From 1975 to 2005, 40 players went straight from high school to the NBA. Veteran player Amir Johnson became the last player to ever do this after being selected by the Pistons at the 2005 NBA draft.
Shortly after that the NBA instituted an age eligibility rule that states an NBA player must be at least 19 years old, and one full NBA season must have gone by since they graduated high school.
Thus in 2006 the era of the “one and done” began, and changed college basketball as we know it. You know the story.
Since then many top prospects have opted for the big “NBA prep programs” like Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, and worst of all Kentucky. These schools are simply a brief stopping point for players that are on the fast track to professional basketball.
Let me be clear, I don’t blame the young players at all. Receiving coaching from Coach K or Roy Williams is exactly what you would want if you were trying to make it to the next level.
The issue this creates however is a lack of competition across the college basketball spectrum. It’s the same schools, getting all the 5 star recruits. Who lead them to sweet sixteens every year.
Sure the NCAA tournament is one of the best and most competitive in the world, but it could be even better with a more evenly distributed talent pool.
Big recruits would stop attending these pro-prep schools if either A: they could go straight to the pros or B: they would get more playing time at a different school.
Another issue this would help with is NCAA recruiting violations. Instead of coaches selling you on cars, money, girls, or gifts for your family. They have to sell you on their program, playing time, and campus life.
I’m just a fan who favors college basketball over the NBA. Between the atmosphere of stadiums, to the style of play, and March Madness as opposed to the NBA playoffs.
The NBA could do us all a favor by eliminating the one and done rule in the next CBA. Or least altering it. The G league is a respectable development league that NBA could use more. Let the top talent go pro, and let college basketball become what it should be…the NBA’s number one developmental league. Where these young men can grow up, acquire an education, and become better basketball players along the way.