Thursday, March 29, 2012

5 comments Drew Sharp Finds Himself a Boogeyman for the One-and-Done Rule

I know many of you don't like John Calipari. I don't like John Calipari, though I dislike Rick Pitino and anything related to UConn basketball more, and I don't especially like Kentucky. I'm not here to defend Calipari or Kentucky (though maybe I will a bit), but I am getting a bit peeved at Calipari being blamed for the one-and-done rule. He recruits players who want to be one-and-done, that's his niche in the recruiting market, but he has come out and said he doesn't like the rule and prefers a different rule. That's not enough for some people and it leads to lazy journalism when writers blame Calipari for working within the rules. I don't like the rule, but I also am not who is naive enough to believe if John Calipari didn't recruit Marcus Teague, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to Kentucky they would all be four year players. The complaint is Calipari has too many one-and-done players on one team. I'm not sure how it is better for college basketball if these players were spread out among different teams. They would still be one-and-done, they just wouldn't be on the same team. Maybe that makes some people feel better about the one-and-done rule.

As I have said like a broken record, the one-done-rule is a rule created and enforced by NBA Dictator David Stern. If you want someone to blame for the one-and-done rule and players leaving college after one year, blame Stern. Dictator Stern and the NBA union created this rule, leaving high school seniors who want to play in the NBA the choice of playing overseas for a year or going to college for one year. Few college basketball fans and coaches seem to like this rule, but there is nothing to be done as long as the NBA doesn't care enough to change it.

I am a fan of the two-and-through rule, but it is clear the NBA has no intention of changing the one-and-done rule...because the NBA cares. The NBA cares about pretending to care about players entering their league and whether they went to college or not. Players coming to the NBA after high school created bad press for the NBA (Eddie Griffin, Eddy Curry...pretty much anyone whose name begins with "Edd-", Sebastian Telfair). Then there were players who exposed the shady underworld of NBA agents who promised them high draft positions only to let these kids down when they got drafted later than expected. Remember these names?

Korleone Young
Leon Smith
Ousmane Cisse
James Lang
Ndudi Ebi
Ricky Sanchez

So rather than continue allowing the world to see the shady agent dealings and improve their public image, the NBA told the NCAA "You keep these players for a year, market them endlessly and THEN they will be ready for the NBA." This had two advantages for the NBA. The first advantage was they got better public relations from pretending to care about their player's education, and the second advantage is it gave the public a chance to see these players on college rosters before they played in the NBA. So Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Anthony Davis became a household names with built-in fan bases before the NBA Draft. So not only did the NBA get a chance to enforce a rule on the college basketball establishment where idiot sportswriters would blame the NCAA for the rule, but the NBA got to use the NCAA as a marketing tool for potential NBA players AND the NCAA still gets to use the athlete's image and jersey number to make money for the college. It's a win-win-lose proposition!

This is where John Calipari comes in. He doesn't mind recruiting players who are one-and-done and this makes Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press dislike him. This is lazy journalism to look past the creators of the rule and blame those who work within the framework of the rule. That doesn't matter to Sharp, when he has the opportunity to do a hack job he takes advantage of that opportunity. I fail to see the point of rooting against John Calipari (other than for basketball reasons) simply because you don't like how he works within the rules the NBA has set out. I'm not cheering for Kentucky to win, but not because of the makeup of Calipari's roster. Calipari is not a great guy or a demigod, but making him the face of the one-and-done rule ignores those who created and enforce the one-and-done rule (the NBA) in favor of lazily creating an easy villain (John Calipari).

Rooting for John Calipari to finally win a national championship is like cheering for the head of the IRS to get a tax refund.

I would cheer for the head of the IRS (or the "Commissioner" as those who do research would say) to get a tax refund if someone owes him or her a tax refund. Great analogy anyway. It took what 5 seconds to think of this one?

Both institutions feign shock at the villainy attached to them, arguing they're merely following the rules as prescribed.

I don't know much about the IRS Commissioner, it appears he does prescribe rules for the tax code. I do know about John Calipari and he is really following the rules as they are prescribed to him. Calipari in no way has anything to do with the creation or enforcement of the one-and-done rule. It takes a special kind of an idiot to know the NBA created and enforces the one-and-done rule and then blame a Division-I coach for following the rules. This special kind of idiot acknowledges these players that Calipari recruits aren't in college to receive an education, but insists on judging Calipari based on the sham these recruits are attempting to receive an education.

Calipari has had two Final Fours vacated, I can't defend him on those. Overall, for Drew Sharp to pretend Calipari isn't just following the rules is pure idiocy. John Calipari isn't the one who created the one-and-done rule and he isn't the one who enforced the one-and-done rule. He is an easy mark for a lazy sportswriter to blame as a villain because he has no qualms recruiting high school kids who may not want to stay in college for more than one year. Don't hate on Calipari because it is easy to do, hate the system that doesn't allow a high school athlete to go directly to the NBA.

Wherever Calipari has walked during his coaching career, the NCAA has followed right behind, usually with a pooper-scooper.

Well, this is somewhat true. Marcus Camby accepted gifts and money from sports agents ($28,000), which later turned out to be partly money for his brother's groceries. And yes, that is a lot of groceries.

Derrick Rose had someone else complete his SAT and his brother (keep family members away from the basketball team!) traveled with the team for free, which was another violation.

Of course John Calipari wasn't involved with either of these violations, but it is suspected Calipari knew of the violations.

Both programs had their best seasons stripped from history because of serious transgressions under Calipari's watch.

This is true. It is also true Calipari took five UMass teams to the NCAA Tournament, while achieving an Elite Eight that wasn't vacated (what an accomplishment!). Calipari took Memphis to two Elite Eights that weren't vacated and has taken Kentucky to an Elite Eight and two Final Fours in the time he has been at Kentucky. So it is not like Calipari hasn't had other successes as a head coach.

You would think that Kentucky would worry considering the man's track record, but I doubt that Big Blue cares as long as the big victories keep coming.

Kentucky is like every other major NCAA basketball program.

Kentucky is no different than most big programs and fan bases.

I said it first!

Kentucky serves as both the Final Four's biggest star and villain.

Only because Duke isn't in the tournament anymore. Otherwise they would be the villain. Also, here is a dirty little secret about Duke and Coach K...he recruits one-and-done players as well. In fact, Coach K has had two players be one-and-done over the last two seasons and if Duke lands Tony Parker, Shabazz Muhammad or Amile Jefferson over the next coming weeks that could be three or four (depending on scholarships) players who are one-and-done over the past three years. So it isn't like Calipari is the only coach who recruits one-and-done players, it is just he recruits too many one-and-done players. Whatever that means.

How about Harrison Barnes? He only came back for his sophomore year at UNC-Chapel Hill to help extend his "brand" before he goes to the NBA. Is Roy Williams or UNC a villain because they recruited a kid who clearly cared more about his "brand" than getting an education? Of course not.

Why don't people go after Jim Calhoun like they do John Calipari? Is it because he doesn't recruit one-and-done players? Calhoun does recruit one-and-done players. Calhoun has run up a few NCAA violations himself and his players don't have a sufficient academic performance in the eyes of the NCAA. Why not go after Jim Calhoun, especially since he is the spawn of Satan (I have no proof, but I am working on it)? I think lazy sportswriters like Drew Sharp go after Calipari only because of the one-and-done issue, which as I have stated before isn't any of Calipari's doing. Calhoun recruits one-and-done players, but not too many of these players, so he isn't put in the same class as Calipari.

The Wildcats are the most talented, most explosive of the remaining teams. But they also embody what frustrates so many about the maligned future of college basketball.

Talk to the NBA about this issue. They have created and enforced the rules for when high school athletes can enter the NBA Draft. College basketball purists hate the one-and-done rule and create Calipari as the villain because it is much easier to do this than taking the time to understand Calipari plays within the rules set out by the NBA.

Calipari rents freshmen.

Any college basketball team rents their players. Would Drew Sharp rather the school own the players?

He wants a program with a constant revolving door,

You can tell from this quote that Calipari wants a constant revolving door:

“I can’t stand the rule,” Calipari said. “One year is not what this should be about”

Or when he said this:

“It needs to be changed,” Calipari said. “It’s not a good rule.”

Clearly, Calipari loves the one-and-done rule.

a steady parade of McDonald's All-Americas using Lexington as a one-year way station until the NBA Draft rolls around.

Which is how the one-and-done rule has set it up for high school basketball players who don't want to go to the NBA. Calipari has the option of not recruiting players who could be drafted in the NBA Draft, but he doesn't choose this option. Not choosing this option doesn't make him a bad person and it is fine if you don't like his method of recruiting. Just don't make him the villain and try to give him a bad name because you don't like how he recruits. It's his niche in the recruiting market, it doesn't mean we have to like it, but the NBA is the creator of the rule.

Calipari denies being the bad guy. His pat answer is: Don't blame him. Blame the NBA. He's only following the law as it's written.

This is absolutely true. In fact, Calipari has hit the nail on the head when it comes to why the NBA even made the rule.

Calipari said that the NBA will never allow players out of high school to come into the league, because they couldn’t evaluate the talent and blew a lot of money.

These are facts and it is lazy to blatantly ignore these facts in order to have a ready-made villain. I don't like the one-and-done rule, but I have a hard time blaming a head coach who lets the rule work for him.

But it's ridiculous believing one year of playing college ball has made these guys more mature than when they could qualify for the draft a year earlier.

Then complain to the NBA and to the Player's Union. That's the source of the rule.

It has turned the college game into even more of a sham. If you're only to stay for one year, you only have to attend -- or pretend to attend -- classes for one semester.

So if I am following this...Drew Sharp doesn't like the one-and-done rule, he has absolutely no reasoning for why John Calipari is to blame for this one-and-done rule, but he still blindly thinks Calipari is more than following the rules prescribed? Basically, it isn't Calipari's fault, but let's blame him anyway.

The smart policy would be something comparable to what Major League Baseball employs. You're eligible to sign a professional contract immediately following high school, but if you enroll at a college, you must wait until after your junior year before you're once again eligible for the draft.

I don't think that's the smart policy. I think two and through would be plenty. Forcing college basketball players to stay in school for three years would cause players who are 50-50 on whether they want to go to the NBA or college to go to the NBA after high school. That's my belief. Players grow from their freshman to sophomore year and I see no reason why if a player believes he is good enough for the NBA he can't leave after two years of college. I think three years is too many.

History tells us that it's only a question of time before NCAA investigators chase Calipari's scent at Kentucky...Both times Calipari walked away unscathed, leaving for a better opportunity and a fatter paycheck.

Again, this is true. If this is why you want to root against Calipari because of his past and how he recruits then more power to you. I won't be cheering for Calipari, but don't hate him because you don't like the one-and-done rule. Don't look down on him for the violations around his program if you cheer for a major college basketball program. Your naivety to college basketball recruiting is cute and I hope one day the realization that most big-time basketball programs cut corners in one way or another doesn't slap you directly in the face when your school gets suspected of a violation.

Being elusive enough to stay one step ahead of the NCAA posse doesn't make a coach deserving of a national championship -- even if he has corralled the biggest assortment of basketball talent.

Arguable. I still say UNC has the biggest assortment of basketball talent in the NCAA Tournament in terms of depth. Of course they aren't in the NCAA Tournament anymore.

We joke about Calipari staying one step ahead of the NCAA posse, but if he was found to have done any wrongdoing at Memphis or UMass the NCAA could impose sanctions on him if they chose to while he is at Kentucky. The NCAA is all-powerful...except when it comes to forcing the NBA to change the one-and-done rule. Dictator Stern won't allow that rule to change at this present time.

I see a Kentucky-Ohio State final a week from tonight.

Ohio State? The school which since 2007 Greg Oden, B.J. Mullens, Mike Conley, Kosta Koufos, and Daequan Cook enter the draft after their freshman seasons at Ohio State? Thad Matta is everything that is wrong with college basketball for taking on these one-and-done players.

If it means keeping the national championship door shut in Calipari's face, I'll certainly be rooting for that.

Anything to make sure a program that doesn't have a bunch of one-and-done players, so Sharp probably shouldn't cheer for Ohio State. I'm tired of coming off like I'm defending Calipari. I don't like the guy, but he isn't the villain of the one-and-done rule and it is intellectually dishonest to believe he is any way responsible for the implementation and continuing use of the one-and-done rule by the NBA. It's easy to pin the blame to point him out as the villain than it is to take the time to see Dictator Stern and the Player's Union are responsible for the rule. They own it.


Arjun Chandrasekhar said...

ben, i completely 1000000% agree. it amazes me how many sportswriters are so clueless as to the nature of the one and done rule. john calipari is simply doing his job and recruiting the best players available, it just so happens that these players choose to turn pro as soon as they are allowed to do so; it is david stern,, not john calipari, who has made a mockery of college hoops.

personally i have mixed feelings about how it should be. i go back and forth on whether the nba's age limit is a violation of civil liberties, though i certainly understand why they would want to force kids to play in college (ore europe) for a year instead of having to draft them based on high school scouting reports. as for the best, most practical solution i am with you that i think the two-and-through system represents the best compromise of all worlds. all i do know is that john calipari is the last person that should be blamed for whatever policies the nba implements

Bengoodfella said...

Arjun, I figure people will disagree with me on this. I'm glad you agree. John Calipari was successful when he wasn't recruiting one-and-done players and I think he will adapt if there is ever another rule change. I don't like Calipari, but I'm not going to root against him because I don't like the makeup of his team.

If Anthony Davis didn't go to UK, he would go somewhere else and be one-and-done. Obviously having quite a few one-and-done players on one roster opens Calipari up to criticism, but it isn't his rule.

One thing that isn't discussed very often is many of these players are probably scared their draft stock will be affected by going to college. They know Calipari puts players in the NBA, so they go to UK. Some HS kids are probably concerned if they go to college and have a bad year, they will lose draft stock and Calipari is well known for putting kids in the draft. You don't have to like it, but it isn't his rule.

I have mixed feelings too. I want two-and-through personally, but I also understand HS kids should be able to go to the NBA if they are ready. I would go for two-and-through or let the players stay two years or go pro a/f HS. I really think we would be surprised that players would go to college for two years. There were four high profile guys who stayed in school that were considered one-and-done just last year and if a few people in the locker room didn't dislike him, Austin Rivers would probably have stayed this year. Kids will go to school for two years, but I think the option of the NBA has to be there to be fair. I don't like it b/c it weakens the college game, but it is fair.

Arjun Chandrasekhar said...

if anything i would argue that calipari has been a good resource for kids dealing with the one and done rule because he has shown that while you can question his coaching abilities, you can't really question whether he acts in the best interests of the kids. he is really good at getting accurate info on a kid's draft stock and will more or less force them to go pro if he thinks they don't need another year of college (whereas im sure plenty of coaches use the nba's rule to get kids on college campus and then from there try to get them to stay longer than a year even if that's not in the kids' best interests). not to mention calipari runs an offensive system that helps prepare kids well for the pros. so if anything calipari is the one who helps minimize the harm inflicted on kids by the one and done rule, in my humble opinion. i don't like him that much as an in-game coach but all the not-so-thinly-veiled jabs at his character by sportswriters who don't understand the one and dun rule are, to me, out of line.

to be clear, i support a two and through rule as in kids can either go pro out of high school, or stay in college for two years (personally i think just one year in europe or some other international pro team is enough). i just don't like the idea of players not being allowed to go pro at 18 even if there is a market for them. i understand the nba has every right to place an age limit, but i just don't like the idea of 18 year olds not being allowed into the league even if they're good enough that there is a market for them and that teams are willing to draft them.

Justin Zeth said...

If the NBA's age limit is a violation of civil liberties, the draft itself (in all sports) is the same. It is specifically designed to severely limit the earning power of young athletes by forbidding them from marketing their services to multiple bidders.

However, there is a difference, significant to the courts, between limiting an athlete to one professional team he's allowed to negotiate a contract with (which courts have repeatedly allowed is legal because the NBA or NFL or whatever is one business, not 30 businesses, for that purpose) and refusing to allow an athlete to play in the league at all (which has not been legally tested).

I think Fuhrer Stern was absolutely right for several reasons you already touched on to make kids wait to play in the NBA. However, he is on shaky legal ground to do so and he knows it. That's why it's one-and-done and not the otherwise obviously better two-and-through. Stern decided that enforcing a two year wait would be increasing the risk of a lawsuit just a little bit too much.

Drew Sharp is a hack who doesn't like John Calipari and had a deadline to meet, and you took him apart perfectly. No further need to comment on that.

Bengoodfella said...

Calipari is used as an example of how many don't like the one-and-done rule. I think it is amazing he puts together a good team with a bunch of freshmen. That really is hard as it is and they even play defense. I think two years in college minimum is good for the game, but I also understand that is unrealistic. I wish players had to stay for two years, but if a player wants to go to the NBA, I think he may have the right to do so.

Justin, I have never thought of the draft that way. It would interesting to see that tested. Stern came out recently saying he favored a two year rule, but nothing has been done to actually make it happen. I found an article that discusses this more and hope to get to it soon.

I just don't like how the NBA puts the one-and-done rule on the NCAA and then is hands-off about it. I know Stern doesn't want these guys coming to the NBA before they are "ready," but at some point a player may sue the league...even without a two and through rule. That will be interesting.