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New NBA age minimum would be ideal -- except for players


Here’s news to make college hoops fans smile – and irritate talented prospects everywhere.

The NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement could include a new minimum age limit that forces players to spend at least two years in college and by 20-year-old by the end of that calendar year before entering the draft, according to a report by Yahoo! Sports NBA writer Marc Spears.

The current CBA stipulates that players must be out of high school for at least one year and be 19 by the end of the calendar year. That rule’s been in place since 2005-06 with mixed results. For every John Wall or John Wall, there’s a Kosta Koufos or Spencer Hawes.

It’s a tweak that would benefit both college and the NBA.

Schools would be able plan on having impact players for an extra season, creating fewer turnovers among teams and boosting overall play and talent. The NBA gets players who’ve developed more skills and don’t have to toil on a bench because they can’t get on the court. (Not to mention the added publicity good players receive in college, which usually translates into more NBA fan interest.)

Is it fair to the top-flight players who are ready to go pro? No. Incoming Duke recruit Austin Rivers told Spears that players should have the right to decide. Rivers’ dad, Doc – the Boston Celtics coach – says it’s tough either way.

From Spears’ story:

“I do think college is important and basketball is important,” Doc Rivers said. “But growing up and maturing is really important for a kid. And guys [that] come out miss that part of it. For me, that would be a tough one. Having said that, if they’re good enough and they want to come out and go through with the draft, it’s hard to tell them no. In any other walk of life, the government, you get to go at whatever age you are accepted. But for us, there is an age limit.

“I agree with the limit and I think it’s good for the kid to mature. College is important for the simple fact that for the first time in your life you’re alone with no money and you got to figure it out. I always thought it will help me and help all these kids. But if you’re good enough and someone wants them now, it’s tough to argue against that as well. I can see both sides.”

Now, will the new minimum-age rule actually happen? That’s another story.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.