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THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS: NBA DRAFT DEADLINE LOOMS
Published May 11, 1998
The "frenzied recruitment" of NJ high school basketball player Al Harrington will end today when he holds a news conference to declare his intentions, according to Lenn Robbins of the N.Y. POST, who reported that Harrington will announce he is making himself eligible for the NBA Draft. A source "very close to the family" said Harrington was "making the big jump" (N.Y. POST, 5/9). On Saturday, UConn's Richard Hamilton said he would return to school for his junior year. He said that a potential NBA lockout had "little impact on his thinking." Hamilton: "Now I can sit back and relax. I don't have to worry about growing up too fast, worry about all these business decisions and things like that" (Michael Arace, HARTFORD COURANT, 5/10). PLUTO SAYS LET 'EM GO: In Akron, Terry Pluto writes under the header, "Let Them Learn The Hard Way About The NBA. Once Prep Stars Fall, Then They'll Understand Why They Needed College." Pluto writes that student-athletes with the NBA "on their minds" don't "belong in the same classroom as those who really are there to learn," adding that the average "18-year-old has about as much interest in college as your average NBA player does in botany. So let 'em go pro." Pluto: "Let those who aren't the next [Kevin] Garnett or [Kobe] Bryant learn a real lesson in life. Then, one day, some might decide it's time to go back ... [and] take their education seriously" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 5/11). AND WHAT OF THE LEAGUE? In N.Y., William Rhoden wrote on the NBA's veteran stars who will leave the league in the next three years: "Soon we will see what the league has really become: style over substance, individual over the team. Plucking young people off the vine ahead of their time, lavishing them with millions. ... The N.B.A. is about to reap what it has sown" (William Rhoden, N.Y. TIMES, 5/9). STILL GOT GAME: Spike Lee's "He Got Game" fell to third place in this weekend's box office returns, earning $3.8M. Through its first ten days in release, the film has grossed $11.4M (THE DAILY). In Sacramento, Ailene Voisin wrote the film is a "must-see movie for anyone who follows basketball and gives a hoot about the game, the people in the game, and what has become of the game" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 5/10). ROOKIE CAP: In Cincinnati, Mike DeCourcy wrote that the rookie salary cap, introduced in '95 "as a cost-control device for the league," is "viewed by many as having cut loose the flood of inexperienced players who entered the draft in recent seasons." The cap "does not appear to have been a good deal for basketball at the high school, college or professional levels." NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik admitted the cap hasn't "done as much as we would have liked," but said it has prevented contract holdouts and "avoided long-term, very expensive, contracts for guys who really aren't worth it" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 5/10).