The NBA knew exactly what it was doing when it created the “one-and-done rule” for college basketball players. The league was getting flack for too many players entering the draft straight out of high school, so it forced them to go to college for one year, with virtually no intention of obtaining an education. While many of us have grumbled about it, no one has taken a stand…until now. Bob Knight, in the only way he knows how, but the NBA on blast and brought the problem to light during the middle of the 2014 NCAA Tournament:
“If I were involved with the NBA I wouldn’t want a 19-year-old or a 20-year-old kid, to bring into all the travel and all the problems that exist in the NBA. I would want a much more mature kid. I would want a kid that maybe I’ve been watching on another team and now he’s 21, 22 years old instead of 18 or 19, and I might trade for that kid. On top of it all, the NBA does a tremendous, gigantic disservice to college basketball. It’s as though they’ve raped college basketball in my opinion.”
While his comments were crude in a Bob Knight sort of way, they were exactly on point. College basketball programs now have one year to develop kids who are just coming out of high school and are banking on playing in the NBA. If that doesn’t work out, they’ve thrown away their paid educations at first-class institutions because of a rule that basically encourages them to skip out on college.
The NBA is too lazy to create its own minor-league system and if you think its current D-League is an appropriate substitution, you’re gravely mistaken. Instead of putting in the time, money and effort to ensure that only the best players reach the “major league”, so to speak, the NBA is using college basketball as its training ground and ruining the lives of young athletes everywhere while also destroying programs at the same time.
The process is no longer about landing a star player and then adding complementary pieces around him the following year; it’s now hoping to land a superstar and then getting one shot to win it all with that player while he uses his college team as a six-month Pro Day for scouts at the next level.
Indeed, the NBA has raped college basketball because now fans are robbed of young careers maturing before their eyes over a period of four years. This used to be the best part of the game, but now it’s a rarity. In addition, the NCAA, in all its hypocrisy and corruption, is being aided down a path that will eventually remove the word “student” from the phrase student-athlete entirely.
The game is no longer about the benefit of the student-athletes and the fans. The former are now treated like prize pigs at a pork expo while the latter get only three weekends of a six-month season to enjoy because they don’t have time to learn an entire new team for their favorite program each and every year. So yes, college basketball does have a right to feel violated and Knight should be commended for calling this situation like it is.