NBA ‘one-and-done’ policy needs a makeover

By Eric Albury |

He finally did it. John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats has managed to get his first NCAA Championship after 24 years of coaching college men’s basketball. But with this glorious celebration comes the bittersweet moment of saying goodbye to many of the players that made this season possible.

Many of Calipari’s squad this season will be entering the NBA Draft in June, including freshman Anthony Davis, who is speculated to be the first pick in the draft, in addition to winning the 2012 National Player of the Year and NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player awards.

The “one-and-done” rule of the NBA draft is really something that needs to be inspected. So many NCAA players are meeting the bare minimum to get into the NBA draft — which is one year out of high school. This is better than recruiting right out of high school, but not much of an improvement.

Recruiting athletes into college ball that show little interest in the college program is pointless. Instead of getting a good education and maturing in the college level of basketball, they immediately rush to the exit as soon as possible and run into the open arms of the NBA draft, where they hope to succeed.

If the NBA set its standards a little higher–maybe allow college level players to enter the draft after three years or even require a degree–I feel like the maturity level will skyrocket, discipline will be much easier to instill and the skill level will improve.

The rule as it is now doesn’t even force these players to go to college. They can take a year off if they want to, or go play in another league. Many simply take a stab at college to increase their draft status and position.

Some argue that the success of players like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett were never dependent on college, but I feel these are rare exceptions. Also, why take the gamble? What is there to lose through the college level of basketball? I only see room for improvement in spending four years training under a high-pressure, high expectation environment.

With this rule, a lot of the focus is being shifted away from college ball to the NBA. People want to see the same faces when they watch their team, not new faces every season. They like familiarity, building a relationship with the players. The current system doesn’t allow for this at a college level if the players want to move on to the NBA.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the NBA. I also equally love the NCAA and college ball. But the current system of the NBA draft is preventing young stars from getting an education and thrusting them into a high level league before most are ready for it. The league should really take a hard look at this rule and extend it, because how it runs now hurts players chances of a successful career, whether it be in basketball or in another discipline.

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