Let the athletes, not the NBA, decide their fate
Derrick Battle – The last player to be drafted out of high school to the NBA was Toronto Raptors forward Amir Johnson in 2005. Since then, the NBA has said that players must be one year removed from high school or be at least 19 years old during the year of the draft.
One of the projected “one-and-dones” of this season is current Kansas University freshman forward Andrew Wiggins, who is projected to be the first overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft.
Another is Duke University forward Jabari Parker, who is projected to be the second overall pick. They are just two of six freshmen who are projected by ESPN.com to be drafted in the top 10 next June.
Although critics of amateur athletes coming out of high school and the one-and-done rule say that these athletes do not care about school and use it as a quick stepping-stone to play professionally and make money, but I beg to differ. I am a proponent of the rule that allows a player to make an early enterance into the NBA. If an NBA scout says to a player after one year of college ball, “You have the talent to play in the league,” he should take every chance to make that happen.
Players that have made a name for themselves in the NBA after one year in college include New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love and Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose.
However, these players were out of work prior to the start of the 2011-12 season due to disagreements between players and owners.
The NBA lockout during the 2011-2012 season was an eye-opener for many who did not finish school, because the risk of not having a season would have meant a season without pay.
But what critics do not know is that these players still have a chance to go back to school and finish. No matter what sport athletes play, they are aware of “father time.”
During the offseason, Irving finished his degree at Duke University. Davis, along with his former Kentucky Wildcat teammate and current Charlotte Bobcats forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist both tweeted that they are going back to school to work toward their degrees.
According to an article by Marcus Spears of yahoosports.com, several former UCLA players have returned to finish their degrees as well, including Love, Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook, Washington Wizards forward Trevor Ariza and Sacramento Kings forward Luc Mbah a Mounte.
“We have a whole lot of our lives after basketball,” Ariza said to yahoosport.com. “We have to understand what we want to do when (retirement) comes. A lot of us came out of college really young, and we have no idea what we want to do with our lives if basketball doesn’t work out.”
Many basketball fans may be saying, “Well he should have stayed in school and finished so that he would not be in this predicament.” But I disagree.
If you were given a chance to play professionally after a year of college and make guaranteed money, would you take that chance and still go to school? I bet many would pick the first idea instead of the latter. Many of these athletes know they cannot play forever, so they are being proactive on and off the court.
High school athletes should have the right to make decisions that best fit their futures, not the NBA.
Emily Brown – The sport of basketball has come a long way since James Naismith’s peach baskets in the late 1800s, and the passing years have brought not only a number of new rules, but also controversy. Issues such as instant replay, and especially the issue of the “one-and-done” rule, have been highly debated.
The term “one-and-done” is used by basketball enthusiasts to describe players who have played in college for a year before making a quick exit to the NBA.
“According to the NBA Players Association website, the “one-and-done” idea specifically refers to Article X of the 2005 Collective Bargaining Agreement, which states that players who plan to enter the NBA Draft must be or turn 19 years old during the year the draft is held, and players must be one year removed from high school.
Basketball fans across the nation are pretty divided on the issue.
Those opposed to the measure may first ask, “What about Kobe Bryant and Lebron James?” They are stars who did not even go to college.
On the other hand, some strongly support Article X. Proponents cite players such as Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant, who both played in college for a year. They argue that because they played in college, their skill levels increased, which helped them to become the star players they are today.
Although many think the issue can be answered with a simple “yes, I agree” or “no, I disagree,” there are many more complexities to the rule than may first be seen. I tend to believe that the rule should be modified.
I do believe it is good for players to be required to attend college for a year, if not more. In that year, players are able to hone their skills. Because there is a huge disparity in skill level and type of play, making the leap from the amateur to the professional level is probably not a smart decision for most. A year in college will bridge the gap, and during that time players can also learn to become more mature off the court.
Furthermore, spending a year or more in college allows players to experience more than just basketball. By attending college, they can get an education and maybe even a degree, which will be especially useful in the event they do not make it big in the NBA. For example, although Brandan Wright, the eighth overall pick in the 2007 draft, did attend UNC for a year, he has been unable to perform at the high level expected of him due to injury. Or take Javaris Crittenton, who is also a “one-and-done.” The former Georgia Tech player got himself into trouble following a gun incident involving Gilbert Arenas and has only ever been considered a backup in the NBA. Perhaps with college degrees, Wright and Crittenton could do more than just sit on the bench.
To address the Bryant and James issue, simply take a look at Durant and Anthony. The latter two spent a year in college and are still stars in the NBA. While it is obvious that Bryant and James are extremely talented, who is to say that they could not be even better with some college experience under their belts?
In the end, I believe that the rule should be modified to require players to attend college for at least two years. This rule would provide players the chance to develop skills and become more mature as they recieve a quality education to use in the event the NBA does not work out.
So while the rule may not be perfect, I think it is better than nothing.