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Turning pro early, in Europe

2009 May 29
by Skip Sauer

After two years at Clemson, Terrence Ogelsby will play basketball next year in Europe. A Florida player with NBA level talent, Nick Calathes is also leaving school after two years to play in Greece. These are the only two college players mentioned in this discussion (Frederick has completed his eligibility at South Carolina), but I expect this will become more common in the years ahead. Ogelsby’s dad played in Europe, and Calathes is a native of Greece, so they are well enough informed to blaze the trail to Europe for underclassmen. As basketball institutions improve across the pond and information spreads, playing for a scholarship won’t seem such a good deal alongside the opportunity to earn a few hundred grand, or more.

Institutions change slowly, but the improvement in world basketball is a long term trend that is plain as day. College basketball has imported top foreign talent for some time, but economic forces imply that the flow will reverse. I doubt college basketball will soon mirror college soccer (where the best talent flows to the money centers fairly early, and skips college), but that is the direction it is headed.

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