Monday, April 5, 2010

2010 Kentucky: The Price of Turning Pro

Players hear that they should stay in school, raise their stock, use their scholarship and earn a degree. What's the price of staying in college? It's free right - room, board, school its all paid for. Wrong. The student athletes are paying. With you understanding that I realize there are probably some holes in my math, let's look at the cost for each of the Kentucky players thought to be heading to the NBA this season and how much they are paying to be in school next year:

Assumptions based on:
Rookie salary scale - This is solely based on base salaries and doesn't account for shoe deals and sponsors worth millions more for the select few.
Projections - I realize this is just one site and the player's ranks range. But let's use this as our example.
<>Values in  $Millions
Year of ContractNew CBA
John Wall123
Proj #1 20104,152.904,464.404,775.9013,393.20
Proj #1 20112,769.982,977.753,185.538,933.26
2010 vs 2011:4,459.94
Demarcus Cousins
Proj #5 20102,724.302928.63132.98,785.80
Proj #2 2011
2010 vs 2011:793.01
Patrick Patterson
Proj #9 20101902.22044.92187.56,134.60
Proj #9 20111,268.771,363.951,459.064,091.78
2010 vs 2011:2,042.82
Eric Bledsoe
Proj #17 20101261.91356.61451.24,069.70
Proj # 11 2011


2010 vs 2011:376.99
Daniel Orton
Proj # 27 2010933.51003.51073.53,010.50
Proj # 12 2011
2010 vs 2011:-497.65
The 2011 season is under negotiations and rumored to have a 33% decrease in rookie salaries. Couple this with a new projection for each player and you can see that it can cost this years Kentucky players anywhere from Bledsoe at $370k to Wall with $4.5 million to come back to school for one more year. The anomaly is Daniel Orton. If Orton were to impress and raise his stock (projected #27) he could potentially earn 500k more in the first 3 years given he increases his value to #12 pick in 2011.

What this doesn't show is that each player would likely miss one more year of the later part of their career. The part where those that hang around past their rookie contracts in the NBA would make well over their first contracted salaries. That means even Orton's $500k would be made up by getting one more season.

Thus, as college basketball teams make millions each season on their teams and each player is merely a business asset, I am perfectly fine with all of these players leaving for the league. If it only takes four years to earn your degree, would you go back for your MBA if you were going to lose money in the long run? No you wouldn't. Colleges are there for students to become better in their chosen profession - these players chose basketball as their profession.


  1. Can't blame any of these guys for going pro. I hope they all do well.

  2. Should a 19 year really be handed millions? If you have $8M does another $4M really make that much difference if handled properly? Are they mature enough to handle the lifestyle? Some may be. Is the dream only to make money or is it to enjoy the ride and accomplish something outside of themselves?

    I don't blame them for leaving and I understand it especially with the risk of injury, but do they so quickly want to turn away from having fun with people they consider brothers in a place that adores them to be traded and used simply for money when they can never turn back? Maybe it's too idealistic to think people live out of their hearts instead of their wallets, especially for guys who didn't grow up loving UK basketball. To be fair, they must also deal with the criticism from the minority of idiots in the BBN that often cross the line and that is a consideration too. I'd really like to know what advice former Wildcats who have played in the NBA would give to these guys. Would they say the money is worth leaving after only 1 year?

  3. I understand what you are saying but it isn't reality. The reality of the situation is that the money is available and these kids have a chance to possibly do something great or do something foolish, depending how it turns out for them. Some of these kids come from broken homes or homes where they grew up in poverty. This is a chance of a lifetime for them. It would be hard for me to turn that down and be set for life as well as being able to help all of those who took care of me.