Bumped. - BN
Purveyors of the "One and Done" paradox point out that the small handful of the most talented high school players in the country actually are a negative impact to the program, and thus should generally be avoided in recruiting. They argue that these players are more preoccupied with getting their points, auditioning for the NBA, don't play defense, and generally don't "buy in" to the team concept. They argue that their departure leaves a void the following year, and years to come. And they argue that Howland's "system" (actually,at this point, I really don't have a good grasp of exactly what Howland's "system" is) is not conducive to bringing in these talents. I'm in opposition to this view, and was asked to create a fan post to generate further discussion on this topic.
If Howland's system in not conducive to bringing in elite-level talent, regardless if whether or not they may be "one and done", then I really have to question if Howland is the right fit here at UCLA in the long term. Other programs, programs that generally are thought of as being in the elite category, are operating under the same rules, regulations, and atmosphere that we are operating under, are not only doing just fine, but are flourishing. They are winning championships or are competing for championships nearly every year. And when their early departures move on and leave voids, those voids are quickly filled up, with perhaps a rebuilding year every so often that probably consists of 20-25 wins and a 1st or 2nd round tourney exit. It appears that coaches at these programs have "systems" in place that are conducive to bringing in these talents. We should have a "system" too. This "system" needs to attract the most talented high schoolers in the country, integrate them, maximize their talents, coach them up and mesh them well with the less-talented, longer-tenured players, and have contingencies in place to fill the void left behind after their departure. This is the system that other programs have. This is the system I want at UCLA.
Purveyors of the paradox also like to point out our disastrous 2008 recruiting class, billed as the top in the country, had one "One and Done" who basically did nothing, had a couple of major busts, and rounded out with a couple of solid if not spectacular contributors, and transitioned us into one of the worst periods of UCLA basketball history. While there is no arguing that that 2008 class was a disaster, I don't believe one class is enough empirical evidence again to argue that Howland's recruiting strategy should avoid elite players. He swung and miss on this one. He needs to keep swinging.
On the topic of "not enough empirical evidence" is also the argument that the "One and Done" player is a negative impact to the program. Howland has only recruited two of these players in his 8 year tenure. One worked out really well. One didn't. I would take a 50% success rate any day. Someone mentioned they would take 8 Jrue Holidays for a chance of 1 Kevin Love. I don't know if I'd go this far, but I am more in line with this thinking than I am with the thought that this player should be avoided altogether.
I really think the key recruiting problem here is that Howland hasn’t been able to replace what he loses early. The voids that are being left behind by the early departures aren't being filled at the same rate that players are leaving. If we had another 1 or 2 five star wing/perimeter players waiting on deck next year, we probably aren’t sweating the Honeycutt decision as much. Again, we have had only two "One and Dones" in 8 years. Some programs are bringing in 2 or more EVERY year. I don’t think the formula is to shy away from these players. Howland needs to land them at a higher rate, coach them up, and complement them with the 2, 3, and 4 year players. This formula is working at the other elite programs. Howland needs to find a way to make it work here.