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Friday, March 30th, 2012 at 3:49 pm  |  4 responses

Nobody Wins With “One and Done”

SLAM’s EIC breaks down the problems with the controversial rule.

by Ben Osborne / bosborne17

Photo courtesy of Atiba Jefferson / @atibaphoto

Earlier this week I had a chance to return to my roots in a way when I got to write an opinion piece for the Washington Post’sOn Leadership” section about the ill-conceived “one and done” rule and some of the challenges it creates for both players and coaches. If you want to read the whole thing, the good folks at the Post would like you to do so on their site, but here are my first few paragraphs:

As March Madness culminates with the Final Four in New Orleans this weekend, all eyes will be on Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the two best players on the team favored to win the tournament — the University of Kentucky Wildcats. What’s particularly notable about these two players is that they are both freshmen. They play for a team that has three freshman starters and has been called “a waystation for NBA talent,” and they’re coached by a man who has famously (and controversially) encouraged his most promising young players to turn pro after one season.

However they fare in the end, Kentucky’s dominance in the tournament has prompted the reemergence of many questions about the so-called “one and done” rule, which forces rising basketball stars to play at least one college season before entering the NBA.

Can anyone win a tournament with a bunch of raw talent that has not had time to be shaped and molded into a team? Shouldn’t these young men have to stay in school longer than one year to prepare themselves for life beyond the sport? And what responsibility do coaches have to push for changing a rule that works for neither the players nor themselves?

My answer to the last question: Plenty.


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  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    If the NCAA really cared about kids it would allow to return to school if they turn pro and don’t get drafted at the right spot. And the NCAA wouldn’t have shortened the time to withdraw from the draft to April 11.
    The age limit benefits the NBA the most, and college second. The benefits it provides to some players are outweighed by the risks.

  • LAguneroFan

    @allenp, interesting points…
    If they were to get drafted and then decide to go back to school, that would really mess up nba teams. They can’t get that pick back. People forget that an nba career is temporary while a college education is there for life. It will especially be there for nba players with money to spend and all of the time in the world.

  • http://www.usportshub.com Perdman212

    One certainly can see the benefits of the rule for the NBA and the players union. The uncertainty that is put upon the college players and coaches by the rule is detrimental for both. Perhaps, as you mentioned in the article, a similar system to the that in baseball is a better way to go. This would give the players a choice coming out of high school and allow the coaches and fans to have some continuity with their rosters. The threat of injury would still be there, but no system will be perfect. If they implemented a turn pro or stay 3 years rule, I would think that the D-league would play a bigger part in the NBA, perhaps with minor league developmental teams for each team at some point.

  • Nick

    How about this…
    Each year NBA GM’s vote on 8-10 high schoolers who they grant the choice of leaving for the NBA right after graduating high school. The top talents can go to the league, but they can also choose to go to school. As for college, if you’re not one of the 8-10 kids allowed to go to the NBA, you have to stay 2 years. And, for the kids who stay the 2 years and then are drafted high, the NBA should provide both benefits and incentives by shortening rookie contracts and more money. NBAPA and the NCAA need to start conversations together. NCAA college coaches have the power to ignite these convos.

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