Meeks messed up
by TONYA AMBURGEY - Staff Reporter
Being a newly christened University of Kentucky Basketball fan, I think I have the right to say that Jodie Meeks decision not to return to school for his senior season, instead opting for the NBA and the millions of dollars that will come with it was a mistake.
I say that as a reporter and someone who has never and will never be in that position. And if the shoe was on my foot, so to speak, I think my position would still be the same because I know what its like to play sports in college. Being a former college athlete myself, I can say that it takes a lot of hard work to be successful on the court and in the classroom. Some of my best memories were made on road trips and in the gym with my teammates, and Im sure the same is the case for Meeks, but he was making his memories on the best stage in college athletics, the University of Kentucky.
Even though Ive said before that I wouldnt want to go back to school, I think if given the opportunity to go back and play basketball again, I would. Ive used up my eligibility as a college athlete, but Meeks is choosing to give his up, and even though he has the possibility of going on to bigger things, I think he should stick around at UK, finish up his education, and get his degree while also getting a lesson on the court from Coach Cal, which couldnt hurt in preparing him for the NBA.
Sure, he will get paid when he goes pro, but what if he gets hurt in his first game and can never play again? What does he have to fall back on? His college degree, perhaps. I dont think so.
I understand that not all players go to college to get an education. Instead many go to use it simply as a stepping stone to the NBA, where it doesnt take a C average to be eligible to play. Its sad to see this because the education one attains while in college is worth so much and to see many of these college athletes, Meeks included, bypass this opportunity for a quick road to fame and fortune is upsetting. He went to school for three years and I commend him for that, but four wouldve been better. I also know he can still earn his degree while playing in the NBA, but he will be doing it without the college experience and the chance to play in front of the Big Blue Faithful, the best part of it all.
All the talk about staying in school to get an education is good, but I also wanted to see Meeks stay for selfish reasons. I wanted to see him in the blue and white for just one more season under a new coach and in a new system with endless possibilities that would end with numerous victories, hopefully. Putting Meeks, the All American who led the SEC in scoring last season while putting up at least 45 points in three games, with the new crop of talent signed by Coach Cal would be a joy to watch.
He is projected to get drafted late in the first round or early in the second round, and with my selfish reasons aside that type of projection is enough to make me say that he should stick around for his senior season. Other than the money he would get from signing with a team if he was offered a contract, what does he have to lose? Nothing, but with the stacked roster of talented players Calipari has in Lexington, he stands a good chance of missing out on a national championship if ole Cal can get everyone eligible, which he proved to be good at during his time at Memphis.
Regardless, the deadline has passed for Meeks to withdraw his name, and even though I wish he wouldve come back for one more year, he didnt and now we will have to wait until draft day to see how he fairs. I hope he does better than projected and has a successful career at the professional level. And who knows, maybe by the time next season rolls around and weve feasted our eyes on the new and improved Cats, we might be saying Meeks who? I doubt it, but it could happen.
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