Bama Hoops Hype

Why “One And Done” is Not Bad for the Game

Bama Hoops Hype

On June 24, 2010, Kentucky head coach John Calipari sat by John Wall at Madison Square Garden as they waited for the inevitable sentence from former NBA Commissioner David Stern.

“With the first pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards select John Wall from the University of Kentucky.”

Calipari gave his star point guard a hug and moved on to his next seat for the night. The Hall of Fame coach got a spot at the table with Alabama native Demarcus Cousins before the center got drafted fifth overall by the Sacramento Kings.

Kentucky’s night only got better from there as three more players were drafted in the first round. Calipari called it the biggest day in the history of the Kentucky basketball program.

A program that holds eight NCAA Tournament championships was coming off a disappointing exit in the Elite Eight but the head coach was too happy on Draft night to care about that.

One and Done

If you had the chance to watch ESPN’s 30 for 30 called One and Not Done, you have heard this story before. As the 2017 NBA Draft nears, the debate of the “One and Done” rule has once again become a topic of discussion around the country.

Current NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has made several statements on the rule and has recently said that some changes may need to be made.

“My sense is it’s not working for anyone,” Silver said on the Thursday before Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals.

The consensus around the league and even around the fanbases seems to agree with the commissioner. And yet, the rule still stays put and no one seems to know why.

If you are a college basketball fan, there’s a good chance you want to bring back the rule that keeps players in school for at least three seasons before going to the NBA. That would ensure your team continues to get better and you get to keep the best players around for more than one year.

However, to really find the best rule for the sport of basketball, we need to find an agreement on what the main goal of college basketball is.

If we want to make the sport about relationships betweens players and fans, then sure, I guess the one and done rule hurts that. (Even though you’d only get three more years at the most.)

But if we want to make it about the success of the athlete, then the one and done rule, that allows players to leave when they are ready, may be the way to go.

“They can do it (finish school) whenever. Tell me what the issue is with that. And let me tell you this: For those of you that think what we’re doing is a sham: What if it were your child? Would you think it’s OK then?” – John Calipari (via Bleacher Report)

Do you have a different viewpoint now?

This is a part of the process that amazes me. With all the talk against the rule, it’s hard to find one of the players or families that the rule truly affects that will speak out against it.

Players want to get to the NBA as soon as possible and yeah, they want to do it for the money. But wouldn’t you too?

Ben Simmons Story

Last year, the story of Ben Simmons became one of the top headlines for this discussion. The LSU star was obviously going to be One and Done and he knew it. Despite his play on the court, it was his act off the court that told the country the story.

During LSU’s 19-14 season, Simmons averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds per game. He became the number one pick in the draft but it was not without plenty of criticism. Whether is was about his work ethic, his attitude or just his team’s lack of wins, Simmons time in Baton Rouge was constantly put down.

“I’m here (at LSU) because I have to be,” Simmons said to his sister Emily during Showtime’s One and Done. “I feel like I’m wasting time.”

So yes, you could argue that this is a player against the One and Done rule. This is the side of the argument that says players shouldn’t have to spend any time in college at all. Simmons clearly wishes he could have gone to the NBA out of high school and his performance on the court showed that he probably was ready.

Why not let them go whenever they want?

The point of the One and Done rule was so that NBA executives could get another year to look at talent before investing millions of dollars into an 18 year old.

High schoolers such as Dwight Howard, Lou Williams, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James (among many more) clearly did not need the time in college before being ready for the world’s best basketball players. And we would all jump at the opportunity to get an early payday as they did.

However, now it’s the same NBA executives that are apparently complaining about the current rule, along with those involved with the college game.

“It’s not working for the college coaches and athletic directors I hear from,” Commissioner Silver said. “They’re not happy with the current system. And I know our teams aren’t happy either, in part because they don’t necessarily think the players who are coming into the league are getting the kind of training that they would expect to see.”

Here’s my problem with this reasoning: if NBA teams are not happy with the current system, then stop rewarding the system by drafting these players in the lottery. If the training is an issue, then take the guys that have been in college for more than one year and it would start a new precedent with how players spend their time in college or if they go to college at all.

When will this affect Alabama?

The rule, which has actually had a small affect on the Tide already, may start to affect Alabama basketball even more as head coach Avery Johnson continues to put the program on the recruiting map. Fans lost their minds when Crimson Tide star forward Braxton Key declared for the NBA Draft after a successful season before deciding to stay at least one more year.

Alabama fans took to Twitter and spoke out saying how much they hope that Key returned to Tuscaloosa. Calling it “good news” when Key did not make the NBA Draft Combine list and even “praying” that Key would not be drafted.

Look. I get it. Alabama has a ton of potential for the 2017 season and I think staying was the best decision for Key. However, rooting against a player’s success seems crazy. The goal for college athletes is often to make it to the next level and if it is, there is no reason why their own fans should root against them.

“If the rule stays the same, I’m cool with it and my philosophy is we need to get a couple of one and dones,” Johnson said in his introduction press conference in 2015. “I think it would help our whole program.”

This is a discussion that could last forever and everyone will have an opinion. And there may not be a simple solution.

So my final thoughts after a bunch of rambling is this: Let players go to the NBA when they are ready. Root for players to get to the NBA. It should be that simple.

Caleb Turrentine is the editor at Bama Hoops Hype. You can follow him on Twitter at @CalebTurrentine

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