You often become less than that.
It just isn't worth it. Still, so many coaches (hello, John Calipari) either don't get it or just don't care by grabbing these talented yet individualistic players who already have one sneaker in the NBA when they walk on campus. They're gone after their freshman year, and so is your continuity for the future.
As for the present, you'll mostly become a one-and-done tease in March Madness, which is why Calipari's Wildcats are back at their old Kentucky homes.
"Try to remember. Kentucky had possessions coming up and down the floor, but every one of those players are used to scoring in double figures or even 20 points per game," said John Chaney, 78, the retired coaching legend, referring to Kentucky's two or three one-and-done players and its other NBA lottery pick. The Wildcats imploded during a 73-66 loss to West Virginia last weekend in the finals of the NCAA East Regional, and Chaney explained why, adding, "Now you have them coming down the floor. There's a stop sign up there like West Virginia put up on them with that 1-3-1 zone, and then a guy starts huffing and puffing like a dog over there.
"He needs to get a shot, and he wants to be noticed in the biggest game of his life. What happens, consequently, is that sort of thing is very difficult to control."
In other words, as has been the case with most programs built around one-and-done players, Kentucky was a team of gifted individuals as opposed to a gifted team. So this isn't a coincidence: When you combine this year's Final Four rosters of Butler, Michigan State, West Virginia and Duke, there are exactly -- let's see, uh -- ZERO one-and-done players. In fact, none of the coaches of these remaining teams has a history of ruining their rosters with such players.
The year before Kansas won it all with seven future NBA draft picks. But just as significant, those Jayhawks had five seniors in addition to brilliant juniors Mario Chalmers and Brandon Rush leading the way.
Folks better stop living the one-and-done lie.
Chaney married the truth with scrappy Temple teams that rarely had anything close to NBA talent either singularly or collectively.
Even so, the Owls went to 17 NCAA tournaments in Chaney's 24 seasons, including five trips to the Elite Eight, where they lost to the eventual national champions each time. So it is significant that he has applauded the coaching and the recruiting of Butler's Brad Stevens, Michigan State's Tom Izzo, West Virginia's Bob Huggins and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski during their Final Four runs.
"When you look at each of these coaches, here's what's really so great about each of them," Chaney said. "When they can't recruit a super talented player, they recruit a player that's in the image of their philosophy. You should not find yourself being a stranger in what you believe in. When you find a kid that will adhere to discipline -- and you've got to use that word discipline by telling them something very clearly -- you've got somebody who can help you win games.
"I like to tell the kids that discipline is a higher form of intelligence for an athlete. Think about that. When you can control yourself, you can control others. When you're out of control, you can't control anybody. That's in life, business. I don't care how you look at it, but that's really key. You have to get those types of players."
One-and-done players? Not so much.
For instance: Syracuse's Carmelo Anthony-led team in 2003 is the only example of a one-and-done player taking someday to a national championship. Other than that, you've had only a couple of near misses.
In 2007, Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr. couldn't help Ohio State slay Florida because Al Horford, Joakim Noah and Corey Brewer wouldn't let them. That trio of Mighty Gators could have left early for the NBA after Florida's 2006 national championship win over UCLA, but it stayed together with hopes of repeating -- and it did against Ohio State.
You also had the blooming Derrick Rose, whose Memphis bunch lost in 2008 to that loaded and experienced Kansas team.
Is anybody paying attention?
Yes (see above), but not everybody. In 2005, the NBA passed its one-and-done rule that requires high school players to be at least 19 and to have played one year in college before jumping to the NBA. Three years later, quick fixes were everywhere.
In the one-and-done crowd, you had Michael Beasley at Kansas State, O.J. Mayo at Southern Cal, Kevin Durant at Texas and Rose at Memphis. Except for Memphis, none of those other teams did much worth mentioning. Still, the epidemic continued, with Calipari bringing Tyreke Evans to Memphis, and Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt grabbing his latest one-and-done player in Derrick Favors (Chris Bosh, Javaris Crittenton and Thaddeus Young before that). Then Calipari took his one-and-done ways from Memphis to Kentucky before this season.
Calipari will continue those ways next season with others, including 6-foot-9 Enes Kanter, a Turkish center who is slated to sign a letter intent with Kentucky -- before heading to the pros after the 2010-2011 season.
"Yes, John Wall and some of the others are going to go, but somebody else who is a high school star is going to go to Kentucky, and they won't miss a beat because they're going to have a great recruiting class," Chaney said. "They've already recruited those kids at Kentucky, knowing that the other ones are going to go. So I don't think that thing of 'one year and then you're done' is hurting them that much. I think what it does is that it continues to put them and others into a position to replicate themselves over and over again -- in terms of getting the best players.
"On the other side, how can Butler tell somebody, 'Well, you come to us, and we'll make you a big fish in a small pond?' They can't do that."
Yeah, but all of those one-and-done-minded teams are watching instead of playing these days with Butler splashing in a big pond. And who knows? The Bulldogs may tell a bunch of little fish after this weekend in their hometown of Indianapolis: "You come to us, and you can play for the 2010 national champions."