CARTERSVILLE, Ga. – The independent Commission on College Basketball, led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, last week presented its recommendations to the NCAA to help it clean up the sport.
The proposal that resonated most with elite high school basketball players at the adidas Gauntlet over the weekend was the call to reform the one-and-done rule, which says a player must be 19 or be one year removed from high school in order to enter the NBA Draft.
Surprisingly, players were divided on whether eliminating the rule altogether was the best course of action. But most would like to see it go.
“I think it’s a great idea to get rid of that rule,” said YIIS (Texas) forward Charles Bassey, who is ranked No. 3 overall in the 2019 class. “It’s an opportunity for us to achieve our dream sooner.”
The Commission was formed by the NCAA in response to the federal investigation into college basketball in September, which resulted in 10 people, including assistant college basketball coaches and shoe company executives, being charged with bribery and fraud.
The recommendations also called for players to be permitted to return to school in the event they go undrafted by the NBA as long as the player requests an evaluation from the NBA and returns to the same school.
“That’s big,” said Dream Vision (Calif.) guard Kyree Walker, who is ranked No. 6 overall in the 2020 class. “That’s putting the players first and protecting us. I think that’s the best part of it.”
The consensus among the players was that, whether they decide to skip college and go pro or not, the choice should be theirs.
“College isn’t for everyone,” said Team Loaded NC (N.C.) forward Isaiah Todd.
Todd referenced Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons’ 2016 documentary “One and Done” where Simmons said: “The NCAA is really (expletive) up. Everybody’s making money except the players. We’re the ones waking up early as hell to be the best teams and do everything they want us to do and then the players get nothing. They say education, but if I’m there for a year, I can’t get much education.”
Todd said it’s “pointless” to go to school for one year if your plan isn’t to get a degree.
“Ben made great points,” said Todd, who is ranked No. 3 overall in the 2020 class. “I would definitely consider going straight to the NBA because that’s what I’ve been preparing for my whole life. If I did that I would still get my degree, but some people need the money to help their families. Everyone’s situation is different.”
Rice told the Associated Press: “One-and-done has to go one way or another.”
Most believe the rule, which was implemented in 2006, will be gone in time for the 2020 class, but that may not be soon enough for the Commission, which said if the NBA and NBPA didn’t change the rule in time for next season it would reconvene and, among other things, potentially make freshmen ineligible.
Still, not every elite player was adamant that changes needed to be made.
Game Elite (Ga.) point guard Ashton Hagans, a five-star recruit who is committed to Kentucky, said he’s “fine” with the one-and-done model because he believes in Wildcats coach John Calipari’s ability to get him to the NBA.
“I know I’ll get there because that’s what he does,” Hagans said of Calipari. “Plus, you can use that year to grow up a little bit and adjust. I don’t have a problem with it.”
EBO (Calif.) guard Jalen Green said that eliminating the rule could cause a flood of draft entries from high school players that aren’t ready for that level.
“I don’t think they should get rid of the one-and-done rule,” said Green, the top-ranked player in the 2020 class. “Our class is so talented. I think our class is better than 2018 and 2019 so I know there will be a lot of guys trying to go pro because it’d be the new thing. It could hurt some players.”
Forward Matthew Hurt of D1 Minnesota likes the thought of players elevating their game for a year in college before potentially turning pro. Hurt knows from experience that a player can grow substantially in a year.
“Two years ago I gained about 10 pounds of muscle and my jump shot improved a lot and that elevated my game so much,” Hurt said. “Most high school guys aren’t ready to go up against 20 and 30-year-olds every night. I think that year would be big for most players; especially with the right coach. I think it’ll probably change, but I don’t know that that’s a good thing.”
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