Over the years, there has been a lot of controversy over the NBA’s “One and Done Rule” which requires high school basketball athletes, looking to enter the NBA, to attend at least one year of college before entering themselves into the NBA Draft. Schools like Duke and University of Kentucky have a long list of players that have withdrawn from the school after one year and succeeded in the NBA – like Jahlil Okafor, Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving and John Wall.
Many NBA executives have openly supported the rule as it gives the players a chance to live under the spotlight for a year before entering the league. The rule also gives players a chance to play at a higher level and showcase their abilities before entering the NBA. ESPN column writer Coleman Collins calls the rule, “a fantastic success” because it gives these NBA prospects the chance to experience “the sublime beauty” of a college experience. It is also beneficial for NBA scouts and teams because it gives them insurance that their prospect is able to compete with some of the other future talents of the league.
It is a lot riskier selecting an eighteen year old with no college basketball experience than players who are older and more experienced playing against better competition. Players like Kwame Brown, the first pick in the 2001 draft, did not attend college and had a miserable NBA career, despite being called the next Karl Malone by NBA scouts. Along with Brown, Darius Miles and Eddy Curry were both high picks in the same draft that turned out to be busts coming straight out of high school. The list of NBA greats that went to college is a lot more extensive than the list of excellent players that didn’t go to college. Although future Hall of Fame players like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant did not attend college, there are far more NBA legends that went to college than legends that did not.
Also, the amount of talent in college basketball would severely be affected if the rule were to be changed. Part of what makes college basketball so interesting is March Madness, a 64 team tournament consisting of some of the best student athletes in the country, if the rule were to be taken away, the level of play would be dramatically impacted and the tournament would lose a lot of it’s interest.
The biggest reason that the rule must remain in place is because without it, NBA teams would have to draft unknown players who may or may not be ready for the league and everything that comes with being a professional athlete. Paul Mott, a former president of the New Orleans Hornets, agrees that the rule should remain in place, “ For starters, college basketball would lose a lot of interest and believe it or not, there is a huge maturity difference between players coming straight out of high school and players that have been to college.” There will continue to be a lot dispute over the rule, but the rule must remain in place because the NCAA would struggle to find top tier talent with all of the best prospects skipping school in order to get paid faster.