There are too many ridiculous Charles Barkley pictures to choose from.
Charles Barkley isn’t one to mince words or shy away from saying something controversial. Last night proved no different, as the former Auburn player and NBA All-Star let everyone listening to the television broadcast know his exact feelings on the “one and done” rule:
John Calipari’s a friend of mine. I love him as a friend. There ain’t one player on this Kentucky team who should go pro early. I hate the one-and-done rule in college basketball. Just ’cause there’s a rule does not mean you have to do it. Listen, Anthony Davis played well enough for him to go pro. … I wish some of these parents would talk to their kids.
Later, Barkley expanded on who he sees as carrying the heft of the blame for college basketball’s rotating door system:
I would love for guys to stay three years. I think the best we can really get is two years. … The family members are greedy, the agents are pigs, also. So they tell these kids, ‘Go to college for one year.’ … It’s driven by the agents, to be honest with you, and listen, it’s a corrupt system. … These agents are such scumbags, and you know that, they just want their percentage of the money. Matt, you know that. They don’t care about these kids, how well they do in the NBA.
So did Barkley get it right? Well, yes and no. Yes, I agree that pushy agents are a huge factor in enticing young, impressionable kids into going to the pros sooner than they’re ready. All too often, players find themselves surrounded by figures who have only a short-term interest in their success- just long enough to get their first percentage check and then disappear. The agents don’t have the loyalty to the players that a college coach would have when it comes to accurately projecting their success in the professional league.
Barkley was also correct in his assessment of the peer pressure and sense of urgency created by the one and done rule; as everyone’s mom’s has told them at some point, “just because so-and-so does it, doesn’t mean YOU have to!” In this case, it’s just because the one-and-done rule exists, doesn’t mean every above-average freshmen has to blindly lemming (yeah I made that a verb) their way into the pros. Arguments could be made for a number of players projected in the first round of the NBA draft this year who would benefit from another year of college- in my personal opinion, Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress should be included in that conversation, despite their top-ten projected draft rankings.
However, that’s just not how John Calipari operates. Calipari looks out for his players in the context of their future careers as professional basketball players, and where the NBA rule currently stands, that means getting them into the league, uninjured, before their stock can drop and they lose out on a potentially life-changing amount of money. And Calipari doesn’t directly benefit from his players jumping to the pros like an agent would- he’s taken the time to foster relationships with them and their families and wants to help them succeed. With today’s rule, that often means pushing them out of the proverbial nest as soon as they show the potential to fly- and not waiting a second more.
In sum? Yes, shark agents are a real risk to young basketball players who don’t have the know-how to navigate the murky waters of starting a professional career. Yes, many players who enter the NBA draft prematurely would benefit from another year in the college system. No, that’s just not realistic with the rule the way it is the way now.
And you know what, Chuck? I think there is at least one player on this Kentucky team who should go pro early- and I think Frankie Sullivan would agree with me.
That picture isn’t going to get old for awhile. @KristenGeilKSR
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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