The end of the age limit of the NBA is in sight. The league took the first step on Wednesday to provide the necessary infrastructure to evaluate and teach high school players to the pros when it announced a partnership with the NCAA, the NBA Players Association and the US basketball that are the four parties bringing together training and life skills programs, health and wellness.
The age limit is unlikely to be phased out before 2021 or 2022, but this partnership gives NBA teams a chance to scrutinize the brightest young players coming through the pipeline.
Here are the practical implications of this announcement:
USA Basketball is expanding its training camp
USA Basketball brings the best high school players in the country for decades to themselves for the 1
Earlier, the event hosted a select group of seniors who competed for invitations until April's Nike Hoop Summit, as well as younger players based on which age group the FIBA competition was next on the calendar.
USA basketball 2018-19 schedule for training camps and competitions looks like this:
USA basketball training camp schedule
|Junior National Team Minicamp||October 2018||Colorado Springs, CO|
|Junior National Team Minicamp||April 2019||Minneapolis, MN|
|Nike Hoop Summit||April 2019||Portland, OR|
|USA Basketball Training Camp||June 2019||Colorado Springs, Colorado||19659018] FI BA Americas U16 Championship||June / July 2019||TBD|
|FIBA U19 World Championship||July 2019||TBD|
|Junior National Minicamp||July 2019||Colorado Springs, CO|
Does that mean that NBA scouts are for every event in the gym?
Not yet. SB Nation confirmed with USA Basketball that even with the NBA, NBPA and NCAA running the training camps, pro-scouts are not allowed to rate players in the October minicamp.
Pro Scouts are allowed to watch players during the Nike Hoop Summit exercises and during the annual Summer Mini Camp.
USA Basketball has stated that this can be changed as any new initiative in the partnership.
What kind of education will players receive?
The partnership promises "enhanced basketball training" in each camp through cooperation between the four parties. Players will also be part of a "health and wellness program" led by former Dream Team coach Ed Lacerte.
Here's how USA Basketball put it:
life skills education and out-of-court development will also be key priorities for the expanded program, with player training on various topics, including positive decision-making and sound cultural understanding and diversity, Leadership and character development, collegial aptitude and recruitment.
The expansion will also introduce a novel parenting program to provide families with resources and information to help them support their athlete's development on and off the court. The program's off-court programming includes year-round opportunities for players and parents through online life skills modules developed by Game Plan, an NBA G League eLearning platform and numerous Division I colleges and universities.
Does US basketball successfully prepare high school players to the next level?
Yes. Since 2009, the USA men have achieved a remarkable 125-3 overall victory and won gold in 18 of the 20 competitions.
The alumni list is basically a who-who of the players who have been selected at the top of the NBA draft in the last decade. Jayson Tatum, Mohamed Bamba, Markelle Fultz, Jaylen Brown, Wendell Carter Jr., Josh Jackson, Michael Porter Jr. and Trae Young are just some of the players who have participated in FIBA basketball competitions in the US in recent years.
What does that mean for the end of the age limit?
It is no coincidence that the NBA is aiming for 2021 or 2022, as first-year high school players are allowed to re-enter the draft. Class 2021 is entering its second year of high school. The class 2022 is full of new undergraduates. The announcement of this partnership enables the NBA to collect and collect information about the best players in these classes throughout their school career.
You can already find class rankings on the ESPN Ranking List for Class 2021. There are rankings for the 2022 class if you look hard enough.
This agreement marks the first time that the US Basketball, the NCAA, the NBA and the NBPA work together. While this is not a groundbreaking announcement that will officially usher in the prep-to-pros era, this is a necessary first step.