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Miller opposes drafting kids

Jazz owner says NBA should have age limit

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It's not to say "I told you so," but Jazz owner Larry H. Miller knows there was a reason he always was so opposed to drafting kids into the NBA straight out of high school.

Or at least he was until last year, when the Jazz used their first-round pick on California high schooler DeShawn Stevenson, who is scheduled to be arraigned later this week in Fresno, Calif., on a felony count of statutory rape.

"You could say, 'He's 20 years old, blah, blah, blah.' That argues the premise I've always made: We shouldn't be drafting these 18-, 19-, 20-year-old kids," Miller said. "They can develop their technical skills, but can they develop their social and emotional skills to meet the rigors and demands of the NBA? That's a big question, and I think we've got to start dealing with that."

NBA commissioner David Stern favors a ban on high schoolers in his league, but the NBA Players Association is opposed, meaning it's not likely to happen any time soon. Six prep players declared for last Wednesday's NBA draft, and four were among the first eight selections.

Miller, meanwhile, sides with Stern — especially now.

"I'd love to find some limitation on the age that we can draft players," he said. "(Last week's) draft scares the heck out of me, when I look at the number of high school kids and (college) underclassmen.

"I think it sends a loud warning to us, if we're listening at all as NBA management and owners, that, 'What are we doing to our farm system?' I mean, you can call it what you want, but that's what college has been to us."

E-MAIL: tbuckley@desnews.com