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College Coaches Want Change in One-and-Done Rule

Jun 17, 2010 – 2:30 PM
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Brett McMurphy

Brett McMurphy %BloggerTitle%

John WallJohn Wall will soon go from one-and-done to one: the first pick in the NBA Draft.

Kentucky's freshman point guard is expected to be the first selection in the NBA Draft on June 24 after spending only one season with the Wildcats.

Since 2006, players must be at least 19 years old and a year out of high school to be eligible for the NBA Draft.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, who turned down the Cleveland Cavaliers job Tuesday to remain in the college ranks, is one of several college coaches FanHouse interviewed that, not surprisingly, don't like the one-and-done rule.

"The reason I've not been in favor is there are so many players getting hurt," Izzo told FanHouse last month. "I've lost five guys – it's not a ton, it's not a few – but I'm going to keep my job. It's not about me.

"Yeah, I could have won another championship [with those players] or done this or that, but what about the kids? I've still got a job. If they come out early like so many do that have no business coming out because they get bad advice, they're done [playing in college].

"I can still coach. Yeah, sometimes it will hurt me and sometimes it will hurt [coaching] friends of mine. There are so many [players] that don't make it, somebody's getting bad advice. When 70 kids put their name in and they think they're in the top 30 [of the draft], somebody is lying to somebody. It's ridiculous."

Kansas State coach Frank Martin is not a big fan either.

"It's an awful rule," Martin said. "We have no control over it. It's an NBA rule. As long as the NBA has that rule in place, it jeopardizes us."

When the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, which dictates when players are eligible for the draft expires in either 2011 or 2012 (the NBA has a one-year option to extend the CBA), all of the college coaches would prefer to see a model that college baseball and Major League Baseball use implemented to college basketball.

Baseball players may be drafted out of high school, but once they begin classes at a four-year college they can not be drafted until they have completed at least their junior season or are at least 21 years old. Junior college players, regardless of how many years of school they have completed, are eligible for the MLB draft.

Izzo, DePaul's Oliver Purnell, Villanova's Jay Wright and Notre Dame's Mike Brey favor the "baseball model" for college basketball.

"Let them go out after high school [to the NBA] if they're special and see if we can get at least two years out of them [in college]," Brey said. "I think the baseball rule is the best rule given that we are academic institutions. I don't know if we can get it to [three years in college], but could we at least get it to two years?

"And I think two years on a college campus is going to help 'em. He's going to get an education. But the really special ones, let 'em go after high school. Cut them lose. There's a handful of them. Let's at least get two years [before they leave for the NBA]. I'd love to get three years, but I don't think we can. But let's at least get two years."

Brey's accurate about the "special ones" going directly from high school to the NBA. Since 2004, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Garnett, all who bypassed college, have been named MVP in the NBA.

"I've always been in favor of the baseball [rule]," Izzo said. "If LeBron comes out and he's good enough to go, he goes. But once you go to school, you stay three years."

Among the biggest complaints among critics of the one-and-done is that the players only need to pass one semester in the fall and can basically blow off the spring semester.

"I don't like the one and done for obvious reasons," Purnell said. "The kids aren't invested. They're already looking at getting out when they're coming in."

Some of the recent one-and-dones include O.J. Mayo (and we now know how well that worked out for USC), Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Mike Conley Jr. and Michael Beasley.

Besides Wall, Kentucky has three other one-and-dones expected to be selected in next week's draft: DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton. In the past three years at Memphis and Kentucky, Coach John Calipari has recruited a one-and-done point guard each season: Wall, Rose and Tyreke Evans.

In a 2008 interview with USA Today, NBA commissioner David Stern said the NBA initially wanted players to spend two years in college, but the collective bargaining agreement settled on only one year.

Stern said that players also have options other than college, such as European leagues and the NBA Development League.

"It's an awful rule. We have no control over it. It's an NBA rule. As long as the NBA has that rule in place, it jeopardizes us."
-- Frank Martin, Kansas State head coach
"I think there is a mixed view about what it does for the NCAA, but that wasn't why we did it," Stern told the Washington Post last year. "This is not about the NCAA, this is not an enforcement of some social program. This is a business decision by the NBA, which is: We like to see our players in competition after high school."

Wright, who led Villanova to the 2009 Final Four, said he believes players should have the opportunity to go to the NBA out of high school. But if they come to college, they should remain for three years.

"There's two parts of that -- if they're good enough to be a pro out of high school, they should go," Wright said. "It gives that option. If you go to college, it's a commitment. The university is making a commitment to you to get an education, but you ought to give a commitment to the university [of three years].

"Even if you leave after three years, it's much easier to come back and finish college [and get a degree]. Most guys would do it eventually. When you leave after one year, it's really difficult [to return for your degree]."

Martin admits his school benefited from Beasley's one-and-done at Kansas State, but he still doesn't like the rule. He has a way to fix it -- although he knows it likely would never happen.

"Go back to 15 scholarships and make freshman ineligible to play, but that won't pass," Martin said.

"I understand the positives of the [one-and-done] rule. However, if academic integrity is of importance than something has to be done to combat the rule because the rule is set up in a way that college is being disrespected."

Contact FanHouse senior writer Brett McMurphy at or please follow on Twitter @BrettmcmurphY
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