Post Date: May 7, 2004

High school players that declare for the NBA draft are likely to earn millions more over the course of their careers than had they gone to college, according to a new study by Michael McCann, a Harvard Law School visiting researcher. McCann, a member of Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett’s legal team, also finds that these players are the most successful group of players in the NBA. Additionally, he asserts that attempts to ban players who just graduated from high school are likely in violation of federal labor and antitrust law.

“High school players who enter the NBA draft are a small, self-selected group, comprised almost entirely of exceptionally talented players,” writes McCann. “Simply put, for every Korleone Young, there are two or three Kevin Garnetts.”

Despite the common perception that they tend to fail, McCann asserts that “high school players average more points, grab more rebounds and dish out more assists than does the average NBA player, or the average player of any other age cohort.”

McCann’s research also indicates that high school players in the NBA earn more money, at a faster rate, than any other group of players to enter the league–on average about 25 percent more than the average player.

According to McCann, several of the often-cited “failures” of high school players who entered the NBA are either false examples or distorted interpretations. For instance, McCann cites former Detroit Piston Korleone Young, who “enjoys neither the fruits of an NBA career nor the rewards of a college education,” yet by playing basketball professionally abroad, “works substantially less to earn considerably more than does the average American.”

On the legal front, McCann believes there is little the NBA can do to prevent high school players from entering the draft. If the NBA were to unilaterally ban the players, McCann argues that it would likely be regarded as an illegal group boycott.

On the other hand, McCann contends that the viability of a collectively bargained ban between the NBA and the NBA Players’ Association would likely depend on the ultimate disposition of the Clarett case. If Clarett, who is trying to enter the NFL despite not yet being eligible, wins his case it would suggest that professional leagues are not permitted exclude a class of players through collective bargaining.

Members of the media can reach McCann at 617-875-6132 or