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Utah Jazz see both sides of early-entry rule

Published April 11, 2014 1:33 pm

Corbin says staying benefits players; Jefferson says schools gain financially if players wait.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Andrew Wiggins? Check.

Joel Embiid? Check.

Jabari Parker? … Jabari Parker?

As the nation's top basketball prospects declare for the NBA Draft, Parker, the Duke freshman whom many believe could be the No. 1 pick in June, has yet to announce his decision.

But if some NBA leaders had their way, it wouldn't matter.

During the last round of collective bargaining, league officials had hoped to raise the age limit for the draft to 20. The item was eventually tabled as a compromise to help finish a deal and salvage an already lockout-shortened season. But new commissioner Adam Silver has said he wants to look at the issue again in the future.

"It is my belief that if players have an opportunity to mature as players and as people, for a longer amount of time, before they come into the league, it will lead to a better league," Silver told reporters earlier this year, after taking over for outgoing commissioner David Stern. "And I know from a competitive standpoint, that's something, as I travel the league, I increasingly hear from our coaches, especially, who feel that many of even the top players in the league could use more time to develop even as leaders as part of college programs."

So for Parker, who turned 19 in March, the decision would be made.

In fact, just two of the projected top 10 picks will be 20 on draft night.

Jazz coach Ty Corbin has no preference on an NBA age limit, though he said he does believe players benefit from staying in school.

"I think their basketball knowledge is better," he said. "The more you play at a high level, the more knowledge you have, the [more] situations you've been in, the understanding of struggle, the understanding of success. … The more you play, especially at a major college level, the better prepared you are for this. But that's not the [end all]. Some guys get it a little sooner."

For Jazz rookie Trey Burke, staying at Michigan for his sophomore year helped him be better physically and mentally prepared for the NBA game. It also helped his draft stock.

"The way I looked at it, there's a certain number of guards that go in the first round," his father and agent, Benji Burke, said. "He wasn't one of the three or four. He wasn't going to jump over Damian [Lillard] or Kendall [Marshall]. He wasn't going to jump over Marcus Teague, who just won a national championship. I told him, 'Trey, come back. Get free advertising from Michigan. Win a Big Ten title. If you do what you're supposed to do, you're going to be one of the guys nobody can jump over.'"

Jazz forward Richard Jefferson, citing straight-from-high school stars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, isn't a fan of age limits in the league.

"The league has definitely been hurt by the age limit," he said. "The one-and-done is so terrible. There are certain guys that should be able to come out of high school. … And at the end of the day, this is professional sports. They're going to weed out the people that aren't good enough."

Jefferson, who played three seasons at Arizona, said he believes the rules hurt athletes.

"It's all about money," he said. "No one really cares if anyone comes straight of high school for baseball. Or if someone goes from high school to pro in tennis. Why? Because they don't make money for the colleges. Who makes money for the colleges? Football and basketball."

He added, "It's America. It's free enterprise. You should be able to do what you want."

afalk@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribjazz —

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About the Jazz • Have lost seven of their last eight. … At 109 points allowed per 100 possessions, they are the worst defensive team in the NBA. … Gordon Hayward is averaging 16 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists a game.

About the Blazers •Â Looking to complete the four-game season series sweep of the Jazz. … Former Weber State star Damian Lillard averages 21 points and 5.6 assists per game. … Winners of six of their last seven.