Kentucky Wildcat Basketball: One and Done = Won and Done?

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Jan 19, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA: Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari gestures during the first half against the Auburn Tigers at Auburn Arena. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports


Cal basically says that he coaches them for the time that he has them, and advises them on what he thinks is best (draft-wise). This is how his self-titled “players-first” program is run.

“If it’s your son, if he had that kind of talent, you would make him stay in college four years? What if he got hurt? What if the (behavioral) direction he was going went different? I cannot morally tell a young man that he should stay in school – in the interests of the school, the program or me – when it’s in his best interests and his family’s best interests to go reach his dreams. I couldn’t tell (Bill) Gates, ‘Do you know what you did to the integrity of your school by coming out and starting Microsoft?’ I recruit the best players I can recruit. I make them the best team I can make them,” Calipari says. “During the year, it’s about our team. And at the end of the year, it’s about these young people. I don’t get involved with what agent they take. I don’t get involved in their decision. I may meet with each of them one time, and I say, ‘Come back and tell me what you want to do. Here’s the information.’ If I need to get a G.M. on the line to tell them exactly where they’re falling, where they’re going to be in the draft, I’ll do it and then I’ll stay out of it. And whatever happens for them and their family, I’m good with. Would I like them to stay four years? Absolutely, I would like them to stay four years. But it’s not the rule. This is the rule (one and done).” (Via USA Today interview).

So what does this mean for Kentucky basketball? It means we won’t always have senior leaders like Darius Miller, but you will have a constant influx of 5-star talents like Anthony Davis, and Nerlens Noel; all while keeping room for the Ryan Harrow’s and Kyle Wiltjer’s to grow and develop. Does this mean that every year we will have a young, yet championship caliber team? Probably not realistically, but this does leave room for lots of exciting basketball and consistently good teams. So far however, it seems to be working for UK. It was brought to my attention that since the Calipari-era began at UK, the Cats have sent the most players to the league. They’ve also made the most final four appearances, so clearly his system isn’t all bad.

Personally I like the NCAA baseball rule. If you’re good enough to go straight out of high school, follow your inner Kobe Bryant and go for it. If you’re a Rajon Rondo or a Patrick Patterson, come and stay awhile- the NBA will be there in 2-4 years.

The rule specifically says “Certain groups of players are ineligible for selection, generally because they are still in school. The basic categories of players eligible to be drafted are: High school players, if they have graduated from high school and have not yet attended college or junior college; College players, from four-year colleges who have either completed their junior or senior years or are at least 21 years old; and Junior college players, regardless of how many years of school they have completed.”

This means that if you are good enough to enter the NBA straight from high school and you choose to do so you can. If not you enter college and complete 3-4 seasons or go to junior college and stay as long as you want before entering the draft. This would be beneficial I think, because this would allow players to grow and develop as a team and individuals and get an education before going to the NBA, and those that are NBA ready straight from high school or after only 1-2 JUCO seasons are less likely to need a fall back education and player development anyway.

I think this rule is fair to players and coaches on every level. I don’t know that this will be implemented anytime soon, if ever, but I do think a change will be made soon as many of the nations top NCAA coaches have voiced their distaste for the rule as well as commentators and analysts in the sport. Until then, I’ll support Cal’s system- it did win us a National Title after all.

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