If you haven't heard by now, Arizona recruit and All-American point guard Brandon Jennings has spurned Arizona to play in Europe next season. Jennings was a projected one-and-done player, but decided he had no interest in school, and instead of taking classes, wanted to make some dough. This leaves Arizona in a bit of a pickle, not that I feel bad for them.
Of course, we all know the effects of other one and done players the last few years, such as Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Jerryd Bayless, OJ Mayo and Carmelo Anthony. Europe may start to look like an attractive option to some of these kids, especially as many coaches are becoming weary of them after situations like Mayo's, where the player can leave the school in a lot of trouble with little consequence to themselves.
Of course, the Europe route will allow players to be paid, but is an 18 or 19 year old kid really ready for the culture shock of playing in a different country overseas?
As an NBA fan, I love the one year wait rule. Sure, the LeBrons and Garnetts were ready, but the vast majority aren't (even Kobe didn't start as a rookie). If you're not an NBA fan, I can't tell you how frustrating it is to draft a player, have him take four years to develop, then move somewhere else as a free agent after the one season he finally becomes useful. Not to mention the Korolene Youngs and Ndudi Ebis who never work out, period. The one year policy is like insurance to an NBA team.
But as a college fan, I hate it. Oregon hasn't been burned by any of these players, but it isn't really good for the game to have a Durant or Anthony become a big star, then be gone after one year. If you look at the decline of the popularity of the college game, its because there is no continuity from year to year.
Now, the NBA has already stated that one and dones aren't their problems (just like honest referees, fans, and keeping historical franchises in the cites that have supported them aren't their problem). But when colleges stop supporting these one and done players, they have to go somewhere, and methinks that the NBA doesn't want them all going to Europe (where some of those Euro teams are starting to win bidding wars with NBA teams).
I stated a few months ago what colleges need to do about the one and done problem. But I also said that was no guarantee, as there will always be someone who wants to take advantage of the system. In the above article, Lute Olson proposes a system like college baseball, where you make the decision to enter the draft out of high school, or stay in college at least three years. I love the idea. Why not do the same thing in basketball?
Of course, I still hate the idea of high schoolers in the NBA, so why not turn the D-League into a full fledged minor league? Every team has an affiliate, can carry 12 players, etc.? You could keep any high schoolers and second round picks, as well as assorted veterans (guys like Ime Udoka and Jemario Moon became solid NBA players, right). It would give each team an extra stockpile of talent, and allow more time for development and evaluation.
You may think that most players would just declare, but think of the extra risk involved for the player. The teams won't pick these guys with such lofty picks, knowing that they can't play for at least a year. Sure, the truly unique talents like LeBron or KG, but Robert Swift isn't a lottery pick in this kind of draft. Sure, those that have no interest in school will declare and either be picked up late or as a minor league free agent. Good. That's the point. It would give them a place to get paid and develop their game. But most players would want to stay in school and work their way into higher draft stock.
Its worked in college baseball for years, and that sport is reaching heights its never achieved.
Anyway, just my .02. What do you all think?