Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Saturday, April 24, 1999

Early entrees ruin
NBA’s ‘farm system’

JUST when the college basketball recruiting season is over and done with, now comes the old back-door-play time:

It's the NBA's turn for recruiting the same hotshots , many of whom are still wet behind the ears and who said they'd play for dear old U.

Of course, they never said they'd stick around until they completed their eligibility or got a diploma, whichever came first.

It used to be that leaving early for the pros meant after the junior year. Now, many of the top collegians are leaving after just two seasons, some even after their freshman year.

Elton Brand, the college player of the year as a sophomore, figures he has done all he can for the Duke Blue Devils. He opted to leave early for the NBA draft.

He was soon joined by teammate William Avery, a talented point guard .

Considering that no player had ever left the Duke program early for the pros, you can imagine what a double jolt it must have been for coach Mike Krzyzewski. He'd be pulling his hair out, if it weren't so well coiffed.

Worse yet, talented freshman Corey Maggette is also thinking about leaving early for the NBA draft. Three Blue Devils in one year after none after all this time? Duke's nutty fans would go even more nuts.

Also deciding to opt for the draft , besides Brand and Avery, are Ron Artest of St. John's, Maryland's Steve Francis and Missouri's Albert White.

The deadline to commit for the NBA draft, which will be held June 30, is May 16.

The announcement that ev