Why do Great College Basketball Players become NBA Busts?







"Sometimes a player's greatest challenge is coming to grips with his role on the team" said Scottie Pippen ( Many great college basketball players have to adjust to being role players in the National Basketball Association (NBA). A great college basketball career does not always lead to a successful career in the NBA. There are many reasons why an accomplished college athlete could have an unsuccessful professional career. But,why do even great college players become NBA busts?

For instance, there are many differences between the NBA and college basketball. The style of play in the NBA is very different then college basketball's. Likewise, there is more pressure to succeed at the professional level. A professional basketball player is given less time to show their skills as a basketball player then a college athlete. If a professional athlete doesn't perform the coach can cut or waive the player unlike in college sports where they just keep you on the bench. But, why do even great college players become NBA busts?

There are some great college players that are considered tweeners at the professional level. Tweeners are basketball players that have a style of play and set of skills that doesn't match the traditional position for their own specific height and weight. For example, there are college players that are considered to short to be shooting guards in the NBA. But, their skills are better suited for the shooting guard position and not the point guard position. This can shortens an NBA players' career. The basketball player can only then move to another position and develop more skills. If a player is unable to do this, then their NBA career will not last very long.

Troy Bell is considered one of Boston College's greatest basketball players. He is a classic tweener. He is a 6-1 shooting guard. He excelled in college scoring 2,632 points which are the most in Boston College basketball history. He started all four years at BC and averaged 25 points per game his senior year. But, this success did not lead to a successful NBA career. He only played in the NBA for one year with the Memphis Grizzlies and he only saw action in six games that year. He really is a shooting guard and the Memphis Grizzlies grizzlies wanted him to be a point guard. He was unable to adjust his came from shooting guard to point guard so Memphis Grizzlies cut him from the team .

There are great college players that are considered NBA busts because they cannot meet the high
expectations for their NBA career. Many people expect great college players to have a great professional careers. If their career turns out to be only average, then they are considered a failure. To illustrate, Christian Laettner had a phenomenal college career at Duke University. He is considered one of the greatest college basketball players ever. Some college basketball experts even think he is the greatest college player of all-time. His career included two national championships and four final appearances.

Likewise, Christian Laettner dominated the competition in college. He outplayed future NBA Hall of Famers such as Shaquille O Neal and Alonzo Mourning in head to head match-ups. The expectations for Laettner's professional career where extremely high. Many people thought he would have a Hall of Fame NBA career. However, his professional career was only slightly above-average. It was more run of the mill then great. He ended his career with averages of 12.9 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game. He also ended his career as journeyman. He played on six teams throughout his career. Equally important, his college career overshadows his professional career and he is known more for what he accomplished in college then in the NBA.

 There are some great college players who's playing style is not suited for the NBA. These types of college players seem to be lacking some type of ability you need to succeed in the NBA. For instance, the average college players is not as athletic as the average NBA players. Therefore, you can have a lot of success in college basketball evens if you are good basketball player with less, then stellar athleticism. However, you need very good athleticism to succeed in the NBA and there are of course a few expectations.

For instance, Adam Morrison was a great college basketball player. He won the Co-player of the year Chevrolet player award with J.J. Redick in 2006. He evens ended his career averaging 28 points per game. His NBA career has been less, then stellar. His career points per game average so far has been 8.9. This year after coming back from injury he has averaged 3.5 points per game in 11.1 minutes per game for his new team the Los Angeles Lakers. He has been struggling in the NBA because of his lack of athleticism. Similarly, he is not able to create his own offense and his own shots. His inability to create his own shot has hurt his field goal percentage which in his professional is .374. Likewise, his lack of foot speed is hurting him on defense. He cannot keep up with his quicker and more athletic opposition on defense.

There are great college players that have unsuccessful NBA careers because they get seriously injured or are injury prone throughout their career. The injury leads them to never being the same player that they were in college. For example, Bobby Hurley was a great player at Duke University. He is considered one of the greatest college basketball players ever. Dime magazine ranked him as the #5 greatest point guard in college basketball history ( He is still currently the all-time assist leader in NCAA history with 1,076 assists.

 His NBA career was not a success though he averaged only 3.8 points per game, 3.3 assists per game and 15.5 minutes per game for the Sacramento Kings in his five year NBA career. He had serious injury in his rookie year. Nineteen games into his NBA career he was in a serious car accident. In this car accident his injuries included collapsed lungs, one ripped from trachea, broken ribs, shattered shoulder blade, a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in right knee. After these injuries he was never the same basketball player again.

Success in college basketball doesn't always lead to a great NBA career. Some of the factors are out of the athletes control. Each level of basketball there is tougher competition. So regardless of how good a player is in college if they do not adjust their game to the NBA or improve their weaknesses. Then, they will just go from being a college star to another NBA journeymen. That will be left behind whiles another basketball player becomes the next NBA superstar.

Works Cited
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