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One More Year ? We Shall See…

March 13, 2009
One More Year ?  BRILLIANT !

One More Year ? BRILLIANT !

One issue I always think about when it comes to basketball is the age limit. During the last collective bargaining agreement, David Stern was able to convince the NBA Players Association that college basketball players must complete their Freshman season before being able to declare for the NBA Draft. At the time, David Stern was pushing hard for 2 years in college basketball, however, he took what he could get at the time to avoid a potential lockout. After reading an article on Rivals.com about how the majority of college coaches are still against the “1 and Done” policy, it really shed some light on how the schools and their coaches feel about the system.

At first glance, you may think college coaches would be thrilled to finally have the chance at going on the road and heavily recruit the top high school players around the country and bring them to their school. They could try and sign their superstar player and try to win a championship much like the Ohio State Buckeyes did in securing Greg Oden, Mike Conley and Daequan Cook and making it all the way to the NCAA Championship game as Freshman. They would no longer be recruiting the Grade B and Grade C talent around the country because all the top level guys would declare for the draft and go straight to the pros.

What I really found it interesting was how many people do in fact hate this policy. It has been in effect now for 3 seasons and it is definite progress in regards to the NBA game, however, in my opinion is really hurting the college basketball programs. Most college coaches had this to say about the policy. “One year of college is good, but two would be better. Much better.”  When thinking about this topic, one really has to sit and think about how this policy affects the college game seperately then how it affects the pro game.

In college basketball, the first thing that comes to my mind is what the hell do the coaches do now in terms of recruiting ? Do you go the Florida Gators route from a few years ago where you recruit a bunch of 3 star recruits and hope that your coaches could mold these players into stars after 3 or 4 years like they did with Noah, Brewer & Horford? Or do you go the Greg Oden/Eric Gordon/Derrick Rose route and try and hope you win the national championship in the one year you have those guys?  It is a very tough question. How can you even rate a recruiting class at this point if your class will be gone after one season? All you are doing is holding up your team from building team unity over the long haul. All of those teams were arguably in the national title hunt but none of them won it all. As a result, now their college teams are way worse off then they were before.

This begs the question, why can’t they add 1 more year to the age limit rule. It is not often that a LeBron James/Kevin Durant/Kobe Bryant/Kevin Garnett type of player makes the leap out of college and turns out to be a star right away. One thing I can’t stand about the NBA is the clear lack of basketball IQ. There are so many terrible decisions made on the court today and such poor fundamentals that it clealry states these guys are lacking on coaching. There isn’t a ton of practice time in the NBA as a result of the amount of games and the amount of traveling these teams go through. Where you need to go to learn the game, become a consistent free throw shooter and a more efficient player is in college. Too many of these players are learning on the fly in the NBA and it shows. In my opinion, it is hurting the game.

When the NBA Draft approaches, in my opinion half of these peoples analysis on who should draft who is based on what they are reading from the so-called experts on ESPN.com. Nobody knows for sure. Remember the days when everyone knew all of the star college basketball players just as well as they knew the NBA players? Since they were in college for 3-4 years they became identifiable. Remember Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan, James Worthy and even Bill Walton how big of stars they were. That does not happen anymore. Not only would a rule making college basketball players stay for 2 years help the players, but it would help college basketball.  For the schools. the teams would have played together for numerous seasons which would result in the teams become familiar with eachother and it would show on the court. In terms of marketing, these athletes would become well-known before they even hit the pros. Playing in college would help them develop their game and their name around the country and could also help them showcase ther talents for endorsement opportunities once they reach the pro level. Lastly, the NBA game would be significantly improved as every player entering the league would be much more mature, developed physically and mentally, and would have their games developed further. Fans would already be familiar with their names from college and they would become much more identifiable.

In summary, adding 1 more year to the age limit is a win-win for both. The players will be better basketball players if they took that 1 extra year to develop and earn a education. The money will always be there. Hopefully, when the collective bargaining agreement expires, this rule will be put in effect. We can only hope…

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