At the College Basketball Roundtable each week, we ask members of the coverage staff for their opinions about a topic in the sport.
THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: Numerous key players whose teams advanced to the NBA conference finals (Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Amare Stoudemire, Kevin Garnett and Rashard Lewis among them) went straight to the pros from high school. Does the NBA need to force players to go to college for a year before they're eligible for the draft?
David Fox's answer:
When you bring up Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett and so on, you're really not helping the case that keeping kids in college helps the NBA. I still argue that it does. While the college rule would do a disservice for Bryant or LeBron James, and now players like John Wall and Kevin Durant, the rule overall helps the NBA tremendously. That's why the league has the rule in the first place -- to force the direct-from-high school prospects to play against a more even playing field for a year. NBA teams are making more informed decisions in the draft, and yet they still get picks wrong on a regular basis. Besides that, it's also a good rule for NBA veterans. A handful of veteran players were able to stay in the league because they didn't lose their roster spot to Wall or DeMarcus Cousins or Derrick Favors or any other one-and-done. If I'm an NBA fan, I love the one-and-done rule. If I'm a college basketball fan, I still believe the rule is a disaster for the amateur game.
Mike Huguenin's answer:
The NBA feels that the rule is needed, and over the long haul, the rule is good for the NBA. But it's not good for college basketball. I can remember NCAA types crowing that the organization had worked with the NBA to get the rule passed. Alas, once again the NCAA was left looking like a group of dummies. I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me how college basketball teams are helped by one-and-done players. College basketball should adopt a rule with the NBA like college baseball has with Major League Baseball; go straight from high school to pro ball if you want (hey, it's a free country, right?). But if you choose to play collegiately, you sign on for a minimum three-year stretch. Players such as Bryant, Garnett, Howard, et al, have proved that you don't need to play college basketball to prosper in the NBA. And while there are some players who will make bonehead decisions about going straight from high schools to the NBA, well, that's on them.
Jason King's answer:
I think basketball players should be able to skip college altogether and enter the NBA draft straight out of high school -- but only in certain situations. A system needs to be in place that limits who can and can't enter the NBA draft after their senior season of high school. Players considering making the jump would be evaluated by NBA personnel, who then would decide if that athlete would be making a wise decision by turning pro instead of entering college. If the player received a "stamp of approval" from the evaluators, he'd be eligible to enter his name in the draft. Otherwise, he'd have no choice but to go to college. This method would prevent athletes from making ill-advised decisions that could ruin their futures, both on and off the court. I also believe that players who choose to go to college should be required to stay in school for two seasons and not one. That will help establish consistency in programs that often suffer setbacks because of one-and-done players. The two-year rule also should lead to enhanced on-court development that will better prepare the student-athlete for the NBA.
Steve Megargee's answer:
I've never been a fan of the NBA rule requiring players to spend at least one year in college before entering the pro ranks. While there were a number of players (remember Korleone Young?) who never should have entered the draft straight out of high school, plenty of the top players in the NBA right now never spent a day in college. I think the current rules simply breed corruption in college basketball because you now have more and more one-and-done players with little interest in the college experience. If someone's good enough to enter the NBA straight out of high school, why shouldn't he have the right to do so? I would allow players to go straight into the draft out of high school, but I also would force anyone who opts for college basketball to spend at least two years in school before turning pro. That would stop this one-and-done nonsense that forces teams to rebuild on the fly and often wreaks havoc on a program's graduation rate.