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Larry Brown: Mark Cuban Is Wrong About College Basketball

Photo via www.reebokbreakout.com

Photo via www.reebokbreakout.com

Photo via www.reebokbreakout.com

Earlier this week, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he believes elite prospects would be better off playing in the NBA D-League straight out of high school instead of spending one season in college. It seems like everyone has had something to say about one-and-dones and “the Calipari way” following the Cats’ recent struggles, and Mark Cuban chimed in with these little nuggets in an ESPN.com story:

“I think what will end up happening — and this is my opinion, not that of the league — is if the colleges don’t change from the one-and-done, we’ll go after the one,” Cuban said. “The NCAA rules are so hypocritical, there’s absolutely no reason for a kid to go [to college], because he’s not going to class [and] he’s actually not even able to take advantage of all the fun because the first semester he starts playing basketball. So if the goal is just to graduate to the NBA or be an NBA player, go to the D-League.”

While I’m sure most would agree that the NCAA is hypocritical, it’s not their rule that elite prospects can’t play in the NBA if they’re ready before they turn 19. It’s not Calipari’s rule either. It’s your rule, Mark Cuban–or at least the NBA’s rule. Cuban’s idea though is not too far fetched. The D-League has a minimum age of 18 and if someone wanted to start earning a paycheck right out of high school instead of going to college for a year, they could choose to go that route. If Brandon Jennings can play in Italy for a season before moving on to NBA success, I’m sure there are a few other top prospects who could take a similar path into the D-League and transition successfully into the NBA. To me, I think it would be easier for a teenager to stay in the U.S. as opposed to spending a year overseas. Cuban offered a number of ideas that new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver could consider to make this option more attractive for star prospects, which you can read by clicking the link below:

[ Cuban: D-League better for prospects]

I do think the D-League could be an option for some players who financially need a paycheck, even if it’s not NBA lottery-pick money until they turn 19 (or 20…fingers crossed). But is Cuban right, from purely a developmental standpoint, that players would be better off going straight to the D-League instead of playing college hoops? Larry Brown says no way. 

“…play for Rick Pitino for a year or two or Tom Izzo or John Calipari or Bill Self, I think Cuban would be happy with what they’re getting.”

[Larry Brown champions college path]

Perhaps, Cuban doesn’t consider how bad AAU basketball really is. Calipari still hasn’t fixed many of the bad habits he inherited with his current superstar class, but history shows that he does a pretty good job of preparing stars for the NBA. Could the D-League do any better? Is this idea any threat to college basketball? Larry Brown and his 1,198 NBA coaching wins do not think so. What do you think?

Article written by John Wilmhoff

Former beer vendor, college mascot and ESPN editor. This spring, you can also find me blogging about the Reds on blogredmachine.com. Follow me on Twitter: @JohnWilmhoff

23 Comments for Larry Brown: Mark Cuban Is Wrong About College Basketball



  1. I Love It
    9:13 pm March 5, 2014 Permalink

    I hate to quote Cal, especially with the way you all have carried on the past week, but “the D-League is a man’s league”. You don’t want to be some entitled, 18 year old hotshot stealing thunder from the 25 year old with a few kids at home. That’s a great way to get hurt.



  2. Rixter
    9:13 pm March 5, 2014 Permalink

    Duke lost tonight to a 15 – 14 Wake Forest team. 3 or 4 more losses, and Duke might not be a lock for a 1 seed



    • Blue
      9:28 pm March 5, 2014 Permalink

      3 or more losses? To me they weren’t a #1 seed BEFORE tonight’s loss.



    • Chaz
      9:33 pm March 5, 2014 Permalink

      Not enough time left for 4 losses, so I guess all those ESPN announcers can sleep better tonight.



    • Ben
      9:45 pm March 5, 2014 Permalink

      You guys are missing the sarcasm, I think.

      And anything that Larry Brown says about the NBA is 100 times more intelligent than anything Mark Cuban says.



  3. Al/in/Indy
    9:48 pm March 5, 2014 Permalink

    Even though Cuban made his bucks in the Dot com sales he still isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. After all he stumbled onto making his money and selling it at the ultmost best time in the world. He’s still an IU grad with no common sense when it comes to……..well common sense! He still thinks he’s a Bill Gates where Little Billy has surpassed him many times in the profit margin.
    It would be of best interest if the kids stayed in college for at least to get an associate degree as to get no degree at all if the pro game doesn’t pan out.



    • M C Hammer
      9:58 pm March 5, 2014 Permalink

      I hired Cuban as my financial adviser, and just look where I am today. You can do this, too, just buy my latest video, MC Hammer(s) the Market. You kids don’t need college, hop on the Cuban Choo-Choo and D League your way to the top.



  4. BNClay
    9:55 pm March 5, 2014 Permalink

    For those that aspire to be future NBA players the reason that 1 or more years of college basketball is better than the D league or overseas has nothing to do with the quality of coaching, strength building, education, etc…. The reason college BB is the best option is marketing. The exposure that a top talent can get in college BB is x10,000 that of the D league or overseas. These guys can go to college for a year and get the hype machine rolling, then the day they go pro the companies are standing in line with endorsement deals.

    Just pretend that Davis or Wall went to the D league and played 1 season for the Timbuktu Camel Jockeys, are they each still the number 1 pick? Probably. But do they quickly build a huge base of fans? Do they play in a bunch of nationally televised games? Do get cool catch phrase such as Brow Down, fear the Brow, etc? Do we see them on TV doing funny dances pregame that endear them the young fans? No, No, No, and No.



  5. Ron Steele
    9:57 pm March 5, 2014 Permalink

    If the damn fool doesn’t even understand the one year rule is an NBA restriction, not one imposed by the NCAA, who gives a rat’s behind what he thinks? Cuban is a rich, loudmouth, bloviating know-nothing & my entire life has been damaged beyond repair by reading his idiotic take on a situation whose fundamentals he doesn’t even understand.

    Ron “Man of Steel” Steele



    • john
      7:54 am March 6, 2014 Permalink

      Wealth envy?



    • twocoach
      11:29 am March 6, 2014 Permalink

      It’s not wealth envy, just frustration that this moron believes that his wealth allows him to get away with being a moron. He acts like a five year old and shoots off his mouth on things that he has no clue about. To say that the D-League is better at developing players than college is simply moronic.Add to the fact that 99% of the players in the D-League are guys that did not have the skill to come out of college early and get drafted.



  6. Marvb
    9:59 pm March 5, 2014 Permalink

    I think they should have to get a 4 year degree to go pro. I can’t believe no one says that. I need money too, I want to be a professional Attorney, but they won’t let me take the bar exam right out of high school. It’s BS. There is the answer. Lets keep it “somewhat” fair.



    • Willy
      10:36 pm March 5, 2014 Permalink

      Government employees, federal, state,&local took the fair out of pay & benefits when Reagan broke the air traffic controllers union years ago, cleared the way for cos. to set their own rules on retirements, thank God for 401k’s, l’d still be working!!!!!



  7. davefromdagsp
    10:28 pm March 5, 2014 Permalink

    Ever listen to Cuban at length? He seldom makes sense. Now onto greener pastures. Anybody thought about our roster for next season? We’ll have what we will seldom have in this system…Exoerienced Depth. Randall, WCS, and maybe Young gone, the rest back, combined with the new recruits? Im Really excited at that prospect.



    • Julius Randle
      4:35 am March 6, 2014 Permalink

      How is it March and some of our fans still can’t spell Randle?



  8. Syrin
    11:11 pm March 5, 2014 Permalink

    I guess it comes down to how good the D league coaches are at developing talent versus the elite college coaches



  9. ribin
    6:26 am March 6, 2014 Permalink

    Follow the baseball model (would need a little tweaking) but a kid could sign out of high school – their choice, either what the ‘d’ league is offering or go into college for two-three years.



    • john
      8:03 am March 6, 2014 Permalink

      Exactly right….you don’t have to go to college for a year to get a realtors or insurance license, start a business, etc. Quit the hand holding BS. 18 yrs old & up, you are responsible for you. Good luck in your endeavors…you may fail, you may not. If you fail (& most will in due time), pivot and move on to your next challenge. We act like this is greyhound racing…we aren’t euthanizing kids if they fail to produce. They get fired from their job if they don’t produce to expectations and then they take that experience and build on it for their next life chapter. A year in the D-League or Minors (in my opinion) is a better experience than any college internship could provide.



  10. john
    7:53 am March 6, 2014 Permalink

    I agree with Cuban in part…no governing body should have the authority to keep a kid from going direct to the league if they so choose. We don’t make kids spend a year in college ROTC before they go off to harms way. Quit the hand holding & the big brother oversight.



  11. Blueneck
    7:55 am March 6, 2014 Permalink

    Why is Cal sitting there with Larry David in the first place?



  12. jp7
    9:11 am March 6, 2014 Permalink

    Once again, Mark Cuban shows what an idiot he is. He doesn’t even know his own league’s rules from the NCAA’s. While going straight to the D-League from high school might be beneficial the same as it is for some baseball players to go straight to the minors, basketball is still different and a lot of those kids aren’t going to want have to go to the D League when their egos are telling them they should be in the bright lights of Showtime. The more I see Cuban, the more I marvel that he actually is a millionaire. Just watching him on Shark Tank amazes me that he is not working at a McDonald’s somewhere.



    • catdaddyd
      10:39 am March 6, 2014 Permalink

      He is a billionaire.



  13. keller
    11:45 am March 6, 2014 Permalink

    From what I’ve heard, for the most part the D-League is a “get your stats” league. The goal being to put up the numbers that get you called up, with very little emphasis on team play or actually winning. I don’t really see how that would develop an 18 year old kid any better than a year or two in college, and it would probably do more to reinforce bad habits than anything else. The money is honestly not that great either, which is why there are still so many Americans playing overseas. I just don’t see how a kid could pass up a year of actually playing on TV pretty much every game and getting the exposure from ESPN a la Randle/Wiggins/Parker are getting for a $25K a year contract playing in empty gyms and a chance you won’t pan out.