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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

NBA age limit to affect colleges

KU's Self says recruiting landscape to change

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The next high school phenom will have to wait until he's 19 before declaring for the NBA Draft.

That is : unless the next can't-miss prep sensation can get the NBA's new age limit overturned by a judge.

"I'm sure the LeBron James' of the world will be disappointed, and families may appeal if another one of those guys comes along," Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self said Tuesday, commenting on the age limit set in the league's new collective-bargaining agreement.

Self thought an age limit might be instituted, but he had heard there would be exceptions for players viewed as likely lottery picks.

Instead, it looks as if the best of the preps will head to college for a short time until they hit the magic age of 19.

"It makes recruiting interesting. It will definitely add to strategy in recruiting," Self said. "Chances are these guys will only stay a year (in college). If they were lottery picks coming out of high school, you'd think they'd still be lottery picks after a year of college.

"Now you have to decide, do you want a kid one year?"

Self said he could envision recruiting a player even if he knew one year would be the maximum time spent on campus.

"We would consider it. We want to sign the best players," Self said. "You don't want to sign three or four in a year which might put your program in a tough spot."

Some players in the Class of 2006 who now likely will head to college instead of the NBA include: Greg Oden, 7-foot, Indianapolis; Brandan Wright, 6-9, Nashville; Darrell Arthur, 6-9, Dallas; and Spencer Hawes, 6-11, Seattle. Arthur has had KU high on his list.

Self said though "there's no scenario that's perfect," he'd have preferred a rule demanding players stay in college two years instead of an age limit.

"Some guys will go to prep school," Self said of high school players waiting to turn 19.

Another option is to play in the National Basketball Developmental League, which will have an age limit of 18.

"I don't think the age limit is necessarily the answer, but I think it's better than what we have," Self said.

KU soph C.J. Giles is one young player in favor of the 19-year-old limit.

"Actually, I am," he said. "I'm getting sick and tired seeing all those guys getting money sitting on the end of the bench not doing anything. If they came to college, they could have fun in college, get a good experience, a good education, get a good workout then go to the league and make an impact instead of sitting on the bench."

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