March Madness is upon us, folks, but the only madness we’ve seen in college basketball as of late are scandals and investigations. Recently, we’ve seen several top tier college basketball programs, like Arizona and Louisville, come under fire due to recruiting violations.
The NCAA is a corrupt organization—we all know that. Players like LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma have spoken out about the NCAA’s flawed system. One common criticism from fans and players is that players can’t profit off of their own skill and talent in college, but universities and the NCAA can. In fact, the FBI is currently investigating players for allegedly accepting benefits and money from an agency.
These so-called scandals can be as small as an athlete’s mother accepting an expensive meal, which was the case for Duke star big man Wendell Carter. It sounds silly, but it’s a system that can’t be overpowered unless there’s alternative route.
Recently, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has publicly stated that the NBA is exploring possibilities of creating that alternative route for prospects. We’ve seen high school stars like Brandon Jennings, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Terrance Ferguson take the international route to play professionally. Many have suggested opening the NBA G-League up as an avenue for high school stars or, even better, repealing the age limit for the NBA Draft to allow high schoolers to enter the draft once again.
Let’s be real: NBA prospects don’t need the NCAA as much as the NCAA needs them. Many NBA stars have developed and built their brands without ever suiting up under the rules of the NCAA. We’ve seen stars develop internationally and straight from high school. From LeBron James and Dwight Howard making that direct leap from high school to Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki making that roundabout leap overseas, they’ve all reached their potential without the middleman NCAA. Here are 20 NBA stars who didn't play college basketball.