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Top high school players discuss how removing the one and done would change their college decision

It’s no secret that as things stand, the biggest story in college basketball right now actually has nothing to do with college basketball at all. It is the future of the “one and done” rule, the NBA bylaw which states that players must be one year removed from high school before being allowed to enter the NBA Draft. As anyone reading this article knows, the rule has been in place for over a decade, sending some of the best players in all of basketball (Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, John Wall, Kyrie Irving) to college for at least one season.

Still, it appears as though the rule will quietly be altered over the next few years. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has openly discussed the possibility of removing the rule for well over a calendar year now, and the FBI’s probe into college basketball seems to have been the final push needed to get things changed. The fact that Condoleezza Rice’s commission also referenced the need to end the one-and-done rule makes it seems like a matter of “when” not “if” the rule will be changed, and quietly the NBA has slowly implementing little rules changes to help ease the transition when it happens. One of those changes is to “certify” more events this summer than usual, allowing NBA scouts into high school gyms to evaluate players.

One of those events was this weekend’s Pangos All-American Camp, a noted West Coast event which in the past has drawn everyone from James Harden and Russell Westbrook to Ben Simmons, Davis, Wall and countless others. For the first time ever NBA scouts were allowed in the gym, giving the event an entirely different feel this weekend.

With so many of the top high school players in America in the building as well it, also felt like a good time to gauge their temperature on a potential rule change. It made sense to focus mostly on the top players in the high school class of 2020 (players who just finished their sophomore years of high school) since it appears as though that may be the first group of high school players allowed to enter the professional ranks.

So after speaking with some of the top high school players what did we find out? Virtually all of them know about the potential rule change. And yes, virtually all would consider a jump to the professional ranks if offered the opportunity.

“Oh yes of course [I’d consider it],” said Kyree Walker the No. 6 player in the class according to 247 Sports, and an Arizona State commit. “I would talk things over with Coach Bobby Hurley and hope he’d be OK with my decision.”

“Absolutely [I’d consider it],” said Isaiah Todd, the No. 2 ranked player in the class.

Others are not only aware, but actively preparing just in case.

“Yeah, my dad talked to me about it, said Marjon Beauchamp, the No. 19 ranked player in the class according to 247 Sports. “ We discussed me, [how] I need to step it up more, get stronger, because that rule could be gone by my senior year.”

The more players we spoke with, the more the answers sounded the same. Of the half-dozen players KSR spoke with, just one said that he wasn’t really thinking about the move. Admittedly, he didn’t say he wasn’t interested. Just that he hadn’t thought about it much.

“I mean, I have only played two years of high school basketball,” said Nate Tabor, the No. 22 ranked player in the class. “So I’ve got to see. But me and my coach, we’d consider something like that. It’s a long time.”

On and on the responses went, as the possibility of turning pro seems to be weighing heavily on the minds of the 2020 high school class. Ironically, it feels as though it’s on the minds of the 2019 class as well, but in a different way. They know they will likely be headed to college for at least one year, but feel like they’re missing out on all the fun.

“I had a feeling for a while that they would change the rule, but I had a feeling that it was going to be for the people after me,” said Cassius Stanley, the No. 19 ranked player in the class of 2019. “Just based on previous things that have happened in my life, it seems like everything that happens in my grade in my class, everything happens the year after. That’s when all the fun starts.”

Clearly this rule is something that virtually everyone in the high school ranks is keeping an eye on, but one thing that will be interesting to see is how exactly a change will be implemented, and whether or not everyone will be allowed to declare or whether there will be limitations. In speaking with all these high school players this weekend, something that I’ve said for months became abundantly clear and was largely confirmed: If the NBA doesn’t put a restriction on who can enter the NBA Draft, expect a flood of players to declare.

Understand, that as someone who lives in this “world” and speaks to high school players, parents, AAU and college coaches on a near daily basis, the idea which has been floated around by most media – that only the elite, can’t miss players will declare – has always been laughable to me. The landscape of the sport has changed so much just in the past few years, with players more focused on getting to the pro ranks, rather than being prepared once they get there.

Again, that was largely confirmed this weekend and is seen in the response from players ranging from “can’t miss” (like Walker and Todd) to those who would be less of a sure thing like Beauchamp, Tabor and others who KSR spoke to. In defense of all the players involved, it’s still early and none said they’d definitively leave if given the option. But again it’s clearly on their minds and is seriously being taken under consideration.

To give you another example of how wild things could get if the rule was changed without any limitations on who can declare, here’s another story from this weekend. During the event I spoke with an AAU coach of a player who is currently unranked by all the major recruiting services, who has already told the coach he’d be interested in turning professional if the rule were changed. Yes, you read that correctly. This player isn’t projected as a future All-Star, or even an elite high-major player. He is a kid who is unranked! In the coach’s defense he said he’d try to talk the player out of such a decision, and in the player’s defense he is a rising prospect who has a handful of fringe Power 5 offers. Still, the fact remains that we could and should expect to see dozens of players declare if this rule is altered.

That’s also why it’ll be interesting to see what the NBA does when the rule is eventually changed. One alternative which has been floated out by John Calipari is the idea of having a combine-style event for players at the end of the junior year, for players to get real feedback from NBA personnel on whether they’re truly ready for the processional ranks or not.

“I think the G League, that’s the purpose [to develop older professional players],” Calipari said back in January. “Not getting 150 high school players and telling them, ‘Don’t worry about your academics.  Don’t worry about your academic success.  Just go and play basketball, and if you don’t make it, don’t worry.  You can figure it out later.’”

It’s a sentiment which – in the interest of full-disclosure – I largely agree with and one that I hope the NBA will seriously consider.

Regardless, a lot of folks will be watching to see what the league does next.

Including virtually all the top players in high school basketball.

Article written by Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres is covering football and basketball for KSR this season after four years at Fox Sports. Follow him on Twitter @Aaron_Torres, Facebook or e-mail at [email protected] He is also the author of the only book written on the Calipari era, “One and Fun: A Behind the Scenes Look at John Calipari and the 2010 Kentucky Wildcats.”

15 Comments for Top high school players discuss how removing the one and done would change their college decision

  1. nybrasky
    1:27 pm June 6, 2018 Permalink

    Let them be drafted and still able to come to college, like hockey. Teams hold the rights – sign the pro contract when both player and team are ready. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily solve those looking to just get rich quick.

    The first 2-3 years will see an absolute flood of players going from high school. Then it will probably normalize to anywhere from 6-15 once teams are tired of paying for Robert Swifts and players are afraid of being Robert Swift. Of course, Robert Swift may have been Robert Swift without ever getting an NBA paycheck if he went to college, so good for him?

    If initial G-League contracts ever reach six figures, then it’s an entirely different game.

    • ClutchCargo
      1:44 pm June 6, 2018 Permalink

      I’m with you. A system like this might have prevented the one and done rule from ever coming about in the first place.

    • Fitz
      8:12 pm June 6, 2018 Permalink

      I also agree. Stampede the first year and then just the best of the herd.

    3:15 pm June 6, 2018 Permalink

    Every NCAA college sport is governed by the NCAA, correct? Then why is it that every NCAA sport has a completely different way of dealing with when and how their NCAA athletes enter their perspective professions draft? Baseball, hockey, basketball, football, etc… ALL different. Find one system that is best for the MAJORITY of all student athletes instead of focusing on the fraction of a percent that will be “professional athletes”.

    • ClutchCargo
      5:15 pm June 6, 2018 Permalink

      The pro sports leagues have input in, and in some cases dictate, what the requirements are to go pro.

    • bigbluebanana
      7:28 pm June 6, 2018 Permalink

      It’s not the NCAA, it’s their respective professional leagues

  3. mapcatfan
    4:36 pm June 6, 2018 Permalink

    Noticed the one player said he seems to be “missing out on the fun”, since it will be implemented the year after he graduates.

    Unless they are in the uppermost echelon, most should listen to the remarks of many, many players that decided to make the jump, and wished they had waited, citing playing college ball was the best, most fun time of their lives. Even many who were the elite have said that as well, although for financial/business reasons, I’m guessing they’d make the same decision again.

  4. justaregulardude
    4:42 pm June 6, 2018 Permalink

    ClutchCargo – it’s bc the professional ranks govern the professionalism of each individual sport, not the ncaa. The NBA, NFL, and MLB each have different rules as to when players can become pros in their respective sport.

    • ClutchCargo
      5:20 pm June 6, 2018 Permalink

      I get that, but I was referring to one specific sport (basketball). I also realize that such a rule would require cooperation between the NBA and NCAA, but it’s purely hypothetical at this point.

      Also, my answer to #2 above was made before I read yours, I swear. 🙂

  5. maxblackanvil
    4:54 pm June 6, 2018 Permalink

    From the NBA’s standpoint, I don’t like getting rid of the one-and-done rule. Their problem is one of maturity. The juvenile, self-serving attitudes of many younger players is a huge turn-off and makes me switch the channel. I don’t see how adding younger players will help this.

  6. Sentient Third Eye
    8:25 am June 7, 2018 Permalink

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if the NBA does away with on-and-done, the only winner will be the NBA, who will create for themselves an ignorant workforce that can be more easily controlled.

  7. chris43
    9:27 am June 7, 2018 Permalink

    I’m not a huge fan of the one and done rule. BUT I do know if you remove the cream of the crop players yearly that it practically ruins college basketball. I’m not sure what the answer is BUT I can say the one and done rule was put in place for a reason…because tons of players who had ZERO BUSINESS decorating were doing so.

  8. wildcat1994
    11:53 am June 7, 2018 Permalink

    I’m all for these guys being able to go pro if they want to, but I would like to see some sort of panel that could evaluate prospects out of high school and tell them if they are ready or not. I know Bill Simmons and a few others have suggested this and I like the idea. When I see the 20th ranked recruit talking about making the jump then a line needs to be drawn

  9. njCat
    12:18 pm June 7, 2018 Permalink

    My opinion is any kid that doesn’t want to be in college and receive the benefits of great coaching and an education, should not be in college. Looking forward to having senior nights again.

  10. bigfatstoopidE
    7:39 pm June 7, 2018 Permalink

    Before the one-and-done rule there was an increasingly disproportionate number of delusional teenagers making themselves available for the draft after 12th grade. Now there is an increasingly disproportionate number of delusional teenagers making themselves available for the draft after just one extra year of development.
    I don’t see much changing.