With the implementation of an age limit, players have been forced to go to college for a year, even if they believe (and often are) ready to join the ranks of the NBA. However, the past two years have seen a pair of players take different, and potentially more intriguing routes to the NBA.
Prior to the 2009 draft, Brandon Jennings spent a season in Europe after struggling to qualify academically for college. His development in Europe has certainly helped him turn into a very solid pro for the MIlwaukee Bucks.
This year we have another intriguing player: Latavious Williams. Last year, Williams struggled to qualify academically, so rather than go to college, he declared himself eligible for the National Basketball Developmental League draft. The NBDL does not have an age minimum and Williams was drafted and played in the NBDL this past season. The New York Times has a feature on Williams heading into tonight’s draft:
He is the first American high school player to be drafted by a team in the Development League, and the experiment has been considered a success.
After playing one season for the Tulsa 66ers in the D-League, Williams, 21, is a possible second-round pick Thursday, scouts and other basketball officials say. Where he is picked and how he does could determine whether future players take the inglorious road of the Development League.