Ask Charles Barkley one way to make the NBA better and his answer is simple: Have college players stay in school at least two years.
The NBA Hall of Famer made that opinion clear during NCAA Tournament halftime coverage on CBS on Sunday (March 23) after watching standout forward Andrew Wiggins struggle with only four points in No. 2 Kansas’s 60-57 loss to 10th-seeded Stanford in third-round action on Sunday. Wiggins's lackluster performance came days after Duke standout freshman Jabari Parker scored 14 points on just 4-of-14 shooting in the Bluedevil’s shocking opening-round 78-71 fall to Mercer on Friday (March 21). Sir Charles said that the NBA would benefit from having its future draft lottery picks play an extra year of college basketball.
"I want these kids to stay in school longer because the NBA is worse than it’s ever been," Barkley said live on CBS. "It’s not good basketball. It’s frustrating for me to watch. These kids aren’t physically or emotionally ready to come and play against grown men."
Barkley was especially critical of Parker and Wiggins, both considered potential No. 1 picks if they declare for the NBA draft in June.
"Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins are supposed to be top-three draft picks," he added. "They didn’t have very good games — and it’s just one game — but if they’re going to struggle against Mercer and Stanford, they’re really gonna struggle against grown men."
The outspoken Barkley wasn’t done just yet.
"You look at the greatest players to ever play basketball…it didn’t hurt Magic Johnson to stay two years, it didn’t hurt Michael Jordan to stay three years," he said, injecting the Hall of Famers names to drive his point home. "Other people’s analogies is, 'What about Kobe and LeBron'? Those guys are exceptional. Those guys are two of the greatest players ever, so let’s not base all of our arguments on those guys. Kevin Garnett also is in that group. I just wish these guys would stay in school. I would like for these guys to stay at least two years."
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(Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
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