One and Done No More

By JON GAGNON
On February 18, 2012

In 2006 the NBA instituted a new rule that players must be at least 19 years old to be eligible for the draft, essentially meaning they would have to play at least one year in college.

The NBA instituting that rule has done more harm than good when it comes to the college game.

The pride of college basketball is now gone, and only appears to be a showcase for young NBA talent, much of which rarely pans out.

Players like Derrick Rose, John Wall, Kevin Durant, and most recently Kyrie Irving were all "one and done" players. It's safe to say these guys would have all been top 10 draft picks regardless of their one-year tenures at their respective colleges. Was it really necessary to waste one year of their lives, and more importantly one year of the institutions that provided them with a free education?

What's the point in making players attend colleges if they have no intention of staying there for more than one year? It is a discredit to the players, the fans, and most importantly the universities.

As a die-hard Syracuse fan I have had first-hand experience with this matter. In 2008 Donte Greene averaged 18 points per game as a freshman, and then bolted from 'Cuse for the NBA.

Was I mad that a promising young player who had the potential to bring ‘Cuse back to the promise land we experienced in 2003 left after one season? You bet.

His one year pit-stop in 'Cuse is now absent in my mind, and myself much like other 'Cuse fans, probably even forgot he was once a member of the Orange.

Have you ever noticed, with the exception of Kyrie Irving, that Duke's players are generally upperclassmen? Have you also noticed that all of Kentucky's star players over the last few years are freshman?

Two reasons.

One, because legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski recruits players who have plans to graduate and be a part of a respectable program and system. Players who will play together for the next three or four years and develop a continuity on the court, and more importantly, earn a degree.

Second, because Kentucky head coach John Calipari virtually guarantees you a first round draft selection. In the last two seasons, Calipari has provided the NBA with six players in the first round of the draft, five of which have been freshman.

This season Kentucky has been ranked as the no. 1 team in the country for a majority of the season. Mostly in part to its three outstanding freshmen, two of which will most likely be top five draft picks (Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist). Two sophomores (Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb) compliment the freshmen, would have also been first round picks last season, had the NBA lockout not affected their decision.

Although Kentucky has planted its seed as a top-five team in the nation the last three years, it has yet to win a National Title. Most would say this is due to lack of experience on the court.

In my opinion, this has been one of the best years college basketball has had to offer in a while because of the multitude of talented players. But it's for all the wrong reasons.

All that NBA scouts seem to care about these days is players ‘potential' or ‘athleticism.' Sure, those things are extremely important when drafting young players to help better your team's future. But isn't it obvious when someone can just flat out ball?

Remember watching LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Dwight Howard tear it up amongst the college ranks? No? That's because they didn't. When coming out of high school these players, and NBA scouts knew these guys could play. That's why they were top draft picks. That's why they decided not to attend college.

If players think they're good enough to go straight to the pros after high school, let them. I assure you there will still be enough talent left over for players who actually want to attend college.

Don't make them suffer knowing they could be getting paid. Don't make the schools suffer for knowing the free education they provide these athletes means virtually nothing.

Don't make fans suffer as we continually see the promise of our teams National Championship hopes be cut short by swift, meaningless stints that we refer to as "one and done."

Email: sports@ubspectrum.com


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