Nobody Wins With “One and Done”

by March 30, 2012

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.