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Athletes Face Tough Question: College Or Pro?

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FAYETTEVILLE — Standout high school athletes are faced with a big choice when it comes time to graduate: playing in college and risk a possible injury or going pro.

Several players are heading to Division I schools on full scholarships.Seventy-First High Schoolplayers Michael Joyner, Tony Simmons and Deon Dixon all have dreams of playing in the NBA.

Kenyon Martin has that dream too, but the Cincinnati star chose to stay in college with hopes of leading his team to a national championship. That dream was shattered Thursday when he broke his leg in the Conference USA Tournament opener.

"It scares me," Joyner says. "It's a big fear that is in my mind."

Players say the risk of injuries makes them think twice about whether they should stay on the college level for four years or leave early for the pros. They realize a collegiate injury could sideline them before fame and fortune hit.

Coach Bernie Poole says Martin will bounce back, but he tells his players that Martin will always have his education to fall back on.

"It's a gamble you take, and you have to decide what is right for you as a person in your family," Poole says.

Simmons says he wants to major in meteorology because he loves it as much as basketball.

"If I get injured, then I guess that I'll have a cane on the news while doing the weather," Simmons says.

Right now, the main thing on the minds of the Seventy-First High School players is bringing home a high school championship.