In an article on the "one and done" phenomena in the The Athens Banner-Herald, Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl is quoted:
"It's not working. Both the NBA and the NCAA coaches, we all want a good system that gives the players an opportunity and the colleges some sanity and let the NBA be able to have the best players that can play. We know that what we have now isn't working for us and we don't think it's working for the players."
Amen, my fellow lonsman. The current system that doesn't work. This issue is not that complicated, folks. Players who want to go to college and play basketball should. And players who don't should have viable options. This whole issue has been often framed in absolute terms by the stakeholders: Players believe they should have the right to earn a living whenever the market signals they are ready. The NBA wants mature, pre-marketed players entering the Association. The NCAA wants real student athletes. Boosters just want to win. And athletic departments have to find the proper balance: Keep well-heeled boosters happy without completely abandoning their academic mission.
It's like Baseketball, but better
The amateur baseball draft is the best system. Players are eligible to be drafted after their senior year of high school. They don't declare for the draft. They are simply drafted. Then if a Major League team offers them enough money, they sign. Otherwise, if they are not offered a sufficient contract they can go to an NCAA school...BUT THE PLAYERS MUST AGREE TO A 3-YEAR ENLISTMENT. Perhaps the NBA should consider this approach.
The marketplace decides who's ready. What a concept! And players don't have to rely on an agent or runner promises and hype. Everybody wins. Why not hold a supplemental NBA draft for high school players? NBA teams select players they think are worth signing. Drafted players either sign according to a rookie scale or they go to college. If a player signs, he goes to the NBDL for at least one season. If he opts to go to an NCAA school, he is not eligible for the NBA draft for three years. And to boot we can rid "declaring for the draft," "testing the waters" and "agent/outside influence" from our sports vernacular.
Feasting on agents and runners
And finally...along with James Tanner, David Thorpe, and Jason Levien, I participated in TrueHoop's "Runners and Recruiting: A Roundtable." There's so much to chew on, it took two sittings. Second helping is expected on Thursday.