It has been over a decade since the "One and Done" rule was implemented in the NBA, which forbid NBA franchises from drafting and signing players who were under the age of 19. Over time, this rule created intrigue as to how it would shape professional basketball. A major reason for this rule was to prevent immature high school children from being thrust into the adult world of professional sports.
However, this was after the 2003 NBA draft, one of the best drafts in NBA history, where an 18 year old high school phenom named Lebron James was selected first overall. Even a 19 year old Carmelo Anthony (who was the original one and done) was drafted third overall. One year cannot possibly make that much of a difference and NBA teams know that. Otherwise, they would only draft players who are in their 20s.
Here is the real reason the NBA initially created this rule: the NCAA provides a free minor league farm system. Instead of having to travel the country to scout high schools or scout an AAU tournament, one can just watch the top players compete at the college level and observe their development. An NBA team is still drafting solely from potential, but they will get a young guy that can be groomed in their image.
But, things are probably going to change sooner rather than later. One of the catalyst of this debate is Darius Bazley, a former Syracuse commit who decided to enter the G-League after high school instead of college.
The NCAA is honestly being crippled by this rule the most. Many young athletes are pursuing the ultimate goal of becoming a professional, and some even feel that being forced to attend college for a year is a waste of their time. Especially since they are not paid. So, what happens every year since the rule was implemented is that players stay for their obligatory year and leave immediately after the season.
It is much worse if your college program has more than one player leave. Traditional blue blood programs such as Duke, Kansas, and Kentucky have almost specialized in recruiting one and done players, but the huge downside is that every year is a new rebuild with new freshman. Moreover, the best one and done players typically desire to play for high profile programs, making the entire NCAA basketball system extremely top heavy. Then, when you sprinkle in the fact that certain programs are being investigated for bribing players to attend their school or even stay longer than a year, it creates a huge mess for everyone involved.
Ironically, the chief recruiter of one and done players John Calipari has made it his mission to change this rule by meeting with the National Basketball Players Association. Despite benefitting from this rule for years, he recognizes that this rule is not in the best interests of the players he usually recruits. In fact, he supports players forgoing college to pursue professional opportunities, as long as they are ready for it.
That is the primary issue. How do you know if a kid is ready and able to play in the NBA? Calipari is proposing a High School Combine, where scouts and teas can identify which players are ready right now and which ones probably need to stay in school for a while. It is a nice idea to let players and their families know where they stand, and it allows players to make an informed decision about their future.
Photo Courtesy of Double Clutch Points
By Joshua Hamer - Contributing Sports Writer