Know this about Mike Krzyzewski — he likes to be in control of things. He may not be obsessive and overbearing about it like some coaches, but he likes things done his way.
And when it comes to college basketball and the one-and-done rule, he has no control. Nobody does. John Calipari may have figured out how to best use the system, but even he says he doesn’t like it.
Coach K was on The Sports Animal in Oklahoma City and had this to say about the state of the game (via Sports Radio Interviews).
“First of all college basketball doesn’t control college basketball. The NBA controls college basketball. They are the ones along with the players union that sets the rule. College basketball just reacts to what the NBA does to include the early entry date. College basketball put out April 10th. Well that date doesn’t mean anything. April 29th is when guys have a chance to put their names in the NBA draft. I think one of the main things that has to happen is college basketball has to have a relationship with the NBA. There should be someone in charge of college basketball who on a day-to-day basis sets an agenda for our great sport. We don’t have anything like that. As a resolve we don’t have a voice with the NBA or the players union and that’s just kind of sad.”
For the record, he’s not wrong here. College presidents and colleges would come down on the same side here as the NBA owners — they all want to extend this to two or three and done. That’s good for the coaches, good for the universities’ pocketbooks, good for the NBA owners and teams that get longer to scout and evaluate young players.
But for me, it comes back to this — if you are good enough to be in the NBA at age 18, why shouldn’t you be allowed to? Because NBA owners and their scouts sometimes make bad choices on high school players? Because other kids get bad advice and come out when they shouldn’t? So the truly talented and ready should be punished because other people screwed up? Nice system there.
Nobody likes one-and-done. I still like the college baseball system (you can be drafted out of high school — and I think you shouldn’t lose your elegibility if you work out for teams and test the waters — but if you go to college you are there three years). But that is not perfect and the NBA owners don’t like it.
The age limit got pushed aside during the NBA’s lockout, a committee is supposed to take it up later. But in the end they will probably just leave it at one year as the compromise nobody likes.
Especially Coach K.
A. Owners love the idea of a higher age limit in the NBA — it gives them more time to see how a player matures, allows more time to scout them so taking the player is less of a gamble, and it lets the NCAA do a couple years of marketing to create names for players that the league can then capitalize on.
B. Mark Cuban is an NBA owner. Fairly outspoken one
So A+B= Cuban favors raising the age limit. He’d like it at three years, actually. Shocking.
For once we found something where Mark Cuban and David Stern agree. From the Dallas Morning News:
“It’s not even so much about lottery busts,” Cuban said. “It’s about kids’ lives that we’re ruining. Even if you’re a first-round pick and you have three years of guaranteed money — or two years now of guaranteed money — then what? Because if you’re a bust and it turns out you just can’t play in the NBA, your ‘rocks for jocks’ one year of schooling isn’t going to get you far.
“I just don’t think it takes into consideration the kids enough. Obviously, I think there’s significant benefit for the NBA. It’s not my decision to make, but that’s my opinion on it.”
You are ruining a kid’s life by drafting him in the first round and giving him some guaranteed millions? Even if he is a bust he should be set for life (many aren’t, but that’s not about a year in college because plenty of four-year players blew their NBA paychecks).
Drafting a kid out of high school is hard because, well, predicting what any 18-year-old will be like in five years is a crapshoot.
But I think if you are 18 and you are old enough to get married or join the army or do anything else with your life you should be able to play in the NBA if you are good enough. Is there really a reason that the LeBron James/Kobe Bryant/Dwight Howard type players have to go to college other than the owners don’t like the risk?
I’d still prefer a baseball style system — NBA teams can draft a guy out of high school but if he does go to college he needs to stay two or three years. It’s not a perfect system either, but it’s better than one-and-done.
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On today’s edition of PBT extra you can comment on my opinion that the owners want two years but that it’s not fair to the handful of players who are truly ready to make the leap from high school (I want a system like college baseball), or Andrew Bynum and him needing to grow up.
Or, comment on the basketball cards behind me, my sweet grey jacket or whatever else interests you.