FanPost

College Coaches Lament NBA's "One and Done" Rule

The NBA draft is less than a week away and for perhaps the first time in the Howland era (maybe the second time?) the league's annual selection of top college players holds little interest for UCLA fans. Unlike past seasons, it's highly unlikely that any Bruin will get picked before the end of the second and final round. UCLA fans interested in following the post-collegiate careers of Mike Roll, James Keefe or Nikola Dragovic will almost positively be forced to get the scores from some foreign league.

But even in a year when there are no UCLA players expected to go in the first round, we're reminded of the league's dreaded "one and done" rule. This year, it seems like the entire Kentucky roster is one and done -- so if you don't root for the 'Cats this might be the year you favor the rule. Short of that, it's hard to find any college basketball fans -- even those who also like the NBA like me -- who like the rule. I personally believe high school players should be able to go pro once they receive their diplomas and the most valuable exploits of guys like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett pretty much prove that you can make it in the league without a token college season. It should be noted that without the one and done rule, Kevin Love would never have played in Westwood and we most likely would not have made it to the final four in what proved to be his lone UCLA season.

Brett McMurphy of Fanhouse has a worthwhile article on the rule. More after the jump.

McMurphy's piece summarizes much of the past discussions we've had on BN about the one and done rule. It also gets a number of college coaches on the record regarding the rule:

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, who turned down the Cleveland Cavaliers job Tuesday to remain in the college ranks, is one of several college coaches FanHouse interviewed that, not surprisingly, don't like the one-and-done rule.

"The reason I've not been in favor is there are so many players getting hurt," Izzo told FanHouse last month. "I've lost five guys – it's not a ton, it's not a few – but I'm going to keep my job. It's not about me.

"Yeah, I could have won another championship [with those players] or done this or that, but what about the kids? I've still got a job. If they come out early like so many do that have no business coming out because they get bad advice, they're done [playing in college].

and

Kansas State coach Frank Martin is not a big fan either.

"It's an awful rule," Martin said. "We have no control over it. It's an NBA rule. As long as the NBA has that rule in place, it jeopardizes us."

Like many BN readers, some college coaches like the baseball rule better.

Izzo, DePaul's Oliver Purnell, Villanova's Jay Wright and Notre Dame's Mike Brey favor the "baseball model" for college basketball.

"Let them go out after high school [to the NBA] if they're special and see if we can get at least two years out of them [in college]," Brey said. "I think the baseball rule is the best rule given that we are academic institutions. I don't know if we can get it to [three years in college], but could we at least get it to two years?

"And I think two years on a college campus is going to help 'em. He's going to get an education. But the really special ones, let 'em go after high school. Cut them lose. There's a handful of them. Let's at least get two years [before they leave for the NBA]. I'd love to get three years, but I don't think we can. But let's at least get two years."

One thing I personally like about the baseball rule is that baseball players don't "declare" for the draft. They just get selected. For instance, Gerritt Cole didn't put his name in the draft, only to spurn the Yankees for the Bruins. He just got picked then made a decision to play baseball in college. The implication of this is that players don't necessarily need to take a risk when they are draft eligible. If the baseball rules were in place in basketball, then Kevin Love would have been taken after his high school career. He could have gone pro or decided to go to college. If he went to college, he could then be drafted after his junior (or RS soph) season. Again, he wouldn't declare. He would just get picked then decide what he wanted to do. Another advantage of the baseball rule is that players in junior college could get selected before waiting for three years of college. The benefit there is that kids who aren't ready for the pros but are also not academically eligible for a four year school could go to a JC and we would see an elevation of the quality of JC ball -- like there is in baseball. With JC's a viable option for low academic performers, we would see more skilled players transferring to four year schools as good players get their academic acts together after slipping in high school. Of course, the minor leagues associated with major league baseball skew the comparision a bit.

One thing the coaches agree with is a point I've been making for years: The one and done rule is an NBA rule, not an NCAA rule and there is little the NCAA coaches can do about it. (see the Martin quote above) The mercenary aspect of the one and done rule also bothers some coaches.

"I've always been in favor of the baseball [rule]," Izzo said. "If LeBron comes out and he's good enough to go, he goes. But once you go to school, you stay three years."

Among the biggest complaints among critics of the one-and-done is that the players only need to pass one semester in the fall and can basically blow off the spring semester.

"I don't like the one and done for obvious reasons," Purnell said. "The kids aren't invested. They're already looking at getting out when they're coming in."

Some of the recent one-and-dones include O.J. Mayo (and we now know how well that worked out for USC), Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Mike Conley Jr. and Michael Beasley.

NBA commissioner David Stern responds:

In a 2008 interview with USA Today, NBA commissioner David Stern said the NBA initially wanted players to spend two years in college, but the collective bargaining agreement settled on only one year.

Stern said that players also have options other than college, such as European leagues and the NBA Development League.

"In a 2008 interview with USA Today, NBA commissioner David Stern said the NBA initially wanted players to spend two years in college, but the collective bargaining agreement settled on only one year.

Stern said that players also have options other than college, such as European leagues and the NBA Development League.

The more I think about it, the more it becomes clear that the NBA and the NCAA have a mutual interest and should find a way to cooperate. The NBA wants to see players after high school? Fine. Then they should do a better job of creating those opportunities, perhaps by making efforts to make their D League more legitimate. The NCAA serves the NBA by training the best players, sometimes only for a year, and also by making them popular via the many college games that are on television. If the NBA's rules are going to continue to hurt college hoops, then the NCAA should launch some missiles of their own. It seems draconian but maybe NBA scouts should be banned from college arenas (at least banned from getting free tickets and seats at the press table) and from college practices. If NBA scouts were treated like player agents (and really, they both have an interest in luring players away from college) maybe the NBA would start to feel that a cooperative relationship is more beneficial than an adversarial one.

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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