LET’S STOP THE ONE-AND-DONE IN COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Now that the college basketball season is coming to a close, it’s time to re-examine the one-and-done policy enacted by the NBA 12-years ago. The rule was passed to keep draft eligible players from entering the NBA unless they had at least one year removed from high school in order to participate in the league.

The rule was enacted to keep the high flow of high school players that began flowing into the NBA.

It’s perhaps time to stop this ridiculous rule and turn college basketball back into the game it was intended to be….”traditional” college basketball.

I truly can’t believe the one-and-done has been good for college basketball. Yes, we enjoy watching the elite players for “one”season, but I can’t help but feel it’s not good for the game overall.

What we have now is the so-called one-and-done programs and then the rest of college basketball.

Many coaches refuse to recruit the one-and-done players despite the fact they could be extremely successful in one season. Ohio State was an example of a quick turnaround when the recruited Greg Oden and Mike Conley out of Lawrence North. They led the Buckeyes to the national championship in their freshman season and the bolted to the NBA. Ohio State has been successful since, but they haven’t been back to the championship game.

John Calapari is the one-and done master. His first team made it to the elite eight, but has just one national title under this philosophy. When Calapari had those type players return for a second season, the depth and experience paid off beating Kansas in 2012.

These are just two examples of coaches who try, or have tried to use the one-and-done philosophy. Others include Bill Self at Kansas, Mike Krzyzewski at Duke and Steve Alford at UCLA. Roy Williams of North Carolina claims he doesn’t pursue one-and-done players and good college programs don’t need elite talent, just cohesive talent. Williams does purse the one-and done players, he just doesn’t land them like the others do.

I say the NBA should change the one-and-done rule and do it now for the sake of “traditional” college basketball. The NBA now has the G-League and could use it as the “minor” league of the NBA. An increased revenue will allow the developmental league to establish a true minor league setup with players having direct relationships with all 30 NBA teams. The revamping of the G-League would benefit the NBA, but could have a drastic and negative impact on the college game. Highly regarded talent who have their eyes set on being a pro may see very little reason to attend college at all, thus resulting in a negative impact for the NCAA. The “minor league” will be a pipeline of talent taken right from high school.

If the NBA is concerned about education, the league could mirror Major League Baseball, which provides a scholarship fund that enables players signing out of high school or college to complete their education. The N.B.A. will not. Its goal is N.C.A.A. sports participation, not education. An education can be acquired during the summer and/or after the end of the individual’s professional basketball career.

The NBA contends that teenagers lack the physical and emotional maturity to play in the league, and that their presence in the league contributes to the perception that the quality of play is declining. I don’t think so.

The real issue for the NCAA and the NBA is the same: money. The NCAA is strangely silent about baseball, a sport in which more youngsters are signed straight out of high school in a single year than have been in the entire history of the NBA draft. The reason is simple: basketball is a high-profile, revenue-generating sport for the NCAA. and its member institutions; college baseball is not.

The NBA should make an adjustment to the one-and-done rule. A suggestion has been to allow high-schoolers to enter the draft but if a prospect decides to attend college, he must remain there for a minimum of two years.

The NBA says they would much rather work with the NCAA instead of damaging the college game, which has been heavily criticized in recent years for the lack of elite teams because of the NBA defections.

We shall see.