Earlier this week, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the one-and-done rule’s days are numbered, but regardless what happens, John Calipari says Kentucky will be just fine.
What could take the one-and-done rule’s place? A likely solution would allow players to go to the NBA or the D-League directly from high school or to college for two years. In a lengthy rant, Calipari outlined several issues with that scenario: 1) it would lead to NBA scouts preying on high school players; 2) it would devalue high school academics; and 3) most high school kids aren’t cut out for the D-League.
“I believe these kids should be able to go out of high school,” Cal said. “The problem with that is, the NBA then has to go back into putting scouts in high school gyms when kids are juniors. Then I ask you, how healthy is that for these young kids?”
Calipari actually praised the NCAA for raising academic standards a few years back, which forced recruits to get their academics up to come to college. If the rule changes to where players can go directly to the D-League/NBA, he fears all of that progress will go out the window, and 98% of the players that would go to the D-League wouldn’t make it.
“If you send high school kids to the D-League, how many of them will make the NBA? Give me a number. Five percent? You know that’s too high. Probably two or three percent. What do we do with the ones that don’t make it? Tell me.”
“We just had the highest graduation rate of basketball players in the history of our sport, the highest African-American graduation rate in the history of our sport. Let’s not throw all this out. Let’s figure out how we tweak this. If there are issues we want to deal with, let’s deal with them.”
Calipari said the D-League should remain a training ground for players who want to get back into the league, not kids who are fresh out of high school.
“My thing is, there’s going to be unintended consequences if we don’t think of these kids. The D-League is unbelievable. I have five or six kids in it right now fighting to get back in the NBA. That’s what it should be for. To have a kid out of high school, on his own, getting up on his own, when mom was waking him up every single day. I don’t know if they’re built for that.”
Back to the one-and-done rule. Calipari wondered who it is actually failing: the players or the coaches who can’t land them?
“Who is this not working for? Is it individual schools? Then don’t recruit these kids. If it’s not working for you, don’t recruit them. Recruit who you want to recruit. You have a choice. If it’s not working for the NBA, tell me what’s not working for the NBA. If it’s not working for universities, tell me what’s not working for the universities. I just need to know. You can’t say it’s not working. Tell me what’s not working. Why, for ten or twelve kids, would we change this whole thing? Just throw it out? Now, I’m saying there are things we can do if we come together.”
One suggestion Calipari had is giving the top 15-18 players every year a loan so that their families could travel to see them play.
“The NBA cares about these kids. So there’s 15, 18 of them, meet with them and their families, and let them have a loan. Let those families have a loan for expenses for families to travel back and forth to games. Let them have a loan. Let the loan go through the university. We can do this kind of stuff.”
No matter what happens, Calipari said Kentucky will eat first.
“I’m going to make everybody mad, so listen closely. If they say, either go to the D-League/NBA or to college, we’re benefitting. [Players] are going to say, do I go to the D-League, am I ready to be on my own? Or do I go to Kentucky for two years and build my brand and win and be a part of this? I’m going to Kentucky.”
He even fit in a dig at Jerry Tipton.
“We’re benefitting. So, you want to go that route? And — Jerry, you won’t be here by then — I will have teams for two years now. I wouldn’t know what to do. I would be whistling and skipping in every practice. I’d have teams for two years. Are you kidding me? The unintended consequence of doing some of this, you’re helping Kentucky. That will change it, so that ain’t happening now.”
Calipari says even if rule changes, Kentucky will benefit (also throws a jab at Jerry) pic.twitter.com/WjM4FSQAeu
— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) October 18, 2017