First things first, the only people who like basketball’s one-and-done rule — the rule that allows college athletes to jump to the NBA after a single season — are:
1. Players who decide to leave after their freshman seasons. Obviously.
2. The NBA players union.
Fans don’t like the rule. NBA franchises don’t like the rule. (Teams don’t like having to grow young players while paying them top dollar). The folks in the NBA league office don’t like the rule. And college coaches really don’t like the rule.
A few SEC hoops coaches shared their feelings on the one-and-done situation this week, as The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports today:
“The one-and-done rule has hurt the game overall, and not just the college game. It’s hurt the NBA game, too. The NBA is supposed to be a league of men who are prepared and ready to play, and it’s become a developmental league. That’s not what they wanted the one-and-done rule to turn into, but that’s what happened.” — Auburn coach Tony Barbee
“Michael Jordan played three years in college. Larry Bird played forever, as did guys like Ralph Sampson and Akeem Olajuwon. The whole climate of that path has changed, and that’s why I think that the NBA is not as good as it was years ago, and college basketball is not as good as it was years ago. If the Lakers rolled out there today with Kareem, Magic and Worthy, it would be over. The Miami Heat would have no chance.” – Georgia coach Mark Fox
“There are certainly some positives and negatives to the rule. The positives are what Kentucky experienced two seasons ago, and the negatives might be what Kentucky experienced a season ago… I think we all thought we were doing a good thing by having them all go to college for a year. We got what we wanted, and then I think we realized that what we wanted maybe wasn’t ideal.” — Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings
Most everyone — everyone but the NBA’s Players Association — seems to prefer the idea of basketball following in baseball’s footsteps. A baseball player can jump directly to the major leagues from high school… or he can sign with a college and stay at that level for three seasons.
The problem in basketball, however, is that many, many more players would try to jump straight from high school to the pros if drafted. In fact, underdeveloped high schoolers washing out helped lead to the current one-and-done rule.
While we at MrSEC.com believe the baseball model would be a better solution than the current system, the differences between the two sports must be considered. A high school baseball player is choosing between a college career and a minor league career. You don’t see a whole helluva lot of baseball players jump straight from their prom to the majors.
In basketball, those kids with stars in their eyes would be choosing between three years of college and the NBA (if a team rolled the dice on them). There have been enough Kobe Bryants, Kevin Garnetts and even Kendrick Perkins to give high schoolers a false hope of hitting the jackpot and jumping all the way to The Show. And while franchises don’t like the idea of drafting kids who require babysitters, you can bet that they would indeed draft high schoolers if they felt they might miss out on the next big star. Even if a team drafts a youngster and send him to their version of the minors, the NBA Developmental League just doesn’t provide the same teaching and preparation that multiple levels of minor league baseball provide.
The baseball model might be better than the current model, but it still wouldn’t be perfect. And the NBA Players Association hasn’t shown the willingness to move the age limit again, regardless.