By Brady Stiff
I got to thinking about this the other night, and Neal brought it to light in his recap of last night’s NCAA Championship Game.
I think college hoops really would be better off if the NBA discontinued the one-year rule.
We have to keep reminding ourselves that it’s not the NCAA that made the rule that says basketball players must be out of high school for one year before entering the NBA draft. It’s the NBA’s rule, and it’s ridiculous.
John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins are expected to be just two of the “one and dones” in this year’s NBA draft. When you actually think about it, there really aren’t that many players each year who are legitimately ready to make the jump to the NBA. Wall and Cousins would probably be two of them. This year has produced some really good freshman in college basketball, but would all of the guys expected to be one-and-done, how many of them would really be ready for pro ball?
A couple of years ago, there was another big class of one-and-dones, but it’s really not the norm to have a big group like that.
Think about the players who made the jump before the rule was in place: Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, Andrew Bynum….that’s a pretty good list. I really don’t see what the issue is with letting true stars go to the NBA.
You’d think the league would want marketable players. Marketable players sell tickets, jerseys, etc. I would think they could find a way to market a John Wall.
Now some people would make the argument that once these kids are 18, they should have the right to find work. Their chosen profession just happens to be basketball. You and I have the right to go look for work at 18, don’t we? Just because they’re talented, doesn’t mean they should be held back. Isn’t it usually the reverse? Don’t the special, talented ones get all the breaks in life?
I’m not going to make that argument though. I’m going to say that college hoops would be way better off.
Look at last night’s championship game. How many of those freshman will be making the jump to the NBA? Not a single freshman started for either team. In fact, Duke is laden with upperclassmen, and Butler’s team is sophomore heavy, but only one is even rumored to be coming out (Gordon Heyward). Butler will be even better next year. There’s also no doubt in my mind that those two teams were the best in the tournament, and fully deserved to be there.
Not only will college hoops will be better overall, but it’s better for the kids too. A lot of people think the term “student-athlete” is a joke, but Butler and Duke serve as prime examples of why the term is still valid. The kids are committed not only on the court, but in the classroom as well.
Hell, a few of the Butler kids were in class yesterday morning. Say what you want about the game being just six miles from campus, but that’s not something you would expect from a National Championship team.
It’s hurting the programs to have one-and-dones. Do you really believe that kids who know they’re going to the draft after one year of school care about class? I don’t, because I know I wouldn’t if I were in that situation.
Question: What happens with those kids who never graduate?
Answer: It affects a school’s Academic Progress Rate. For a quick explanation of APR, we turn to a Rivals.com article…
The APR is a percentage score over a rolling four-year period that measures retention and eligibility of players. Teams can lose scholarships if their score is subpar and they have a player who left school early and would not have been academically eligible had he remained.
Programs like Memphis and Kentucky (noticing a trend there at all?) may lose scholarships if they (and by they I mean Kentucky) keep recruiting too many one-and-dones. Plus, that’s a lot of work to reload every single year. John Calipari (I was going to try not to mention his name at all in this post but oh well) went on record a couple of times about John Wall and his future. In December he told Dan Patrick that he was already recruiting Wall’s replacement, and just after the New Year he told Dan Patrick that he would wrestle Wall if he thought about coming back to school.
So you see, there really is no good reason for the NBA to have the rule they have. It’s really not benefiting anyone. The NBA is losing money, college programs are on their way to losing scholarships, and kids are being kept from their rights.
It’s better to have kids in college who actually care about going to class, as well as getting better at basketball. We’ve seen how good teams like this can be.
It’s time to make that the norm.