Thursday, March 25, 2010

10 comments One-and-Done Will Never Be Done

This time of year many sportswriters and pundits start talking about the NBA's one-and-done rule. Many people hate it (mostly everybody), but other people don't hate it (either NBA fans or the NBA itself). Personally, I don't care for the rule, but I don't care if it gets changed or not. I know that may not make sense to anyone necessarily, so I will explain. I think a player should be able to go straight to the NBA after high school if he wants, but if he goes to college he should stay at least two years. What I like about the one-and-done rule is it allows me to see great high school players play basketball in college for at least one year, but what I hate about the one-and-done rule is it pretty much makes a mockery of the "student-athlete." So while I do enjoy seeing athletes who would normally go to the NBA after high school, the one-and-done rule doesn't seem fair to me.

There is a common misconception the article for today clears up. The one-and-done rule isn't for college basketball, it's for the NBA. It was the NBA specifically who wanted the rule so they could prevent high school kids who aren't ready to play in the NBA from coming straight to the league out of college. Apparently the NBA got tired of stories like Taj "Red" McDavid's gaining sympathy (and making the NBA look bad for "misleading" these type players) and thought this could be prevented by forcing athletes to stay in college for one year and let the NCAA handle the problems this causes. Thanks, NBA!

I have covered this topic somewhat before, but there was an article I wanted to cover on NBCSports.com that talked about it more in length. I, of course, had some comments on the article that I wanted to share.

With all due respect to the rest of the field, the odds are favorable that coach John Calipari and his talented flock of freshmen will be trimming the nets, hugging and dancing as the confetti falls April 5 in Indianapolis.

I think this possibility is very high. If this happens, the next day, 5 members of the team will probably declare for the NBA Draft and 3,561 sportswriters will write a column either about how good the team would be if all those players returned next year, how this could have been one of the best teams of all-time if the players stayed in school, and why the one-and-done rule sucks. David Stern will look forward to the fresh blood in the NBA and begin the process of fixing the draft so the team of his choosing gets John Wall.

But when the party is over, it’s also easy to imagine college basketball suffering through an unusually long hangover period — because the news that follows in the hours, days and weeks after the championship game figures to be unprecedented.

I don't know if "unprecedented" is the right way to state this. The NCAA has had many players go to the NBA in the past, and even many players from one team go to the NBA, before this year. I can think of a bunch of teams right now that lost most of the contributing members of their team after a college basketball season and that team survived. Now it does take a few years to recover from a player exodus like this, but a mass exodus doesn't always leave a program in shambles.

We’ve said quick goodbyes to stars we hardly knew, including Kevin Durant at Texas and Michael Beasley at Kansas State. But if John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe all leave Kentucky before their championship rings can be ordered, college basketball symbolically will feel the full impact of the so-called “one-and-done” era.

I couldn't agree less. Symbolic or not, I don't think this class of freshmen from Kentucky are going to be the breaking point of the one-and-done rule. I think the only symbolism this exodus from the University of Kentucky would tell us that 2-3 of these players would never have attended college if it weren't for the one-and-done rule. Besides, not all the players who would declare from Kentucky are freshmen. Patrick Patterson is a junior.

Here is a partial list of teams over the last decade or so that lost three or more good players to the NBA Draft and the world did not end, nor did college basketball feel the full impact of the one-and-done rule for an extended period of time. If I forget some players, please tell me, I didn't mean to make this list ACC-centric.

2008 (Kansas): Mario Chalmers, Darrell Arthur, Brandon Rush
2007 (Ohio State): Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., Daequan Cook
2006 (Florida): Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah, Al Horford
2005 (UNC-CH): Marvin Williams, Sean May, Raymond Felton, Rashad McCants
2002 (Duke): Carlos Boozer, Jay Williams, Mike Dunleavy
1999 (Duke): William Avery, Corey Maggette, Elton Brand

Those are the ones I could think of off the top of my head. My point is college basketball survived, even if those teams took a little bit of time to recover from the departures.

That isn’t the message college basketball wants to send.

Well of course not. The important thing that needs to be known is the one-and-done rule is an NBA rule, not a college basketball rule. College basketball has nothing to do with the one-and-done rule, other than the fact the student-athletes have to obey it and live with it. A player out of high school either has to go overseas to play or play one season of basketball on a college campus under the one-and-done rule set out by the NBA. College basketball has recovered before and will recover again from the effects of the one-and-done rule.

The Kentucky trio won’t be alone. Xavier Henry of Kansas, Derrick Favors of Georgia Tech and Avery Bradley of Texas are among other freshmen expected to leave school for the pros.

Kansas has the opportunity and ability to recover from losing Xavier Henry, Derrick Favors wasn't staying more than one year anyway, and Texas already has one big recruit that has signed and is looking at others, like Corey Joseph that will replace Avery Bradley. Basically, the Longhorns will survive as well. This happens every year and college basketball recovers. I am not a huge fan of the one-and-done rule, but this year isn't the point at which everything comes crashing down because of the rule.

College basketball, regardless of its new champion, is about to take a major hit.

A hit like college basketball takes nearly every other year. In 2007, two of the best college basketball players in the nation were both freshman. That was of course Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. College basketball took a big hit, but is as fine as it can be now.

The controversial change has worked to the advantage of the NBA, in terms of marketing players and scouting them.

Of course it has worked to the advantage of the NBA. It gives their future players exposure before they actually get drafted and make it to the NBA. College basketball is like a marketing tool for the NBA with the advent of the one-and-done rule. The NCAA puts guys like Kevin Durant on a big stage where they can be seen and then reaps the benefits of this exposure...um, never...and then the NBA comes in and has a ready-made superstar that can go to an NBA team. One-and-done is the NBA originated rule and the NBA really likes it. It's not going away.

It has become a source of great disdain for college coaches.

Well, of course. It affects graduation rates, it causes teams to lose scholarships if the players just quit going to class, makes it difficult to make a decision on whether to recruit a player or not for a coach, and most of all it forces a coach to put in the back of his mind whether he will give a player minutes or not. It sounds crazy but...

For example, if you are Roy Williams, are you giving 25 minutes to Ed Davis in his freshman year so he can progress and go to the NBA after one year if you also have a perfectly good player like Deon Thompson in front of Davis to where he only gets 15-20 minutes and stays out of the eye of NBA scouts? Of you are not giving Davis too many minutes if you think you can have a good team without him playing major minutes. In my mind, if Ed Davis had gotten more minutes than Deon Thompson last year would UNC-CH have been an even better team? Absolutely, he would have progressed to the point where he may have deserved to have major minutes, but why try to develop Ed Davis in his freshman year for the NBA to take him? Work with him in the summer and give yourself one more year with him on the roster. It makes more sense.

This may not be the best example, but I would bet thoughts like this are in the back of a college basketball coach's mind. If they can give another player major minutes ahead of a highly touted freshman without hurting the team, what's the harm?

The important thing is the NBA doesn't give a shit about how this falls on the NCAA. We'll learn more about that later. They get what they want. The players coming into their league get exposure and can adjust to life in the spotlight without having an NBA paycheck. The NBA isn't the bad guy anymore, they just want these players to grow up (for one year) before they play in the NBA.

The players don't want to go to class after their freshman year? That's the NCAA's fault. Players don't stick around for more than one year and it makes it more difficult to recruit not knowing if a freshman is staying or not? Learn to adapt. The NBA wants the NCAA to be responsible for nurturing the players who may get drafted, so these players can adjust to life in the NBA. The NBA doesn't want to be the ones who have the blame put on them of poor advice for a player coming to the NBA out of high school. Now it is the coach of the institution the player left who is responsible for making sure a player doesn't get bad advice and ensuring he stays in good academic standing.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has been a leader in opposition to the rule, saying any player who is good enough should be allowed to turn pro directly out of high school.

Baseball players can and hockey players can as well, why can't basketball players? If a player is ready to be in the NBA, then let him go.

But if a player comes to college, Krzyzewski says, he should stay long enough to take the core courses that lead to a degree.

I agree. I think a player should have to stay in school for three years if they are skipping the NBA, but this isn't realistic. I would settle for a player staying two years in college and then being able to go pro. Of course, I am a college basketball fan so I would naturally favor what helps college basketball over the NBA.

Though I don't think forcing players to choose between going straight to the NBA or staying in college for two years hurts the NBA either. It just puts the NBA in a position where they have the problem of policing agents and others who may give the athlete poor advice. The NBA doesn't want to do that. They want a ready-made NBA player and would prefer to leave the dirty world of agents contacting players before they are eligible for the NBA and the policing of this world to the NCAA.

The NBA looks terrible when Taj "Red" McDavid is told he will get drafted and then doesn't get drafted and has hired an agent. That makes them feel bad about themselves. It's much more preferable for the NBA to say a guy like Daequan Cook got bad advice from Thad Matta or ignored the advice of the draft advisory board, which they couldn't control of course because Cook was enrolled at Ohio State at the time he was making the decision to enter the draft or stay in college. It makes the NBA feel a whole lot less dirty.

“It’s a bad rule. I think it’s a really bad rule,” Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said. “In my opinion, it makes a mockery of education in college and also I think it’s condescending on the NBA’s part. To be honest with you, I’m not sure how much the NBA cares about college basketball. They’re in the business of making the NBA the best product they can make it. I think the NBA is happy with the way their rule is. They get to market these kids for a year (before they turn pro).”

This is exactly right. I think this is the point that is missing in the traditional one-and-done debate. Can you blame the NBA though? If they can get away with it, why stop? It's not their problem a player leaves a program early or because a player has to go to college, a coach bends the rules a little to get him in. The NBA has the one-and-done rule and lets others sort out the problems with the rules and I don't blame them because they can do it.

Many coaches, including Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun and Kansas’ Bill Self, would like to see the NBA allow players to be drafted out of high school, then force those who go to college to stay three years. That model mirrors the entry rules for Major League Baseball’s amateur draft and has been endorsed by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

I love this rule. From a personal standpoint, I think three years is plenty of time in college. It is a joy to watch a player like Kyle Singler go from a lanky freshman who has to play center at times his freshman year to a small forward as a junior. There is a chance he would have gone to the NBA out of high school if given the chance. Instead of being another Shavlik Randolph who sits the bench because he hasn't developed skills in college, he has gone from a guy who was a little confused on how to play small forward (his natural position) in his team's offense to a difficult matchup for the other team at small forward. He did this since November by the way. He looked like he was bordering on a disaster in the beginning of the season even if the statistics don't show it. Of course he still may not be good enough to go to the NBA, but that is beside the point.

Also, guys like Patrick Patterson and Greg Monroe who very well could have gone to the NBA out of high school, regardless if they were ready or not. They are skilled big men and those guys aren't in high quantity in the NBA. I imagine if the one-and-done rule wasn't in place, one or both of these guys would have gone to the NBA. I have gotten the joy of seeing Patterson go from a inside-out forward who is the best/second best player on his team, to a talented scoring forward who has changed his game to fit the skills of his teammates. Greg Monroe has become the focal point of the Georgetown offense and is a guy who I am going to really love watching in the NBA. Maybe this would have happened after he left high school, but I can't help but imagine playing in the Princeton offense at Georgetown didn't help his skills transfer better to the NBA level, to where he could contribute immediately when he enters the league.

My point is I enjoy watching things like this. I enjoy seeing players progress through college until you actually see their NBA potential. What's frustrating is seeing a guy go-to the NBA because of "potential" that you never actually saw in the player while he was in college. I understand the one-and-done rule from an NBA perspective, but I think there are better options available for players who want to enter the NBA from high school.

For every player who is a success like Durant, the No. 2 overall pick, there’s Javaris Crittenton of Georgia Tech, who was picked No. 19 by the Lakers in 2007 and has bounced around to various teams.

Here's my question...wouldn't that have happened anyway? Granted, Crittenton was young when he came in the league, but some guys don't have the personality to be successful in the NBA and I always thought Crittenton was one of those guys.

Calipari, who recruited Tyreke Evans and Derrick Rose at Memphis, has been labeled a renegade for his open pursuit of one-and-done players.

It's not being a renegade, if that is how you want to build your program then more power to you.

Not every team is able to reload, however. Georgia Tech had two star freshmen in Crittenton and Thaddeus Young in 2007, but they lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament and the Yellow Jackets did not return to the NCAA tourney until this season , losing in the second round to Ohio State.

That's not because of a lack of talent, but a lack of good coaching in my mind. Georgia Tech has always been one of the worst disciplined teams in the ACC since Paul Hewitt got there...at least in my mind. He's a great guy, but he can't control his players. They commit turnovers and sometimes don't look like they give a shit.

South Carolina coach Darrin Horn says if the players produce the way the Kentucky players have, “then absolutely you take those guys.” The negative, Horn says, is replacing them after they are gone.

You absolutely take those guys. I don't disagree. I just hate the way the debate has shifted. It has gone from, "Will the NBA give these players good enough advice about their future and make sure they make good decisions?" to "How do will college coaches adjust to having a player leave early and how do they make sure the player is making the right decision." Basically the NBA Draft decision has shifted away from the NBA itself giving the athlete advice and more on the college coach reaching out and trying to get a feel where that player will go.

What annoys me is the NCAA coaches wanted the commit deadline moved up so they could know who they are going to lose to the NBA Draft and recruit accordingly...and guess who is getting shit for this? NCAA coaches. That's not fair because the one-and-done rule isn't their rule, it is the NBA's rule. NCAA coaches have a job to do and need to know what personnel they will have to do their job effectively. Recruiting isn't just plopping up a player you think may be good, it is about helping a student-athlete choose a school that is right for him and making sure that person will be successful at the school. So Thad Matta just can't grab a small forward if he unexpectedly loses his starting small forward, he has to cultivate relationships with recruits, and needs to be able to tell that recruit what to expect if he chooses Ohio State.

There are hidden consequences. Oden, Conley and Daequan Cook were freshmen when they helped Ohio State reach the 2007 title game and then became first-round draft picks. All were in good academic standing, but Oden failed to complete the third-quarter term. Kosta Koufos did the same thing at Ohio State last year. As a result the Buckeyes saw the team’s Academic Progress Rate (APR) slip, and the NCAA took away two scholarships.

This is another thing that annoys me. This is not a "hidden" consequence. This is a consequence that affects the Ohio State basketball program. Two guys who never wanted to be in college anyway screwed over Ohio State by not staying in good academic standing. Sure, the answer could be, "don't recruit these guys," but that is much easier said than done. What do Oden and Koufos care, they are going to the NBA. What does the NBA care, it's Ohio State's problem.

Why should a college coach like Thad Matta have to make this decision? Why can't Greg Oden go to the NBA after high school? Why can't the NBA figure out a more effective way to integrate their Developmental League with their NBA teams? Use it less as a league where they put crappy players and more of a minor league system. You know why they don't do this? Because the NBA doesn't want to. They are fine with how things are right now. Colleges do a lot of the legwork in getting a player ready for the NBA and the NBA benefits. They don't need their D-league to be a minor league system because they have the NCAA to serve that purpose.

Kentucky could be facing monumental APR consequences if Daniel Orton joins his fellow freshmen in the NBA draft.

He's not ready for the NBA either. So what's the difference in him having gone to the NBA this past year and waiting one year?

and it’s a well-known fact that the majority of players turning pro early do not attend classes after the NCAA tournament.

Would you attend classes if you knew you were going to the NBA after the NCAA tournament? Hell no, I wouldn't. Why would anyone go to class? Remember how it felt as a senior in college or high school? You didn't want to go to class and wanted to party and drink?

(Maybe that is something we feel all 4 years of college, but it's effect is stronger in the senior year)

Imagine if you had that feeling but didn't even have to worry about going to class to impress future employers? I wouldn't have gone and I had fantastic attendance in college. I was a nerd student and only skipped class for intermural softball games or to play pick-up basketball.

See, the effect of the one-and-done rule is that it has taken an NBA issue regarding how young players are prepared for the big lights of the NBA and makes it an NCAA issue about going to class and puts the problems on the NCAA institutions. It's not a direct effect, I will admit, but it is an indirect effect that is not intended...but still exists.

This obviously wasn't the purpose of the rule, the NBA didn't have a master plan, but now they don't get blamed when a guy like Crittenton pulls a gun in a locker room. Rather than have, "Is this the effect of players going straight to the NBA out of college?" article written, the NBA is insulated from a lot of blame for his behavior because he did go to college for one year. I can't remember one article that talked about how Crittenton was a one-and-done player, because it doesn't matter, but I have a feeling it would have mattered just a little bit if Crittenton had skipped college altogether.

Capel thinks any revised rule should require players to stay in school a minimum of two years. NBA commissioner David Stern has indicated he wants to raise the minimum age to 20.

That would probably be fine in my book. I would rather there not be a minimum age and a requirement of two years of college, but I could handle an increase in the age limit.

But Stern became defensive in February during an appearance on the ESPN radio show hosted by Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic. On that show, Dick Vitale called on Stern to sit down with the NCAA and find a logical solution to the rule, which Vitale called an “absolute joke and fraud to the term ‘student-athlete.’ ”

I like David Stern, but this is bullshit and Dick Vitale is right. You won't find me siding with Dick Vitale often, but here I will. He is right.

“First of all, the joke that exists is an NCAA joke,” Stern said.

I don't know how he can say this with a straight face. Probably the same way he can say there are no other NBA officials who gambled on NBA games with a straight face. The one-and-done rule is an NBA rule, it's not a NCAA rule, though they have to live with it. Possibly schools should do more to make sure student-athletes go to class, but if anyone knows of a way to get unmotivated college students to go to class then that person should immediately alert every educator and parent everywhere.

“The idea that the NBA gets blamed for a school and a coach having a player who doesn’t go to classes in the second semester, is not the NBA’s fault. Someone better step up and take responsibility for that.”

I don't want to come off as blaming the entire problem on the NBA, because it is not that way. It is not the direct fault of the NBA, but the one-and-done rule has caused this problem. Merely having the rule in place partially causes this problem.

Imagine you had a job offer coming out of college for sure, no matter how well you did in school. How motivated would you be to attend classes and be a good student? I would bet you wouldn't be incredibly motivated. That's how it is for student-athletes who know they will be drafted in the NBA Draft. It's fine for the school to take responsibility, but there is very few punishments or penalties they can put on a player who wants to stop going to class. What can Kentucky do to John Wall if he wants to stop attending class?

Stern said he knows plenty of coaches who enforce attendance rules and the players are better off for it.

Right, but what happens when that coach isn't the player's coach anymore? Again, I am not blaming the NBA for college attendance problems, that is clearly a school-related problem, I just would ask David Stern not to turn a blind eye to the fact the one-and-done rule exacerbates this problem of class attendance by student-athletes. He should at least acknowledge what part the one-and-done rule plays in this.

Asked about the criticism that the great college players stay only one year, Stern said, “Well, that’s OK with us. It’s better than coming right out (of high school) because we get a chance to see them either in the (developmental) league, in college, or in Europe playing against more elite competition.

Nowhere in that statement will you hear any part of David Stern give a shit about the player's well-being or how one year in college benefits the player from a personal standpoint. That's the entire point I am trying to make. The one-and-done rule is a business decision imposed on the NCAA by the NBA, and the NCAA imposes penalties on programs for educational issues related to this business decision. It's not completely unfair, but I wouldn't exactly call it fair. It is pretty obvious the NBA doesn't give a shit about any of the educational issues and wants the NCAA to learn to work around the one-and-done rule so they can continue to use the NCAA as a feeder system for the NBA.

David Stern doesn't give a shit about the college players coming into the NBA under the one-and-done rule, he only cares how this rule helps his business. That's fine, I just don't find it right that he wants to reap the benefits of the one-and-done rule and throw the consequences back on the NCAA school that has to live with both the benefits and consequences of the rule.

“It’s strictly a matter of collective bargaining with the players’ association. Our rule is about our business, and we can’t change it unless we negotiate with the players’ association.”

I sometimes wish the NCAA would make a rule that is about their business and educational interests and force the NBA's hand on the one-and-done rule. They can't do this. Believe it or not, I don't hate the one-and-done rule, because I like to see future NBA stars play in college, but I also am not blind to the problems it causes. Sometimes I wonder if the rule is worth it. I know the one-and-done rule doesn't affect 99.9% of college athletes, but the 0.01% it affects obviously have an impact on the program they leave.

I wish there would be a 2 year minimum in college or a student-athlete can go straight to the NBA after high school. Why can't an athlete choose that he wants to go to the NBA after high school? This doesn't seem fair to me. Why can't the NCAA decide how long student-athletes have to stay in NCAA basketball programs once they enroll?

Athletes like Brandon Jennings have found a way around the one-and-done rule with success, while others like Jeremy Tyler hasn't succeeded at all.

This is one rule that can’t be changed through NCAA legislation.

This is crazy because it can affect an NCAA basketball program so much.

“And if the NBA is not on board,” Self said, “nothing is going to happen.”

Why would the NBA get on board with another plan when this one is working so well? So while I would like to see the one-and-done rule get slightly changed to a 2 year limit or changed completely and allow players the freedom (they deserve) to go to the NBA after high school, this isn't happening.

10 comments:

Dylan Murphy said...

I can't say I totally blame Stern for not mentioning the academic part the minimum age requirement on Mike and Mike. The NBA did lose $400 million last year, and that has to be his number one concern. It seems obvious to me that he does care about the student athlete, but he has to take into the consideration of the NBA first.

I also agree with all the coaches that a player should either get drafted out of high school or stay for a minimum of 3 years. I'd make it 4 years, but as you correctly said, even 3 is unrealistic. Hopefully over time though we can at least get the 20 year old minimum, i.e. 2 years in college.

rich said...

Here's my take (for what it's worth). Coaches know with relative certainty who is a one and done. You don't think Calipari knew before this season that he'd lose Wall, Bledsoe and Cousins? So if a coach is willing to gamble with one and done type kids, then they're going to have to take the perks with the downfalls.

The perk is that you can convince a ton of talent to come to your team if you only go after one and done guys. Some guys want to be "the man," but you can also hit paydirt by convincing kids that if they have to spend one year in college, they might as well be on a championship team.

Of course the downfall is that you have to reload every year and/or have "rebuilding" years.

The problem I have with keeping kids in college for any length of time is that you essentially kill their ability to make a decision for what they want to do.

Say a guy goes out his Freshman Sophomore years and puts up huge numbers. If he has to stay at least three years, then that third year could kill his draft stock, he could be injured and never play again, etc.

Sometimes a player just hasn't developed enough after HS to go pro and only needs a year or two of college ball to develop into an NBA level player. So the options are be a late 2nd round pick and make decent money and hamper your development by riding the bench or go to college for X number of years and possibly miss out on X years of NBA level development and salary.

There's no real middle ground there and I think a lot of kids might jump to the NBA straight from HS to get the fast cash, especially some of the poorer players. In that regard, you'd have the same "problem" you had back when there was no "one year rule" just exacerbated.

Before one and done a fringe player might go to college for a year or two, develop and go to the NBA. If he has to lock in for 2-4 years, the same fringe player who would have before gone to college might now just go straight to the NBA.

Compounding this problem is that there's no minor league (NBDL doesn't really count) for kids who want to develop, but don't want to lock into anything for X years, so college basketball has to fill that role to some extent.

Football is the same way, but jumping from HS to college to the pros in one year would be nearly impossible for any player.

In the end, my thought is that they should let kids go to the NBA whenever they want, if an NBA GM is willing to spend a pick and money on "potential" then they know the risks. However, if a player doesn't get drafted, they should be allowed to go back and play college ball again.

Bengoodfella said...

Dylan, I don't blame Stern either. It's not like I expect him to take the needs of the NCAA into account, but the NBA is running all over the NCAA on this issue. Stern will get away with what he can get away with because he needs to take care of the NBA first. It doesn't mean I can't ignore the effects of the one-and-done rule imposed by the NBA though. Stern needs to do what is right for the NBA, but I think the NCAA should do what is right for them as well...but they really can't do this.

I would LOVE the drafted out of HS or three years rule, but it will never work. 2 years is a decent compromise or at least it could be tried out.

Rich, that's true. Coaches know to an extent who is one-and-done. I know from personal experience Coach K thought Luol Deng would stay 2 years, if he came to college, but he didn't. Generally they know and can adjust accordingly.

I agree with you on killing the kid's decision on what they want to do. They are forced to go to college, which may not be what they want to do...and they are there for such a short period they can't really that much out of the experience. I do think three years may be too much, but I can live with two years.

That's another component of keeping kids in college for 2+/3+ years is they may decide that is too long and go to the NBA before they are ready. They will probably be impatient. I don't think putting more HS kids in the NBA is the goal, but letting kids who can have success in the NBA a/f HS go to the NBA.

I think the solution is using the NBDL as a farm system of sorts, like in baseball. This will further dilute college basketball because these players will know they have some cushion to develop so they may be more inclined to go pro. I think the NBDL is not being used the way it should be at this point. It's not for developing players, but to put crappy players on a team and still have the rights to them.

Jumping from HS to the NFL is so different b/c of the size and body growth a player goes through. It would be hard for a player to do...especially at LB, DT, OL, FB, WR...

I like your final thought, but the only problem with it is that the NBA Draft doesn't happen until June, so a college coach can't keep a scholarship open that long and wait. They need to know prior to that date if Player X is coming to his school or not. That was the reason they moved the decision date up. I like the idea you have, but the draft would have to be moved up or something else would have to be moved to allow such a late decision.

rich said...

Ben,

I forgot about the draft being so late, but I also have to consider that there should be some "punishment" for declaring when you weren't ready for college.

If the college team has a scholarship, a player could get it, but if not, then give the player the option to go school, but (like the rest of us) pay for things and/or get financial aid from the school.

Jeremy Conlin said...

I personally love that the NBA has an age requirement, but I don't necessarily like the one-and-done rule, if that makes sense. I am strongly against any system in which high school players can enter the NBA draft right away, simply because there are WAAAAY too many misses. For every Kevin Garnett, there was a Kwame Brown. For every Kobe Bryant, there was a Ndudi Ebi.

I agree that the one-and-done rule isn't the best way to do it, but I'd be willing to bet that the new NBA CBA in 2011 will up the age limit to 20 (thus forcing high schoolers to wait 2 years). If not, I think the NCAA can fix a lot of problems by simply taking a chill pill and recognizing that some players are only going to college to prepare for the NBA. How about this rule: if you declare for the NBA draft and forfeit your college eligibility, the NCAA can't punish your school because you don't feel like going to class. Obviously, this would never happen, because it would involve the NCAA using common sense, but what would be the problem with that?

I also don't exactly buy the whole recruiting disadvantage it causes, at least from the "we don't know if he's leaving or not" angle. How is it any different from before the one-and-done rule? Did teams have a crystal ball that told them when players were leaving early, and they all of a sudden lost it when the new rules were put in place? Did Michigan St. know that Zach Randolph was going to leave after his freshman year? How about Coach K with Luol Deng? Or Elton Brand? Or Mike Bibby the year Arizona shocked everyone in the tournament? If anything, it's easier now. Anyone with half a brain knows that Wall, Favors, and Cousins are going to declare for the draft. And guess what? We knew that a year ago too. Someone is going to need to explain to me how this puts coaches at a disadvantage.

I really wish people would stop crying about the rule. Are we really still pretending that these kids go to college for the education? Unless the NBA expands the D-League (which I concede wouldn't be the worst idea), kids are going to go to college for the sole purpose of developing themselves as athletes. And I have no problem with that.

If I were in charge, I would personally extend the age limit to 20, and force kids to stay in school for two years. It's a good middle ground, because with one-and-done there's very little accountability on the part of the athletes, but if kids were required to stay for 3 years, we're running too much of a risk that a blue-chip player could ruin future money-making opportunities by blowing out a knee in college.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, the draft would get in the way in that situation. Still its not a bad idea. The scholarship idea would probably not work because these players have no interest sometimes in actually paying for school. I could be wrong, but playing w/o a scholarship is not an attractive option.

Still, it would be nice to see.

Jeremy, I would consider you to be an NBA guy, so I can see your point of view based on that. There are a lot of misses in the draft but I just think players should be able to get good advice and judge for themselves. Of course, I do like the fact some guys who may have gone pro after HS ended up staying in college b/c they weren't very good. So that is a benefit, I just like it when the athlete can choose for themselves.

As a college bball fan I like the idea of a 20 year old limit, but I still think it is a waste since the players don't want to go to college. I would love for the NCAA to not punish schools that have players declare. They would never do that though because they want to keep up the appearance of educating these athletes and doing that would pretty much give the player a pass to not go to class.

I can see how you wouldn't buy the recruiting disadvantage rule because it is the same thing has having a transfer. The problem is the surprise guys a team loses, not guys like Wall or anyone like that. Bibby and Brand weren't one-and-done guys so both coaches had a chance to recruit over them and expected them to go. Both of those guys stayed until their sophomore year. Coach K reportedly was a little shocked that Deng went pro after his freshman year. He thought he was a 2 year guy at least. So really isn't not a huge recruiting disadvantage unless the coach doesn't think the player will leave.

Another issue is that Duke thought Shaun Livingston was coming there until he decided to stay in the draft, at that point there wasn't much to do with that scholarship. Combine Deng, Maggette and Livingston and they had stopped recruiting one-and-done players. It is not really a recruiting disadvantage and more of a problem caused by the late declare time for HS and college players. That may be fixed at this point.

The recruiting disadvantage mostly was in the late deadline to declare for the draft, so part of that may be gone. It's less of a long term disadvantage than a short term disadvantage because if a coach doesn't accept transfers he can always get a scholarship from the player who left for the next recruiting season. So it puts the next season in a little bit of a question mark as to who will replace the player.

It's not the rule I am crying about, it is the fact the NBA is acting like this isn't there rule. It is the NBA rule they impose on the NCAA. For some of these players they don't go for an education, that's true, but the one-and-done rule essentially forces players to go to college who have no interest in it. That's really all it is. I cry about the fact I think players should be able to skip college since I recognize they could give a shit about an education. I do like watching them play for that one year though.

I'd like to see the D-league used more effectively as well. I would love for athletes to use college to develop their game, but I also think it takes more than one year to do that. Of course, there are exceptions to that rule.

Yes, two years is much better than three years, or at least more viable. I could go for that.

rich said...

Jeremy,

You propose a 2 year rule because there are "too many misses" when it comes to HS players jumping.

While this is true, I have two additional points:

1. There are a lot of misses out of the NBA draft too. The draft is a crapshoot sometimes and so teams miss on players all the time.

For example, had Greg Oden not gone to college, he would have been considered a huge HS bust, but he would have been in the same position had he stayed at OSU for two years (likely would have been a top 5 pick still).

2. No one tells these GMs to draft these players. If a GM drafts a guy and he turns out to suck, then the reaction shouldn't be to force players to go to college, but to make sure GMs know what they're getting.

I'm aware that it's harder to scout HS talent because of the discrepancy in talent, but again, just because HS players seemingly don't pan out that often shouldn't be a reason to force them to go to the college (because they'll just go to Europe or something and at least get paid), but to let GMs realize that taking a HS kid is often a huge gamble and to only do it when you have an incredible talent available.

Basically what I'm saying is that I can't force the players to do something because of the failure on the part of the GMs.

Jeremy Conlin said...

Rich, I'm not saying that college players in the draft don't turn out to be busts, I'm just saying that there were a bunch of players that came straight from high school to the NBA that clearly weren't ready. If Sebastian Telfair had spent a year or two in college, he would have been an All-Star. I am 100% convinced of that. He had enormous talent, but he never developed because he went straight from being better than everyone in high school to being completely over his head in the NBA.

Forcing kids to spend two years in college is pretty much the best-case scenario for everyone. The NBA benefits because the players they get are more NBA-ready. The athletes benefit because they have more time to improve themselves as players, but the time spent in school is not so much that it costs them a lot of money. Colleges benefit because there is more accountability on the part of the student-athletes, and we also get some of the coaches to stop bitching about the one-and-done rule. I think everyone wins with that scenario.

Bengoodfella said...

Jeremy, you think Telfair would have been an All-Star if he had gone to Louisville for two years? It is possible, but there is a huge discrepancy in where he is now and him being an All-Star, I don't know if being in college for 2 years could have bridged that gap or not. It's possible it could. Rick Pitino is a good coach, but Telfair would have been really difficult to coach out of HS.

I do have to wonder if that isn't an NBA failure instead of an NCAA failure though. That is another situation with the NBA mindset that the NCAA is just a feeder system for the NBA...where it's the job of college coaches to teach players the fundamentals and the NBA is too busy to do stuff like that. They just want to make money, let the NCAA worry about making sure the athletes are ready.

I can see what you are saying that he went from being better than everyone to being worse than everyone, but it isn't the job of the NCAA or the coach to make a decision for the player. Telfair got told he would be drafted high and ended up in the NBA, where like Gerald Green, the NBA system failed him. He didn't develop because either (a) he didn't want to or (b) he didn't get the best coaching. I don't think players should be prevented from going straight to the NBA a/f HS because the NBA can't take the time to develop players or that certain player doesn't want to work hard enough to develop his game.

Maybe college would have helped Telfair and I am not completely disagreeing with you. I am just saying the NCAA shouldn't give a crap if the NBA can't develop players out of HS. The NCAA wants players who also want to go to school (even though we know that is a sham) and are willing to learn how to play basketball better in a team environment. That doesn't seem like Telfair to me.

The NCAA should not be viewed as a feeder system to the NBA, even though it ends up being that way. If the NBA wants a feeder system that helps players mature and learn how to develop, do it on their own time in the NBDL or have the coaches teach more fundamentals. College would have helped Telfair some, but I don't think not allowing athletes to go pro and imprisoning them in college for two years when they don't want to be there is the answer.

I am fine with the 2 year rule you proposed, I just think players should be able to go pro after HS if they want. If they aren't developed at that point, it's on the NBA and the player himself. The NCAA shouldn't be seen solely as a farm system that helps player get ready for the NBA. In some ways it is that way, but that is where David Stern has run all over the NCAA because he can.

KBilly said...

Here's a novel idea...give scholorship athletes a stipend so maybe they'll want to stay in school and improve their draft position.


If I had some job offer that paid a rediculous amout of money when I was a freshman or sophmore in college, I'd have taken it. But I had a lot more fun my junior and senior years, because...well I got laid a lot more, but that's another story.