Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The one-and-done rule has had an
interesting effect on college basketball. While it has guided many top-caliber
players to school for a season to create a much deeper talent pool, they rarely
stick around for another year of unpaid labor.
The one-and-done rule has become the adopted title of the NBA's decision to
implement a 19-year-old age minimum on its incoming players. High school
seniors with hoop dreams have the option of joining the development league,
playing in a foreign country or attending college for a year. The majority end
up choosing to play for one of the top-tier college basketball programs.
Mid-major programs benefit from the one-and-done rule due to the trickle-down
effect. Schools like Wichita State are able to sign higher-rated recruits who
need more than one season to prepare for a professional career. Kentucky found
a way to win it all in 2012 with a squad made up primarily of underclassmen,
but it will be very difficult for more than one school to consistently compete
using such tactics.
Andrew Wiggins, who is considered the best high school basketball prospect
since LeBron James, has still yet to sign of a national letter of intent. The
highly sought recruit has narrowed his list to four with North Carolina,
Kansas, Kentucky and Florida State still remaining viable options. But will any
of those programs benefit from one year of Wiggins?
Team chemistry is a key to finding success on the hardwood, and it can be
undermined by a general focus on talent. On paper, Kentucky looked like it was
destined for another trip to the Final Four in 2013 after John Calipari managed
to land four blue chip prospects in last year's recruiting class. However, the
Wildcats were upset in the first round of the NIT.
Meanwhile, coach Gregg Marshall's Wichita State Shockers displayed mental
toughness and a veteran approach during their march to Atlanta and the Final
Ben Howland attempted to follow Calipari's blue print last season by bringing
in arguably the best recruiting class in the country with Shabazz Muhammad,
Kyle Anderson and Tony Parker - three McDonald's All-Americans. Jordan Adams
also made an impact as he ended up being the team's second-leading scorer as a
rookie before suffering a season-ending injury in March.
Although UCLA had four freshmen who could have gone anywhere in the nation and
found playing time to go along with a solid group of returners, it was hardly a
title contender for various reasons. The Bruins were unable to get past the
second round of the NCAA Tournament and Howland is now stuck in the
Despite its disappearance from the NCAA Tournament field, Kentucky still lost
two of its top three scorers to early decisions. Nerlens Noel, who is expected
to be selected very early on draft day, still elected to make the jump although
he suffered a season-ending injury during the heart of the Wildcats'
Southeastern Conference schedule.
Noel would have been one of the first players chosen in last year's NBA Draft
had he been allowed to declare out of high school, but instead landed in
Lexington to play 24 more games at the amateur level.
The NBA's age limit policy is intended to enhance the degree of the incoming
rookies to create a better product. While Noel's draft stock wasn't diminished
by his injury, his rookie season in the NBA will be much more difficult until
he returns to full form.
Calipari's unrivaled recruiting skills made it very easy for him to replace
Noel and Archie Goodwin and his Wildcats are expected to be a national
contender once again. If Wiggins selects Kentucky, Calipari's recruiting class
may go down as the best of all-time. With or without Wiggins, the Wildcats will
be loaded with talent and fun to watch at the very least.
The high school prospects predicted to follow the one-and-done path will still
remain at the top of every college coach's wish list for as long as the NBA
age minimum exists because of their ability to immediately elevate a program.
But late bloomers have quietly become much more valuable to college basketball.
Duke finished the regular season ranked second in the national polls. The Blue
Devils were guided by the senior trio of Seth Curry, Mason Plumlee and Ryan
Kelly. Although he clearly had a knack for scoring to go along with his great
pedigree, Curry played his freshman year at Liberty in the less-celebrated Big
South Conference. Plumlee and Kelly rarely saw action during the early stages
of their careers.
Mike Krzyzewski is not completely opposed to one-and-done-caliber players as
Kyrie Irving and Austin Rivers both had very brief stays in Durham. Coach K's
balanced approach to recruiting makes it easy for the Blue Devils to absorb the
loss of them.
Butler has risen to national prominence since the one-and-done rule was
instated. The Bulldogs have been ranked in the Top 25 for all but a few weeks
since the beginning 2006-07 season. They also became the first mid-major
program to reach the championship game in successive seasons since 1979, when
seeding of the tournament began.
Brad Stevens is brought up every time a premier coaching position becomes
available yet he doesn't appear to be vacating his post on Hinkle Fieldhouse's
home bench anytime soon.
He has not had a player depart after one season to pursue a professional
career and the two Butler players who left early for the NBA, Gordon Hayward
and Shelvin Mack, are still working toward graduating. It will be interesting
to see how the Bulldogs' migration to the new-look Big East plays out next
If he had any desire, Wiggins could infiltrate the Bulldogs' lineup and be a
valuable addition to the roster. But adding a group of one-and-done players to
the fold would be very difficult and possibly detrimental.
Butler is categorized as a "well-coached" team because of its discipline on the
court. Stevens's players are well versed on how to react to different
situations and know his offensive and defensive systems very well. Each member
of the team appears to cherish his role.
The NBA's age limit does not appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. The
rule's effect on the landscape of college basketball will continue for as long
as it exists, for better or worse, unless the NCAA decides to react with
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