I firmly believe people should stop talking about the one-and-done rule in college basketball because most of the time they don’t know what they are talking about.
One-and-done does not ruin college basketball competitively. That argument was ended once Anthony Davis put his unibrow in harm’s way as he used a pair of scissors to cut down the nets to Kentucky’s National Championship victory over Kansas. The Wildcats started three freshmen and were clearly the best team in college basketball.
One-and-done does not ruin the integrity of education. No, the NCAA crushes that argument because they send these same “student” – athletes on a month-long tournament in cities around the country. Also, these same schools just made millions off Davis and will make more millions off Nerlens Noel. So I don’t think they’re crying over Davis heading to the NBA.
No the one-and-done is fine, I’m OK with it and so should you. Why do we get worked up about kids leaving early? It’s none of our business. We don’t know why they leave, but obviously they have reasons. They’re three types of one-and-done candidates and each kind of category has their own reasons for leaving.
The Anthony Davis category: This is for the type of player that has nothing left to prove. Davis will be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft and won a National Championship and Player of the Year. Kevin Durant falls under this category because he didn’t need to prove anything else in college and was ready to play in the NBA. Davis will probably need a few years to be a factor in the NBA, but nothing is holding him at Kentucky (certainly not John Calipari).
The Andre Drummond category: UConn fans fascinate me with how naïve they truly can be. I can’t tell you how many UConn fans have told me that if the Huskies could play in the NCAA Tournament that Drummond would have stayed. And my response to you is to grow up. Drummond is a top-five, arguably top-three draft pick this summer. My guess is Drummond has someone smarter than you advising him on the draft.
Next season Noel, Indiana’s Cody Zeller and New Zealand native and Pittsburgh incoming freshman Steve Adams could all be centers heading to the NBA Draft. Drummond could potentially battle three other centers in order to be the first big man off the board. The only center Drummond is behind this season is Davis.
Another big part of this category is that Drummond’s draft stock is probably as high as it gets right now. There’s very little room for him to actually improve his draft stock, which like I said an arguably top-three pick. His stock is so high based on his athleticism and youth. If he returns to UConn all it takes is for one injury, one awkward landing and he plummets down the first round.
Look at Jared Sullinger. He could of, should of been a one-and-done last season and now he is a good 10 spots behind where he would have been in 2011. He would have most likely gone fourth to Cleveland, but now he’ll be lucky if he’s a lottery pick.
When your stock is high you have to go because you never know what could happen.
The Dominic Cheek category (my favorite): Villanova guard Dominic Cheek will forgo his senior season to go pro. He’s not ready. That’s it. I know it and get this. He knows it too. But Cheek will leave to help support his grandmother, the woman that raised him financially.
I will never get mad at a player for leaving school early to get a paycheck. I don’t know their financial situation and if by going to the NBA, even if they’re not ready, is a way to give them and their family a better life than I’m all for it.
You know why? Because trying to get a better life is part of the American Dream. Coaches all over the country will tell kids “abuse basketball, don’t let it abuse you.” That means to get the most out of it: a scholarship and even a job.
And with that I say long live the one-and-done.
Terrence Payne may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org