAlum
    9:43 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    28- Too complicated. Just let kids go straight out of high school.

  31. MJ4UK
    9:44 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    On the point of this article, I would have loved to have had last years team back…But they have to do what’s best for them, and that is going pro…The only ones that could possibly think that they wish they were back at UK (due to NBA woes), would be Jones,Lamb, and Teague. Only one of which was one and done, and they will all pan out over time. That being said, as many players as UK has put in the draft, it is unrealistic to think that they will all be stars in the NBA. The NBA doesn’t have that many “True Stars” to begin with. On average, I would say 1 per team (I know that there are teams with more than one). I think, take the money when you can, even in the D-League you are making more money than hacks like me, who are posting garbage on this site

  32. barn
    9:49 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    29**you need to go back to the barn for a refresher in reading. i didn’t say the exchange was equal in dollars and cents i said it was fair considering what the players receive in return.

  33. Sam
    9:52 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    Cal is a “players first” person.

    Charles appears to be a “NBA team/ league first” person.

    If you want to benefit the NBA, Charles’ argument makes sense. If you want the PLAYER to benefit and do what’s best for HIM, you gotta appreciate Coach Cal’s approach.

  34. Call it what it is
    9:53 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    27, not really a fair exchange, because the athlete is on an athletic scholarship, and playing ball to earn his keep. And the dollars the athletic department brings in are recycled to provide for the other athletes and athletic programs.

    Your child quite probably could have worked harder in school and gotten an ACADEMIC scholarship, where he or she could learn to earn his or her keep, even if not at UK, then a community college.

  35. G-Unit
    9:56 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    27/28 –

    $19,998 for tuition and fees
    $10,200 for the average cost of room and board
    $800 for books and supplies

    so thats a total of around 31,000 bucks about

    “fear the brow” shirts cost around 20 bucks (the low end) which means if UK sold 2,000 shirts they broke even… not to mention the other shirts and jerseys sold. Bottom Line is guys like Wall,Knight,Jones,Davis,MKG, Nerlens make the school neary AT LEAST double the ammount the school invests in them…

    thats a tad different than your child…dumbass!

    if anything these kids should be receiving a STIPEND lol!

  36. No Charles
    9:58 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    Ok Chuck. Name some guys that were drafted last year that HAVE made an impact on their team. If you don’t include Davis then there are maybe three guys that have made an impact, and probably less than that if you think Davis’ numbers are indicative of having an impact on his team. It’s also laughable that he suggests that Miller shouldn’t have entered in the draft. I don’t think he’s thought this through. How does having the best college players enter the NBA draft hurt the NBA?

  37. msnthrop
    10:02 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    Cool a debate about labor relations that relates to unionization has broken out on the KSR board. How should we value the labor of employees? The MLB, NBA, and NFL are all represented by strong unions and the players negotiate a set portion of the revenue from which their salaries will be paid. The result is when the business does well, they get paid more. A similar dynamic exists in any business sector where unions still have any kind of power. 94% of public jobs though are not unionized any longer and employees get the absolute least amount that the CEO or shareholders or private owners can get away with paying them and when the company does well all the profits end up in the pockets of people who are already rich. Trickle down never actually happens unless you have the right to bargain for it and the hollowing out of the middle class that has proceeded apace since the mid 1970’s is the result. It amusing to me how people can enjoy watching professional sports and never get the concept that collective bargaining has been integral in the success of these leagues. Personally I think the college players should unionize and demand a larger portion of the profits that are being generated by their efforts. Of course I suppose I’ll get a nasty response or two for this kind of thinking…oh well, just keep taking what someone else will give you then, you’ll always the the one holding the dirty end of the stick that way…

  38. UKBlue1!
    10:03 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    Barkley has valid points. I understand Davis and MKG because they were going 1 and 2. Jones, Lamb and Teague would have all benefited from staying in school. DeMarcus Cousins as good as he has been would have been more mature with another year of college. Bledsoe has just blossomed in the past year. I think the NBA would benefit most if the moved it to a 2 year rule instead of one year. The NBA doesnt care about thekids if they don’t produce in 3 years they are bound for Europe or Asia. Then they have another fresh batch to put thru the meat grinder.

  39. G-Unit
    10:06 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    Had a good friend tell me Poythress and WCS will return. This dude told me Cal before his name was brought up and Stoops so whoever he knows, its legit info… Also told me UK lands Randle AND Wiggins: Why you ask? Heres Why:

    PG: Andrew Harrison/Dominique Hawkins
    SG: Aaron Harrison/James Young (Can backup the SF position but is a natural 2-guard
    PF: Julius Randle/Wiltjer/Poythress/Marcus Lee-
    Randle has the handle to play the 3 but you need his body down low
    Poythress doesnt have the handle to play the 3
    Wiltjer is well, Wiltjer
    Marcus Lee at 6’10 is just too big to play the 3

    C: Willie Cauley-Stein/ Dakari Josh Johnson

    Where is our SF? Wiggins is all alone, that is why he comes. Cal is selling getting able to PRACTICE against NBA caliber talent… I would love to see a scrimmage if that happens.

    Harrison v. Hawkins (btw Hawkins went for 29 v. Harrison)
    Harrison v. Young
    Wiggins v. Randle (just cuz Randle is most versitile)
    Poythress v. Lee
    Cauley-Stein v. Dakari Johnson

    YIKES. UK will have the #1 and #2 team in the nation lol!

  40. WKYblue
    10:08 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    Barkley stayed 3 years at Auburn then was the 5th pick in the 1st round of the NBA draft. His rookie season he averaged 14 pts and 8.6 rebounds . I don’t guess he was a impact player either and he stayed in college 2 years longer than AD did.

  41. lonnieb
    10:11 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    Just a couple of thoughts.

    Lamb for example had to strike while the iron was hot…..he was never really a legit NBA prospect. He is slow and unathletic for a 2 guard in the NBA. He was the leading scorer on the best college basketball team in the last 15 years so his stock would never be higher. I do think he will sign another contract b/c of his shooting ability….but he is what he s and would have never been a 1st round pick no matter how long he stayed in college. Plus someone said his contract was 650,000 a year……so even if ball never worked out and lets be generous and say he got a job that payed 50K a year. He is 12 years ahead of that after 1 NBA season……thats why they go pro…MKG will mak more in his 1st 2+2 year team option contract than most doctors in their entire life. When the money is there you go.

    Plus people on here who say the scholarship is “fair” compensation never played college sports. They run your life. all the mandatory practices plus the “voluntary” work outs at 6AM etc…

    And I think someone mentioned it above…..very few NBA players come in and have long successful careers. Barkley is just talking non sense.

    They need to change the rule to: Player can go pro straight outta high school or have to stay 3 years just like baseball and football. It would be the best option for all parties. The special once every few years players like can go pro the rest have to commit to college. Im sure some kids would get bad info and go pro when they should not but they would weed themselves out after a a while

  42. oldschool
    10:12 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    Hi, my name is oldschool and I blame John Calipari for everything. Its not the system, the NCAA or NBA. Its John Calipari.

  43. Um
    10:14 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    7) Most students can work if they choose. Athletes don’t have time to have a job during the season

  44. UK FAN
    10:15 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    Don’t agree with Chuck on this one. How many rookies ever make an impact in the NBA first year. Its kinda rare for any rookie to come in and make a huge impact. Just take this year’s nba rookies. Damian Lillard, Beal and Davis are the only ones averaging double digits. 2 Fresh and 1 Senior. If your in the lottery you need to go

  45. lonnieb
    10:19 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    I actually disagree completely about Jones and Lamb……
    Lamb was always a second round pick whatever year he entered the draft. Jones went in the top 20, he might have went a few spots earlier this year. Im not so sure teagues stock would have improved either. YOu cant look at it from UK hoops perspective…..obviously they all should have came back. The palyers best interest was probably to go last year… argument can probabaly be made for teague but thats it.

  46. B-man
    10:42 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    Barkley generally likes UK and Cal, I don’t think he was attacking the Cats at all. He simply pointed out that College BBall and the NBA would be better if players stayed in college longer…and he’s right. If the NBA would require players to stay 2 or 3 years in college, imagine how much better college bball would be with the great players sticking around longer. Also, the NBA would be better because young players wouldn’t have to spend so much time learning on the job. As it now stands, you can’t blame college kid AT ALL for leaving early for (a) guaranteed money and(b) a shot at their dreams.

  47. Tyler
    11:33 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    I’m getting tired of everybody talking about who should stay and who should go every year. It’s getting old. IMO, AD was the only one well-rounded (although weak physically)enough to jump to the NBA. Everybody else needed work and another year at the college level. Don’t even let it be an option after the kids enroll. Make it 2 years min. at the college level after the players enroll in college. If a player’s good enough (like Lebron, etc) let the NBA teams roll the dice and draft out of high school.

  48. UKBlue
    11:56 am March 13, 2013 Permalink

    There are two main people in sports media that are right: Jay Bilas & Charles Barkley.

  49. barn
    12:23 pm March 13, 2013 Permalink

    43**why the hell should they need to work–everything is paid for. do you think these students who work do it because they want to?

  50. Weasel
    1:14 pm March 13, 2013 Permalink

    49** How big a dumb ass are you? Yes, their school and books and meals are paid for, but what about clothes and music and dating? These are college kids not slaves. When I was in college I worked to have stuff I wanted, and I didn’t make the University, the State and ESPN millions of dollars by showing my talent.

  51. playersfan
    2:58 pm March 13, 2013 Permalink

    It should be patterned after Canadian Hockey. The kids are drafted after high school if they are good enough, but they have to spend two years in college (with passing grades), if they don’t pass they still have to wait 2 years. They don’t get contract money until the two years is over, they attend the college of their choice, get a stipend monthly and injury insurance paid for. The contract is fixed, and cannot be boken by either party until the contract expires, based upon present setup, after 3 years in the NBA. That improves the quality of play in NBA, and improves the quality of play in college. Most spend 2 years in d-league,or should anyway. It’s not always they are ready skillwise, most aren’t ready physically, for the rough play, and the game every night regimen of the NBA. That may be why AD is having so many injuries, his body is not mature enough to grown men every night. This might reduce the drafting of kids on potential alone, that are not ready for the NBA.

  52. Badams
    4:50 pm March 13, 2013 Permalink

    There is no denying its hard for these kids to turn down the money and stay in college. But do you really wanna ride the bench or be sent to the d-league? If the answer is yes, the they really don’t care about basketball. Teague and Lamb should have stayed around and could have been leaders on this team. And even though Jones was a lottery pick, he could have stayed and been a top 5 player this year. I just hope that future players see this and think harder about their decision. Personally, I think Teague and Lamb felt obligated to go cuz their teammates were. Teague felt he needed to cuz of Cals former pgs. I think it’s dumb for a player to leave and be a 2nd rd pick, there’s nothing guaranteed. Lamb also could have been a lottery pick in this weak draft. So, I think Charles is right about a lot. As for Davis and MKG, they were top picks and went to sucky teams so they can’t help that. Poythress, Goodwin, and WCS are no where near as ready as those other guys do there’s no denying they should all return. But, money talks.