College, High School / Jul 21, 2009 / 3:41 pm

Breaking News: High School Star Spurns Memphis For China

Photo. Charles A. Smith

Photo. Charles A. Smith

Just when you thought Latavious Williams was going to be the first big-time recruit for Memphis’ new coach Josh Pastner, the 6-8 forward from Christian Life Center in Humble, Texas has decided to head to China. Following in the footsteps of Brandon Jennings and Jeremy Tyler, Williams is opting to get paid while he plays next season.

Coming in the wake of the NBA’s discussion with Congress yesterday over the age limit for entry, this is another move that should shape the basketball landscape for years to come.

Check out the whole story on HighSchoolHoop.com.

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  • KT

    Go to college. I agree, if you can get paid you should, but the chance to be an undergrad is an unforgettable experience. Wouldn’t trade my time in school right now for the world.

  • Michorizo

    College Athletes should be getting paid! What happens if he goes to college and gets injured?

  • Aj

    Listen I went to college, but a year in China is also an unforgettable experience…

    Not to mention he’ll be getting PAID!

  • K Dizzle

    China? Who givin this kid advise? This ain’t even nice like western Europe or some South American countries…It’s China. If nobody goin there for vacations, then I don’t know if you wanna be ballin there.
    My 2 cents

  • QQ

    No, college athletes shouldn’t be paid. They are given free education. However, I don’t agree with the NBA not allowing HSers to jump directly into the league. Like #2 said, what happens if a promising NBA prospect has a career ending injury in college? Then he’s not gonna have the $$ he otherwise would. In today’s day in age, not planning and preserving your future is stupid. Go for the money!

  • sxm

    College athletes shouldnt be getting paid. And as much as i dont like HS athletes not getting good education, i do like the fact that they are gaining great going aboard. I just hope that these HS athletes that miss college do go back or at least take some classes in the off season…

  • SWAT

    brandon jennings went overseas cuz’ dude couldnt pass the SAT’s if i remember correctly. but honestly these kids should be gettin paid from the millions the schools pay their damn coaches and not counting the money they bring into the school…why shouldnt they get a portion of the profits?

  • dk

    You can always go to school, he can go to school and play. Get paid because that will only last for so long.

  • http://www.hot1047fm.com Steve Gomez 10a-2p on Hot 104.7 Modesto, CA

    You can’t be mad at someone for wanting to make money. We all do. I respect the fact that he would rather play professionally then then do the whole “1 and done” college thing. And it’s not like he can’t go get a degree when he’s done playing.

  • dk

    Hes gonna miss alcohol and dumb bitches. There will be plenty of pussy where he goes, fuck the ” college experiance ” get your money and run. He should continue his education while he plays over there

  • robmo35

    Brandon Jennings was a unique case because he was the first. The problem that Williams and those that follow his path will eventually encounter is the reality that young players don’t get much tick in international leagues. If there are 15 or 20 young U.S. guys playing on teams overseas, but sitting on benches overseas what are the odds of all of them getting drafted or even cracking an NBA roster. The college game gives these kids more exposure which could mean the difference between lottery and late second round.

    I think the NBA age limit is ridiculous, but while it is in place college in the U.S. is a better option.

  • fatty

    never let schooling get in the way of your education. Its not just the books and in the classroom where you learn and i think an experience like this could be invaluable for young people with aspirations in the league. If you can adapt to playing a a culture where english isnt even the no. 1 language you should be able to make it anywhere.

  • Young Lebron 23

    im not mad at tha dude by goin overseas but he is going to CHINA. There arent any good teams there as far as im concerned because u never hear about them. i could be wrong but i dont think he is that nice because he isnt playin in europe with the good teams

  • Dukesman2000

    College players should most definitely get paid to play ball. I am not talking about million of dollars, here, but something – 40K or 50K per year. These athletes are being showcased and generate millions of dollars for their respective colleges; they should get a cut. And please save the “they are getting a free education” crap. How many of these players actually graduate? I don’t blame dude, if you are going to force me to go to college even though I don’t want to, I’ll just go ever season get paid while I am at it and come back when I am eligible to enter the NBA draft.

  • bixby

    K Dizzle – I have vacationed in China… a unique and unforgettable destination for sure.

  • Diego

    No extra pay for college hoopsters. Don’t like it? Go overseas if there is a demand for you. (Anyway, football is what brings in the really big money at most division 1 schools.)

    One can always go back to college later, and at a more mature age, it may be much more appreciated by a player.

    Good point at post 11 though–is college a better training ground? (Sure worked that way for Udonis Haslem vs. his more heralded 1-year Gator peer, Donnell Harvey.)

  • Jsmoove

    Well, they ARE paid in the form of free education – and they are able to get away with murder while they are on campus on top of it. Because he is tall and can dunk he deserves more compensation than someone who goes to war for his country? What about scholarship students? They also bring money into the school, schools known for their renown academics get their name from the students they attract and thus are able to charge more for tuition. Same for teachers who are on the low-end of the collegiate payscale. After all, isn’t the point of college something other than basketball?

    If the athletes don’t think that their scholarship is enough compensation they are free to leave for more after one year. Or, go to China, ride pine, lose out on PT/experience, slip in the draft, etc. Then after their rookie contract is up and they still haven’t caught on they will be as dumb as they were when they were coasting through high school on their athletic prowess and without any sort of means to support themselves.

    Had Jennings been smart enough to get into Arizona, which I don’t believe is all that hard, do we really think he would have slipped where he did? Asuming he IS GOOD, he gave up a season of sportcenter on his dick in exchange for imedeate money & obscurity. And what happens as soon as/before he is drafted? He’s talkin crazy like some fool that doesn’t know better. Hmmm…

  • mr22

    china’s not a bad place to say if there are no “good” teams there. gives him more of a chance for playing time. i’m sure the level of competition is no worse than if he was to play college ball here. correct me if i’m wrong but there’s probably quite a few former d1 players in china. anyways,do what you feel is best for you. wish i coulda skipped college and went straight into a 50k/yr job.

  • http://www.espn.com Sho-Nuff

    A lot of you gentlemen seem to forger how much money the NCAA makes. They just got billions of dollars from CBS to bradcast the tournament.

    Read Albom’s book on the Fab 5. Look how much Michigan made off trading cards or Weber, Rose, Howard, King…yes college kids with trading cards, how many #4 and #5 jerseys they sold, how many baggy shorts, how much the Nike contract increased during that time.

    NCAA has money to pay, the just don’t want to set that precedent.

  • bballinca

    College bball players already get paid. They get free tuition, room and board, gear, travel, tutors etc. Think of how many college atheletes compete in college sports for the love of the game as their chosen sport doesn’t offer scholarships?

    I think going to China was a poor decision even though he will get paid. It will be much more of a culture shock than playing in Europe. At least Europe has many similarities to the US when it comes to culture and msot people speak english.

  • SWAT

    MAN YALL ARE MISSING THE POINT…THESE ATHLETES BRING IN MILLIONS OF DOLLARS!! good ish dukesman! at the dude tht says football brings in the big bucks…maybe but pls ck the hoopla behind MARCH MADNESS. now if jennings had been able to pass his SAT’S maybe we wouldnt even be having this discussion but he didnt so let these cats get paid since the system isnt paying them over here. seeing how much the game has gone overseas dudes may lose some exposure but its better than maybe getting hurt in college and not having anything to fall back on. and miss me with tht free education stuff because cats are not pulling a tim duncan anymore and staying the full four years

  • AB_40

    Wow all I can say is wow, there are a lot of restricitons in chines basketball in terms of comenting and media stuff like that, whole websites are being shut down there like google and bing. that will be a culture shock plus it isn’t a strong leauge but hey if the coaching is right good for him plus he’ll be getting a lot of media attention.

    I hope it goes back to 18 again in 2011

  • bballinca

    An education let alone a free one for those that have it is worth a lot more than the cost of tuition etc. It pays off in dividends if you compare the avg. salary of someone who graduated college versus those that did not.

    Second if you are paying players in college does that mean the star player gets more money than the bench/role players? Does a guy at UCLA get paid more than a guy at a D2 school?

    Third if you are that good and have the potential to go pro you can get an insurance policy that will cover any career ending injuries you suffer in college.

    Fourth your point about going to college and getting hurt and have nothing to fall back on is moot. Isn’t that the whole point of getting a free college education? How many college players even make it to the pros percentage wise? And see my third point.

  • the cynic

    if someone asked me to get paid while I ball and live in china, I would. Screw the free education, I could afford 4 years of college with the one season of play in china anyways. Not sure this will help his career like Jennings considering the skill refinement is much better in Europe then China

  • http://deleted Luigi

    My friend lives in China….he told me that Beer costs less than Soda…n u can buy DVD’s/CD’s for the price of a dollar. n can get the deluxe version for only two dollars……oh n u can probably get a buffet fulla chinese made food for 1.50. this is all a no joke!. im serious…so i guess he wants cheap entertainment/cheap food

  • Brown

    How many players have ever been drafted from the Chinese league?

    Good luck dude, I hope them dollar signs aren’t completely blinding you.

    Playing in obscurity should be real helpful in the long-term.

  • the truth



    You can take online or summer classes anyway, so why not get paid? Besides, did he even pass his SATs? Most student-athletes are athletes forced into college to get exposure; some of them don’t really have the drive to study and learn.

    Given that point, this kid should have looked at other options. Although he’ll be on of the physically-strongest players in China, his 6-8 ceiling will be dwarfed by the numerous 7-foot monsters that they breed in labs over there.

    Europe would be the best route for him, but he’ll get a lot of burn over there in China.

  • http://basketdependiente.blogspot.com/ Joros

    How can some people really support the NCAA’s policy of not paying its players?

    College Football and Basketball are multimillion dollar industries! The free tuition they give the student athletes is nothing compared to what they get.

    What happens if they get injured? Did anyone of you know that most of the school dont pay for the medical bills?

    Come on… there is no excuse


  • sh!tfaced

    always go to college when you got a chance. dont take the dumbass route. yeah, what happens if you get injured? your degree is your ultimate back up, thats what.

  • averagejoe

    Jennings made over $3 million in contract + endorsements in one year. I went to college for 4 years and at the age of 36 and in the 15 years since college haven’t made anywhere close to that. Think about what sort of advantages you have in life if you can pile on $3 million at age 19. There was no guarantee he would be a star in the NBA. I think going to Europe and getting $3 million instead of college was an extremely wise decision. Yes, he missed out on college but it’s not like he was on his couch at home eating Doritos. Sheesh if my kids have such an opportunity I’ll push them to do it.

  • averagejoe

    shitfaced. Consider this: you go to Europe for 1 year and get hurt, and earn $3 million. You can come home and have enough money to go back to school for 4 PHD degrees if you want to. Your argument makes no sense.

  • K Dizzle

    @ bixby

    and you can have it. I was workin in china durin the olympics and decided to take a cab into the villages and scope the shit you don’t see on tv. Mofos are dyin in the streets and whole families are streetside covered in filth.
    I’m glad you enjoyed your vacation, but you didn’t see china.
    Great culture…but you ain’t really see china. Place is foul. If you ask me if I wanna play ball there when I was 17?!? Hell no! I’ll take my free education at UNC, UCLA, Nova or wherever they gonna pay my $80,000 tuition

  • I. Hustle

    If any kid has a shot to do anything positive while getting to see the world, he should be commended for it. So what he does not go to college right now or ever for that matter, he gets the chance to start his professional career in another country. The country he lives in hasn’t really taken a stance on the NBA Age Limit Rule. They had their colllective thumbs up their asses. It’s been unconstitutional since it was put in place and a kid from anywhere in this country should have the right to choose his or her own destiny. Thank Brandon Jennings for the starting the trend. Sonny Vacarro, for giving the sneaker companies, NBA and NCAA the middle finger. Thank the NCAA, for a slave system provided to kids with the hopes to become a NBA prospect. Derrick Rose and OJ Mayo for being investigated by the NCAA for anything…they shouldn’t have had to go to college in the first place. Finally, thank you to David Stern for sitting back and not saying shit.

  • http://myspace.com/40sand9s loc

    1 – They have no plan on finishing. So who cares about the “education”

    2 – He could work at Mcdonalds and make money, he should be allowed to put a ball in a hoop.

    3 – Going to China is WAYYY more of a life experience than going to some bullshit university in buttfuck America.

    4 – Do people forget if “education” is something needed in the future, these guys can all go back to school if they so choose and be actual students. And maybe with money saved?

  • King

    Hockey, tennis, baseball and many other sports allow people younger than 17/18 to get paid for their sport so it’s hypocritiacal to call out these ball players for wanting to get paid. If it doesn’t work out the kid can always go to college and get a degree if that’s what he wants to go.

  • Jah

    College education is NOT the only way to go. Go overseas and play “professionally”, while getting PAID — and learn to live in, experience and appreciate another culture other than your own. College is NOT some “Holy Grail” for all African-American High School Basketball Players. No, they want to go to the NBA, and if this helps them accomplish that dream — DO it! You can always go back and get the college education. The “undergrad” experience is good, but it’s far from everything.


  • fLaVa

    A few have mentioned players going overseas to Europe for a one and done year but if they do not get PT, it will be imposssible for them to get into the NBA unless they were a stud from HS.

    I am actually working in China, its a huge city and economy is booming and some things are cheap but there are still your luxary living here and ball players get paid well and treated like rock stars. Level of competition is slightly less competiive than Europe but you see a lot of Ex NBA ballers here; Donyel Harvey, Bonzi Wells, Smush, Wang Zhi Zhi, David Harrison, Mengke Bateer and more which i cannot remember on the top of my head. Bonzi last year was avg 30,10,5ast so a lot of player from the States that do play in CHina do fill up the stat sheets.

    BUt i think it will be tough to take the China route to the NBA because the exposure isnt as big as Europe. I think after Latavious Williams finishes his first year in China, he’ll have a tougher time getting drafted so he’ll need to go through other routes like Summer Leagues. Unless hes content making decent money in China and being treated like a Rubio in Spain instead of going to the NBA.

  • Ender

    I have a Ph.D., and it would take me years of salary to match what a player could get in China. Further, most people who only have a bachelors degree have very limited opportunities for high paying jobs (excepting professional programs such as engineering and nursing). If you get a degree in “recreational management,” “social science” or some other major common to university athletes at big state schools, you might as well have gone to a 2 year trade school as your salary will be the same. If “school” is an investment, in many cases it just doesn’t pay.

    Focus on real education, real learning, and real marketable skills, and not just “going to school.” Learning “blue collar” skills such as soldering, machining, and splicing have been more important to my earning power than the many theoretical classes I took.

  • doc

    People who use that free education excuse need to chill because that is bullshit.Fuck that pay me.Colleges make millions upon millions every year on college b-ball and football players and supposedly kicking out some free room and board and some classes the one and dones dont need anyway that they charge 40k for is supposed to make u shut up and play.Im glad these youngins is spurning them.Make that money yall the league gonna take u regardless if u went to college or not.

  • doc

    Give me a million a year and ill pay for my own damn education.

  • http://www.werebucked.com/ Justin

    I hope this continues to happen. The current setup is a joke where guys have to sit out a year before entering the draft. I would rather see a scrapping of the D-league and have the NBA sponsor something that makes more sense. From a basketball perspective, why should elite BBallers go to school anymore, they only get 20 hours of coaching. Oversees they treated as pros, and get as much coaching and development that time will allow. The college basketball model is broken for the truly elite level player.