College, NBA / Dec 29, 2009 / 4:26 pm

Is the one-and-done rule good for college ball?

Carmelo Anthony, Dime #53

Carmelo Anthony, Dime #53

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not KG, Kobe or LeBron‘s fault.

If you want to blame anybody, blame Carmelo.

Via my quick unofficial study, the rate of freshmen entering the NBA Draft and leaving college programs scrounging for talent has increased since the League enacted its age limit and one-year-removed-from-high-school rule following the ’05 Draft. But more than the League’s restrictions have impacted the few high schoolers who would’ve gone pro straight from the prep game, the concept of leaving after one year has grown more popular since ‘Melo made the one-and-done thing cool when he led Syracuse to a national title in ’03 and went on to be a superstar in the NBA.

Commonly referred to as the “one-and-done rule,” the NBA’s age restriction has drawn criticism for a variety of reasons: Bob Knight said it makes a mockery of the “student” part of student-athlete; that players who didn’t want to go to college in the first place and plan to go pro after their freshman year don’t even really have to go to class in their second semester. Others have said it hurts the college product on the court more than helping it; that programs are caught in a tough spot deciding whether to recruit a high school superstar who will likely leave after one season, and are left with big holes to fill year after year.

No conference has been hurt more by freshmen departures recently than the Pac-10. DeMar DeRozan, Jrue Holiday, O.J. Mayo, Kevin Love and Jerryd Bayless headline the list of one-and-done players, and not coincidentally, the Pac-10 has been pronounced D.O.A. this season even before conference play has begun.

Has the one-and-one trend really been that bad for the college game? Or would a general decline of NCAA talent occur whether the current rules existed or not?

The other day I was watching #6 West Virginia get all they could handle from unranked Seton Hall. Throughout the preseason I’d heard a lot of hype for the Mountaineers, so this was my first chance to see what they’re working with. And while WVU has talent, it didn’t seem like I was watching a Top-6 team and national title contender. As I e-mailed Dime’s Pat Cassidy: “WVU is good, but I’m thinking if they played that Rudy Gay/Marcus Williams UConn team from ’06 or the Brandon Roy/Brockman UW team from that year, they’d get smashed.” His reply: “It’s the downward slide of talent that we were talking about last week. That UConn team you mention would smash them and then a Top-15 team from five years before that would smash that UConn team. Pretty soon there will be very, very little difference between D1 and D3 and top high school teams.”

Maybe that’s going a little far, but the talent decline in college is noticeable. Obviously, the game has been losing top players every year since going pro early became popular, but has it been that much worse since ’05 and the one-and-done rule?

On the flip side, superstars like Kevin Durant, John Wall, Greg Oden and K-Love may only stick around briefly, but they do bring anticipation and excitement to the college game before they leave, and make themselves more marketable on their way to the NBA.

Overall, has the one-and-one rule been good for college ball and the NBA?

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  • freez

    its only been good for the ncaa moneymakers. the ‘student-athlete’ never was and is stupid to think a semester in college = full scholarship. they should allow hs kids to make the jump and fail w/ a million bucks or at least stay in school 2 years (like college football). i feel for the coaches, fans.. but all the ncaa cares for is the bottom line.

  • Dre

    I think it’s cool because it came far too late. I think it can help because it will also expose over-hyped players that are definitely not ready to go pro. The Eddie Curry’s wouldn’t have littered the league because they would have been exposed in college for being a product of media hype machines. Lets weed out as many bums as possible… hell I ain’t opposed to a 2 year limit either.

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    The one-and-done rule is actually worse for professional basketball than it is for college.

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    It’s not good for college ball if you’re speaking to the quality of basketball being played but who cares. Seriously, I don’t really care about how the one-and-done rule affects college basketball. College basketball is and will still be exciting and competitive no matter who is playing. The one-and-done rule is actually worse for professional basketball.

  • Boogie

    To be honest i think this has a lot to do with a growing attitude to developing basketball that is always based in “potetntial” rather than actual production, we look at players as what they might possibly be rather than looking directly at what they are. That attitude I think stems from stereotyping both high school and college kids in their abilities, rather than teaching them the game and assessing their ability to understand and develop it themselves. We think that because we have so many stats about players we can predict players abilities easily without considering the many more important factors leading to the development of these abilities such as good coaching and a full understanding of the game.
    Lets look at Hasheem Thabeet. I argued for the longest time that Blake Griffin was A MILLION times better than him in college and would be in the NBA. But my roomie insisted that he would be too much to pass up in the nba because he was such a rare height and good at shotblocking. He said he was lagging because he only just came to the game and had yet to pick it up.(Despite my pointing out that basketball is actually easy to pick up and understand in a good environment and the closest example The Great Hakeem Olajuwon… well he did much better and started at age 15 as well) I will never understand for the life of me why people who are supposed to be professional basketball scouts/journalists/coaches refuse to look at how good people are at the game and always defer to stats and physical attributes. One popular one being the “he’s so athletick (read black)” argument”. The beautiful game is about finesse and using what u have to succeed within the rulse of the game, NO EXCUSES, NO POTENTIAL, JUST RESULTS. Ask chris paul, ask hakeem best centre of all time at 6″10 (look it up), ask anyone who has ever been great how much their physical attirbutes and statsistics had to do with it.

  • http://www.lifeofagiant.com Big Aaron

    A two-and-done rule makes more sense all round.

    – The players benefit from an extra year of personal maturity (some wild kid running around a college knowing they’ll make a couple of mil next year regardless of what they do isn’t going to make the player any more mature than just sending them straight to the pros from HS)

    – The players also get two years of proper coaching instead of a coach trying to frantically make a run at a championship instead of help a player grow.

    – The colleges raise their profile and perpetuate the talent. Recuiting the next high school phenom is much easier when you know your one-year national media star isn’t jumping off the bandwagon before the new kid even arrives.

    – The NBA teams get a better player after the two years instead of one, and also reduce the risk of a bust with two years of proving their abilities, instead of kids coming in wanting to make every second of tick they get into a H-O-R-S-E comp.

    I’ve been awake for 19 hours on three hours sleep and can’t think of many more reasons but I’m you guys and gals can expand upon them?

  • mules

    If the one-and-done rule has been bad for college ball (and it has), just think of the effects that Brandon Jennings’ success will have.

    Bobby Knight may get his dream of a true “student-athlete” after-all…I can envision lots of blue-chippers out of high school not wanting to deal with classes/GPA/elligibility just so they can not get paid (all while making their school millions of dollars) when they are given the option of getting PAID to spend a year in Europe.

    If not for the coaching (which is huge in college ball), Pat could end up being right about the narrowing differential between D1 & D3 teams.

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    One and done rule is horrible for college and the NBA and how about a “Complete your 4 and done” rule lol.

    We (the readers and posters) chopped this up on DIME sometime back when J. Wall came up.
    My words:

    Roy Hibbert
    Aaron Brooks
    Tyler Hansbrough
    Kirk Hinrich
    Luther Head
    Scottie Reynolds a senior now at Villanova

    These are players who decided to stay and the money was there. Now they aren’t super-stars, but the point is that them and others did it (stayed in school all 4) and still make pretty good money I think.

    Perhaps if Greg Oden stayed he might have been better suited to deal with the rigor of the NBA.

    And even if he hadn’t and lost out on Millions but still have his degree and had still found joy in life outside of and besides basketball, then he is ok.

    Some of society make it like your life will crumble and go to shreds if you are a star player and don’t leave as soon as you can to take money cause you may get injured.

    Most def I think that coaches should explain that it is a gamble (if you do stay). But who is this or these players that have decided to stay and got injured in the college game and lost millions? It is the chance you take but as you can see some (I would say more than not) have taken that chance and still reached the money.

    The college game is certainly not what it used to be and it can be argued that the NBA game play for many that leave early could be better if they stayed in school.

    I say that if a player stays and makes it to the L, it’s cool.
    If a player leaves early to TO SUPPORT HIS FAMILY it’s cool.
    If a player leaves early and GOES BACK it’s cool.
    And hopefully no player who stays will get injured and miss out on more money they could possibly have, and if they do lets pray they still get to a point where they are happy and well off with something other than basketball.
    Coaches should inform their players fully regardless of their heart’s desire and at some point knowledge should be grasped to better deal with money and make good decisions, hopefully sooner than later.
    Also lets hope the youth of America can take the better message of always putting what is most important first.

  • Michorizo

    I thought the one and done rule had to do with bumping uglies with a fat chick.

  • Yoooo

    I’m glad the talented kids are leaving college early to get paid millions. The NCAA is nothing but a bunch of slave workers. They earn HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS, if not BILLIONS of dollars on the sweat of these athletes and don’t allow them to even transfer schools when/where they want. They can’t drive girlfriend’s cars?? They won’t even let them have jobs! That shyt is beyond me. I don’t get it. It’s hard enough to be a college student, to be an athlete in college has to be the most taxing thing an 18 year old can do outside of going to the Army, or be being blessed with a set of triplets right after your high school graduation…

    Hell, even kids in the band get it rough, but at least they get stipends!

    And on top of this, these “rules” to keep kids in school seem to suspiciously only be in place in sports where there are predominantly a lot of blacks. I dont see anybody complaining about baseball players, golfers or gymnasts getting thrust into professional sports. In fact they can get drafted play pro and RETURN to college. The only african american dominated sport that allows that is track, and that’s because the other half of track is cross country… lol

    But in all seriousness. The NCAA forces these kids to chase money in the NBA. Everybody’s parents don’t have pockets like Tyler Hansbrough. Kids are coming from deprived families you HAVE To give them some kind of bread, especially when they’re making you more than you’re worth…

    Pardon my rant.

  • Dave

    The so-called “one-and-done” age-limitation rule is not good for anyone but the fat cats in the NCAA who make obscene profits on “student athletes” who aren’t allowed to make a dime.

    Quiet as its kept, the entire scheme is an illegal restraint on trade for the young men involved. Dictator Stern get away with it because no part of “respectable society” will stand up for the rights of underprivileged young black men to make millions of dollars playing a game, while they’re still teenagers.

    Virtually every other major sport around the world allows athletes to turn pro as soon as a team is willing to employ them. The same model should be employed by the NBA, but Stern — the consummate backroom dealer — probably has a kickback deal worked out with the NCAA.

    The “one-and-done” rule is foul all around, and it causes ridiculous situations like the current one surrounding Joe McKnight, as well as OJ Mayo, Reggie Bush, etc. It needs to be abolished.

  • Colton

    i think that it should be one of two ways. out of high school, or a minimum of two years in college. you get to make the choice. i just hope a bunch of agents dont blow too much steam up some of these high schoolers asses to enter the draft and they miss out on the opportunity of college. but if you get in college, you have to stay two years. and maybe if they are that good on the court, they should be smart off the court too?

  • Mr. McBuckets

    I don’t think there should be a rule at all. If he is good enough to get picked in the draft then let him go. It’s no different from a big company hiring a kid strait out of high school because he is a computer wiz or kids training their whole life to do gymnastics. Once they reach 18 they free to do what they want and persue their dream to be in the Olympics or the next Bill Gates. Some kids go to college to study Basketball like some kids go to college to study Accounting. If the accountant was good enough after his freshman year to go work professionally then I’m sure nobody would have anything to say.

    The problem is not the colleges. The problem is 1, the public school system, and 2, the NBA.

    If the NBA focused on the talent they already had and made it much harder to be drafted then everybody wouldn’t make it. The talent level would increase and the game would get better.Everybody knows the talent level has decreased. Make them kids study basketball like they study psychology while they in school. Which takes u to the school system.

    The school system is to blame cause they allow them kids that make bad grades and really can’t hoop to get by. If you play on the team and your numbers suck, you fail. The same way you would fail if you turned in papers in class with bad information all the time. Thats what a Student Athlete is. If you don’t make the grade, you don’t make the team.

    I’m sure Kobe, KG, or Lebron are not saying they wish they would have stayed in school right now. I’m sure they happy with their pockets sittin fat, rather then in some books stressin about knowing everything that happened in Western Civilization and it’s only gonna be 4 questions on the final and u don’t know what 4 they will be, so u got to know everything just-in-case. If they don’t make it and fail, that’s their own fault. They should have picked something else in college to major in besides basketball. Cause nobody cares about the man that just graduated from college with a degree that is useless, because no company is hiring or you can’t be a manager with an African American Studies degree. Make them wanna get a degree in basketball. Don’t you make more money with a Masters compared to an Associates?If you don’t graduate with the Basketball degree, then you don’t get the big bucks. Teams save money and you draft better players.

  • Raj S

    If I was LeBron James today, as a high school sophomore or junior, and I had a one (or two or three or four) and done rule, I’d just go overseas and play pro basketball there until I was eligible to play in the NBA. And I’d bring my mother with me so I can adjust to being the primary breadwinner in my family.
    There will always be ways to get around the bullshit requirements enacted by the NBA.
    And the NBA didn’t enact the one-and-done rule for the sake of college basketball anyway. The rule was enacted so that teams have much less of a chance of drafting a bust. Who was the worst one and done pick so far? Greg Oden, maybe, and he DOMINATED both Joakim Noah and Al Horford (two legit and respectable pros) in the NCAA National Championship game.
    If the NBA prevented itself too much from recruiting and keeping the best talent in the world, at any age, it would be detrimental to itself. The NBA is a business, so it prefers to maximize its bottom line. It can’t do that if the best players aren’t playing in the league.
    Big time college sports are a pure American thing. Overseas, if you show talent, that’s what you were groomed for. Forget extensive schooling. Focus on your trade. Here, for some reason, you have to go to class in order to play sports. I have never understood why you need to know how to read in order to play basketball, and I’m sure that there are plenty of illiterate people who had wealths of talent that we could never see because they couldn’t handle the rigors of the classroom, and that sucks.

  • B4L

    They want you to get an education so that you mature and understand how to deal with the real world outside of basketball.. it ain’t just about playing ball dude, its a business and if you’re too stupid to understand how to handle it then by the end of your basketball career you’ll have nothing to fall back on, like some players already have (check earlier articles on players going broke)

  • Kevhous

    The one and done rule is bad for both college and the NBA. Not to mention it has racial undertones. you can draft a player from Europe at any age(how old is rick rubio) and if your going to make a rule like that it should be across the board in baseball and hockey. They say the rule was made to protect the kids, I think a quick fix would be to allow teams to use lottery picks on high school kids if they want with guranteed four year contracts. that way if an NBA team doesn’t do a good job scouting a kid they can’t just bail on them. and also the NBA could use the NBDL more as a true farm system.

  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    it dont matter. college basketball doesnt suffer because of one-and-done. it suffers (ratings wise) because the economy is different. people are working more and working harder to maintain their lifestyles. people are more tired today than ever before — what that means is, people have less (and make less) time to watch weekly college games. people dont have the time to watch sports monday-friday as they once did. hence, it SEEMS college basketball has fallen off; but it hasnt.

    if carmelo stayed at syracuse and played out is eligibility, he’d have graduated and been in the nba now anyway. 1yr or 4yrs. not much of a big difference.

    the one-and-done loophole, which the nba didnt prepare for, doesnt hurt college bball too much. i mean shit, players would be leaving every year anyway (to graduation, turning pro and playing out their eligibility). so the game doesnt get hurt that much.

    the ncaa is crying because they dont have the same amount of time to exploit these student athletes.

    and that is exactly what the ncaa does…..EXPLOIT college athletic players

  • Dre

    Here is the take… I don’t think the one and done rule is good for college but I think it is a little bit better for the NBA because it exposes imposters who are over-hyped in high school. It is much easier to evaluate a player when he is playing against better talent night in and night out… other men who are equally skilled if you will.

    If I am strictly looking at it from a business stand point, it makes more business for the NBA to evaluate the talent on a bigger and better stage. The NBA is a business period. There is nothing the law can do to the NBA. A company has the right to place any type of requirement on a position held in their company that they want as long as it doesn’t discriminate based on race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. As far as business is concerned I have every right to pick the best product that I possibly can. Going to college for 4 years doesn’t guarantee but they have much more of an opportunity to evaluate the player.

    Now from a social standpoint is it a double standard? Yes. The other sports that are dominated by white players don’t necessarily have an age rule. I am an ex-African-American college athlete. I know the ridiculous rules that the NCAA places on athletes… it is sick. The reason that they have this stupid crap is because of the leeches that have gotten there way into college sports and attempted to suck the life out of it.

    I am the father of 3 children who loves sports. I tell my kids to prepare for the job u want. If you have to be a good student to get to college to play in the NBA… then do that. If you have to be a good student to be lawyer, doctor, dog-catcher, whatever. Do what it takes to maximize your chances and make your road easier.

    The Europe thing is never going to be that popular despite what B. Jennings did. Many of these kids don’t want to get exposed and overseas will do that quicker then college will.

  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    this is a race issue to the public.
    a business decision (on experience and age requirement) for the NBA.
    and its nothing to the ncaa. they will just use every other college student athlete to make their money.

    if the rules say you must be at least 19yrs old to enter the nba draft, and after 1yr of college bball, a player is 19yrs old and age eligible — whats the problem?

  • Boogie

    Wow I’m glad people are really talking this shit out. It certainly deserves a realistic conversation.
    A few points made or referred to that i think are relevant:

    Student athletes in the nba are treated like commodities/slaves under ridiculous rules that no other professional sports seem to have to follow. This also seems to be linked to the idea of black players being naturlly better. that is a fucking joke. the reason the nba is so black is a direct result of the usa’s social and “econo-comical” organisation. the poorer you are and the farther you are from a good education and reasonable job prospects, the more likely you are to pursue sports as a living. (People are tlking bout how the issue of education is in college. You really think that problem started for these kids in college? Really?) This is a simple fact and the nba but more importantly the NCAA business has capitalised on this. unfortunately in the us, the largest population that fits that category is african-american.

    nba is money based and that is their excuse for many of the stupid things they do. however you would think that america would have realised after this huge fucking recession that maximising profits year after year by shortchanging the system will only result in a worse product over time. and it will catch up. the economy is based on having balance within all commercial systems, this is a basic/fundamental economic principle, and good economics means managing your product well in both the short but MORE importantly the long term.

    players, i think, will certainly start going to europe more. You will get paid and you will get much better coaching on the game of basketball, away from hype and media bullshit. You will return less selfish and more knowledgeable about the game and how to handle yourself as a professional. You will because if you do not you have shit-all chance of playing there and less chance of making the transition to here afterwards. its that simple. They treat you like a professional and you will not succeed if you do not behave like one.

    The system as it is now manages full grown men into kids. they refer to these men as kids on a regular basis to justify the rules placed on them. If you want mature players you have to treat them as such. Do not constantly accuse and deride them publicly for maturity issues, which helps absolutely no-one. Instead deal with them properly and in private, with the respect they DESERVE to truly help them grow. These 18 year old “kids” can got to fucking war and often do to die for america, how dare you refer to them as such. Some men are great and others are not. but they are all men, simple and true. It is any teachers job to help them become great.

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    Bottom line:

    This is a profession that happens to generate billions of dollars. And this particular employer requires what they think is the right amount of education and training to be employed by them under this profession. If you do not agree with it, go apply for with another Employer.

    If I want to be a Lawyer. I can not go to a law firm and complain that they want me to go to college for 4 years, then back to school for another 4 years after i’ve already graduated college. Even if I am a natural and don’t feel like i need to go to Harvard to get a Law degree, that doesn’t FORCE them into having to take me. I still have a BAR exam I have to pass and I also have an internship I must go through.

    Bottom Line: It’s a profession that has job requirements.

    Do I agree with the requirements… not personally. And if it was up to me or my son, I’d make sure he got a 4 year education, but these parents/kids are mostly thinking about the money and endorsement deals.

  • Kaanon

    @Boogie – Well said.

    It makes the college game harder to watch because I can’t remember who all the players are (they change so quickly) and players become stars in the NBA instead of college. Subsequently, it takes forever to see what type of player a player is.

  • Luke

    The NBA uses the one year of college ball as free marketing for their stars. The Universities use the rule so they can land the one recruit to change their program and give them a chance to win. Coaches don’t have to build a program and teach players they just have to recruit the best tallent. There shouldn’t be an age restriction but it works for the bottom line of both the NBA and NCAA. Baseball doesn’t have one because the NCAA doesn’t profit from baseball that much and the MLB has the minors. The NFL has an age restriction because teams won’t draft young players because of the physical nature of the game. Let the kids play and make their money. Everyone else can prove themselves in college if they need to or get their free education for playing ball.

  • Boogie


    Saying the nba is an employer is a nice analogy for your statement but is not exactly true. Teams employ players not the NBA per se, the nba is the organisation that controls the the management of the sport as a whole.
    EVEN IF IT WERE A DIRECT EMPLOYER, then it is in an absolute monopoly position, which in every country is absolutely illegal for good reasons. One being the fact that workers and consumers both will get shortchanged in such a system…. so maybe you are right…. Also, If you were a lawyer who was more than qualified and a law firm gave you some dumbass requirements, then YOU WOULD GO TO ANOTHER FIRM WHO HAD THE COMMON SENSE TO EMPLOY QUALITY, AND YOU WOULD GET FUCKIN PAID UP.(read as: go to europe)
    To say “fuck you” to players or fans who complain about a broken system is ignorant and simply propagates the problem. If you are a fan of the game surely you should care about your players and the games development more than how good of a business the nba is??
    If they changed to a truly ethical system they wouldn’t make quite as much profit, for sure, but they still would make profit. but more IMPORTANTLY, more people would get paid and the game would be much greater and develop quicker, leading to much larger future development. See soccer for example, which i think is equal to basketball in many ways as far as being a great, easily translatable sport but has become much more global. (the world cup is probably the only real and also the highest level “World” sporting competition there is. What the fuck is the world series about?….) Also look at how the US is so quickly being caught up by international ballers, despite their great headstart and inability to market the game well outside its borders.

  • Dre

    Boogie and chicagorilla, I agree with both of you. I’m sorry though Boogie I disagree on 2 points my friend. The players won’t be going to Europe in droves for fear of being exposed as not that good and they will not try to run from the media hype. They need that hype it is free advertisement which actually we don’t consider that student players get. The second point is… the NBA is the parent company for all those teams. The teams play under the NBA guidlines… every single team plays under the guidelines. Every NBA contract has the NBA on it along with the team. Every, player, coach, and trainer is employed by the NBA. So in all honesty that analogy most certainly holds water and is why no court in the land can force the NBA to change it’s requirement. The analogy that you made about being a lawyer and being qualified is not good because I can bet you this. I can read all the law books I can get my hands on and know as much as any lawyer but if I don’t have a law degree or hasve passed the Bar no law firm will hire me. They are going to need soemthing to solidify my “knowledge” to minimize the risk. That is what the law degree and the Bar does.

    Everyone here has made some really great points, I agree it is a broken system. Do I think it is a racial thing yes, do I think it is a social thing as well yes. There are no quick fixes to this problem.

  • http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/ProphetGK ProphetGK

    Wow Dime need new writers look no further they posting on here; and well It’s gives players a chance to feel what is like to play on a national level and helps them gain popularity while improving their game! If a bunch of high school students kept entering the NBA, no doubt you would find a few gems, but majority would not be ready to play. Of course there is the obvious concern of getting injured, and not being able to make money. But really, would you want to see some kid on the court who is not even close to the other players levels or even worse, seeing him stuck on the bench? If that were me, I would prefer more time to fine tune my skills, before I entire the big leagues. Overall the one and done rule has worked very well since its establishment, and I think it should be followed for many years to come.