Kentucky coach John Calipari finally won a national championship this past season using mostly one-and-done guys — something many coaches avoid because it makes continuity difficult for programs. That is among the many reasons he is disliked (having Final Four appearances vacated at UMass and Memphis is another). There are some people like Bob Knight who despise the one-and-done system because it ruins the integrity of collegiate athletics. Others dislike it for similar reasons.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo believes race is a factor in the disdain for one-and-done athletes like the ones Kentucky has. Asked if he thought a highly talented, highly athletic team of white players would be viewed differently, Izzo said yes to William C. Rhoden of the New York Times.
“I want to answer that as honestly as I can,” Izzo said. “I think it would be different. I hate to say that. It’s sad for me to say, but it’s probably the truth.”
I agree with Izzo. Though there are people like Knight who believe having players enroll in school for a few months before going pro makes a mockery of the system, there are others who feel like black players are not students and only in school to play ball.
Looking at my alma mater, UCLA, for example, I don’t think most people viewed Kevin Love as a dumb athlete who became a one one-and-done guy because he didn’t want to be a student. I think most viewed Love as a talented player who was ready to begin making a living as a pro basketball player. Very few people would question his decision after seeing the way he’s become an All-Star.
Many people dislike the one-and-done system and the coaches, like Calipari, who embrace it. But their disapproval of the one-and-dones should be judged based on whether a player is ready for the NBA . Regardless of skin color, nobody should be upset with a player who decides to leave school when they’re ready to succeed in the NBA. Conversely, many people should be upset with a player who leaves school well before they are ready to play at the next level.
And if you want to know the real solution to the problem, the NBA should have no age limit, while players who choose to go to school should be forced to stay for three years. Here are all my reasons why.
H/T College Basketball Talk
Photo Credit: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE