Monthly Archives: April 2015

Leaving early can be more rational than you think

Olivier Hanlan is a major-conference player leaving school after his junior season. That may not turn out well. Leaving after his senior season may not have either.

Olivier Hanlan is a major-conference player leaving school after his junior season. That may not turn out well. Leaving after his senior season may not have either. (USA Today)

Each spring when a national champion is crowned, we who follow college basketball reliably turn our collective endeavors toward scolding every non-lottery-track player that announces his intention to leave school early. Comments like “Is there a third round now?” and “Get your passport ready” pop up regularly on Twitter each April.

Basically if I’m a basketball writer and you’re an underclassman who’s not projected to go in the lottery, I’m supposed to tell you to stay in school. The instinct behind that piece of advice is reflexive and genuine. It is also largely unexamined and — in one specific, admittedly qualified and most certainly narrow sense — incorrect.

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