If you are a college basketball player with the skills to play in the NBA right now, go. Leave college, take the money, and protect yourself. And yes, this is a professor speaking.

Antoine Wright: “To be honest with you, I think I had more of an education in high school.”

Greg Oden said (in a Sports Illustrated story a while back that I can’t find online) that he entered Ohio State all gung-ho for college. Signed up for four classes, working towards a finance major. The academic “support” sector of the athletic department, however, suggested he scale back, to two classes.

These students aren’t learning. Go. Take the money. Set aside enough that you can go back, when your career is over, and actually get some value out of a college education. But there’s just no point in spending longer in a major college basketball program than you have to in order to develop your court skills.

It’s nice to be Big Man on Campus, I’m sure. I’m guessing that’s part of what drew Joakim Noah back to Florida. But down the line, those years of being pampered, petted, and spoiled will ruin you. A rookie in a club of professionals is going to grow up a hell of a lot faster, be a hell of a lot richer, a lot smarter, and in the end, much better educated.