Wendell Carter Jr. has to be happy with his decision to declare for the NBA draft after just one season at Duke.
He was drafted No. 7 overall to the Chicago Bulls, after all.
Though his parents, Kylia and Wendell Sr., originally wanted him to stay in college for four years and earn a degree. But after seeing the way the NCAA treated her son — and others across the college basketball landscape — Kylia told Charlotte Wilder of Sports Illustrated after the NBA draft last week, they changed their minds.
“[The NCAA treats] you like a piece of property. Period. Point blank. They take things away from you, they talk bad to you, they’re disrespectful to you,” Kylia, who played basketball herself in college at Ole Miss, told Sports Illustrated at a pre-draft party on Thursday in New York.
Her thoughts echo plenty of other parents of college athletes — particularly the ones who feel strongly that the NCAA should be paying its student-athletes. She has made comments like this before, too, comparing the NCAA to slavery and the prison system earlier this year.
Though the money, she said, isn’t the issue here. It’s the respect, or lack thereof.
“The act of getting paid is not what makes a difference. The difference is that in the NBA, [players] are respected in the role that they’re in,” Kylia said. “Whatever it is they’re doing, they have a voice and they’re respected. In college, you have no voice. It’s a system set up that they drop you in and tell you what to do — you be a rebounder, shot-blocker, you take all the shots, nobody else can shoot. My child never got to show his full set of skills. He never got to do that.”
Now, Wendell’s numbers during his freshman campaign under Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was still solid. The 6-foot-10 forward 13.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and two assists per game. He started all 37 games in the Blue Devils’ run to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament, and averaged 26.8 minutes per contest.
His stats are pretty similar to Texas center Mohamed Bamba’s — who was drafted right before him at No. 6 overall to the Orlando Magic. And Wendell was playing in the shadow of Duke center Marvin Bagley III — who averaged 21 points and 11.1 rebounds per contest and was drafted No. 2 overall to the Sacramento Kings — all season.
So if Kylia is right in that Wendell “never got to show his full set of skills” in college, it seems like the Bulls have made the right choice in drafting him with their first pick. The potential, it seems, is plentiful.
And, of course, the confidence is right there with it.
“Of course I’m the best,” Wendell told Sports Illustrated. “You gotta have that confidence coming into this league. You’ll get ate up if you think, ‘Ah man, I’m not that good.’ You gotta be on your game for sure.”
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