Los Angeles, CA
This excerpt if from the Jalen Rose podcast. He discusses the new trend of young players being held back in middle school (usually the 8th grade, so technically he's a 9th grader playing against 8th graders), so they can gain an edge over their peers.
Top prospects like Andrew Wiggins stayed back in middle school, but then reclassified as a senior (going from 10th to 12th grade, which is technically their real "age" group) when they realized they could get to college or pros faster. Kind of weird, right?
With top-shelf players leaving college after a year or two, the overall level of talent in NCAA hoops has significantly diminished. Back in the day, it was rare for an underclassman to leave school and only seniors went into the draft. If you went to play college ball, it was a four-year commitment. That's why the 1980s had the deepest pool of talent, more so than any other era. It was the pinnacle of college hoops.
If Michael Jordan played today, he'd probably leave UNC after his freshman year. And Patrick Ewing? No way he stays at Georgetown all four years. I think about Stephon Marbury's quick stopover in Atlanta at Georgia Tech. If he turned 18 in 2013, he would have bypassed college and went from Coney Island directly to the NBA. And if the Fab Five played today? It'd be more like the Fab Three because two of them would have skipped Ann Arbor completely and joined the ranks of the NBA.
But now, parents found a loophole in the system and they're holding their super-talented kids back a year so they can get an bigger edge. Whatever it takes, right?
Here's the full podcast.