Aging Debate

Philly's Rookie of the Year candidate weighs in on college ball, the D-League, the NBA's age requirement and what worries him about his fellow newcomers
March 17, 2014

Summer Dreams, a two-hour documentary on the 2013 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas and Orlando, premieres at 8 p.m. EDT on Saturday on CBS. The Hard Knocks--like doc offers a behind-the-scenes look at one lottery pick and a few long shots as they fight for their dreams during a continuous spin cycle of hoops. One of the featured players is Michael Carter-Williams, a then 21-year-old point guard drafted 11th by the 76ers.

With new NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently voicing his interest in raising the league's minimum age from 19 to 20, Carter-Williams shares his views on the possible rule change and his decision to leave Syracuse after his sophomore year.

I come from a strong background and have a great support system, particularly my mom, who is also my manager. That support has helped me make a pretty smooth transition from college student to NBA player, but not every rookie is as fortunate as I am. There are definitely guys I see and worry about because they're not prepared for this lifestyle.

These guys have never had this kind of money before. They don't know how to handle it. They're out there spending what they want, when they want. We have the NBA rookie symposium before the season, and the NBA sets up meetings throughout the year and has people come talk to us and give us financial advice, but there's only so much they can do.

Raising the NBA's age minimum to 20, as Commissioner Silver has discussed, has its pros and cons, but the good outweighs the bad. I know there's a lot of talk about the NCAA paying college athletes, and I'm not against that, but I'm not sure how much of an impact it would have on whether players would stay in school longer. Whatever schools pay, they aren't going to pay as much as the NBA.

Still, the NBA would be better as a whole if kids coming in were more mature and knew how to better deal with their lives off the court. Players would generally be better, and the league would in theory be stronger. Staying two years at Syracuse has been a big reason for my success this season with the 76ers.

The NBA is a culture shock, but it's also a shock to your body. The longer games and longer season can be taxing. In college I never thought I would be a one-and-done player, because I never thought I was ready at any point during my freshman year. I got so much stronger during my second year at Syracuse, and only then, after I felt mature enough physically and emotionally, did I decide to turn pro.

My experience makes me think players should go to school. I know the NBA D-League is supposed to present a great alternative, but in college you learn so much both on and off the floor.

From a basketball standpoint, the college game is a great place to grow and develop. It's different from the NBA, but it's the perfect stepping-stone. You also have the rivalries and the history behind the programs—you can't really get that in the D-League. Away from the court, you meet people with a lot of different interests and make some of your best friends. Those experiences help shape you.

My sophomore year ended really well. Our team went all the way to the Final Four. The team's great run put me in the spotlight, so by the time I had to make a decision about the declaring for the draft, I already knew I had a really good chance of going in the lottery, which helped me make the choice to leave. If it wasn't for that exposure and all the development I'd experienced my first two years, I might have returned for another season.

This year in Philadelphia (15--47 through Sunday), the hardest thing has been staying positive and getting past the down moments. It has been a long season, and it has definitely been tough. Going in, you don't really realize how much all the games and the travel can wear you down. I have drawn upon the ups and downs I had at Syracuse to help get me through.

Most NBA players would be in favor of raising the age limit. It would make the NBA and college basketball better, since star players would stay in school longer and the NBA would eventually get more-developed players—on and off the court. That's a win-win.

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Baseball Dr. Jobe

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Extra Mustard

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Faces in the Crowd

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Dan Patrick

Dirk Nowitzki

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The Case for

The N.Y. Rangers

Go Figure


Donation to Shaquille O'Neal's crowd-funding drive that will entitle a contributor to a game of hoops with Shaq on his personal court. For $600, O'Neal will follow supporters on Twitter; $500 gets an Instagram follow. The money will finance the development of a video game.


Points by which the Lakers lost to the Clippers on March 6 (142--94), the largest margin of defeat in franchise history for the Lakers and the largest margin of victory for the Clippers. At 22--42 the Lakers are on pace to set a team low for wins (30) since moving to L.A. in 1960.


Home runs hit by Rick Ankiel, the once-promising pitcher who reinvented himself as an outfielder in 2005 after mysteriously losing the ability to throw strikes. Ankiel, 34, who announced his retirement last week, averaged .240/.302/.422 in 653 games.


Unbeaten streak for the U.S. women's soccer team, which came to an end on March 7, when the squad was beaten 1--0 by Sweden. The team was 36-0-7 since a loss to Japan in March 2012.


Years Carmen Short was married to Yogi Berra. Nearly as much of a fixture in the Yankees' firmament as her husband, the Salem, Mo., native—a 19-year-old waitress when she met Berra—died at age 85 in West Caldwell, N.J, on March 6 from complications after a stroke suffered earlier this year. She's survived by three sons, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.


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