Nothin’ but net with Nick

Get rid of one-and-done


Graphic by Karl Enghofer, The Spectator

Story by Nick Erickson, Managing Editor

It’s been a growing conversation for years now, and one that the NCAA can’t quite seem to solve quite yet, and with Kentucky’s five freshmen advancing to the title game a week and half ago, the talks became even louder about college basketball’s one and done rule.

It’s an imperfect system, to say the least. Basketball has proven it is the one sport where an 18-year-old kid can not only play, but be a star at the professional level. If you don’t believe me, why don’t you ask LeBron James, who came straight out of high school, whether or not he was NBA ready right away.

But then in 2006, the NBA raised the age limit to 19 years of age, forcing the top high school players in the nation to go to college.

As an avid fan of college basketball, this sounds like a great thing. You get a chance to see your favorite school go and fight for a recruit that could very well be the next big thing in sports.

Look at what Kevin Durant, who in my opinion will win the NBA League MVP this season, did for the Texas basketball program. He completely revitalized it with his sensational and explosive play for the Longhorns, a trend he carried with him to the professional level.

It draws more interest in high school basketball to find out where these top players will sign, and it truly amps up the level of play at the college level.

But there is something wrong with the one-and-done rule, and it has nothing to do with basketball.

These freshmen are already essentially playing basketball professionally, because they know they will be making millions of dollars even before the school year is over. Therefore, eligibility and academics really don’t matter that much for them.

And who can really blame these 18-year-old players for doing such a thing? They’re fighting to get picked higher in the draft, and class plays second-fiddle to the fight toward stardom.

The NCAA doesn’t punish a player for academics until after the semester, so as long as a student-athlete can maintain the minimum 2.3 GPA in the first semester and know he will be going pro in June, he essentially doesn’t need to attend class second semester.

That’s doing absolutely no good for the reputation of a university’s athletic department, and it’s not a good thing for an 18-year-old to get in the habit of dismissing education, because you never know when an ACL tear rolls around and messes up a basketball career.

So one thing or the other needs to happen.

Option one: Go back to the original rule of letting high school kids come straight to the pros. Like I said above, basketball is the one sport where 18-year-olds can significantly influence a game right away. Duke’s Jabari Parker would have been an NBA All-Star this year, there’s no doubt in my mind.

The best players in the world belong in the best league in the world. Period.

Option two: Make the players stay for at least two years in college. Take a look at the Wisconsin Badgers this season. Those guys have been playing together for a few years now, and it took them that long to grow together and reach the pinnacle of college basketball. And Bo Ryan’s squad isn’t exactly full of blue chip recruits.

Imagine if we saw a team like Kentucky or Kansas be able to mesh together with the recruits they get. Just to give a picture, Kentucky’s starting five three years ago would have been John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. What??

That team would be a playoff team in the NBA. How awesome would that be fore college hoops?

I think both of these solutions are better than the current rule, and it’s time for a change for the better.