National Basketball Association
It's time for NBA to ditch one-and-done rule
National Basketball Association

It's time for NBA to ditch one-and-done rule

Published Jul. 22, 2009 5:30 p.m. ET

Even though the NBA's precious rule in question probably will survive the latest challenge, most of the talent evaluators who support it have come down with a serious case of the heebie-jeebies.

"Any time you get Congress involved, anything can happen," said one scout currently employed by an NBA team. "Oh, I still know who the best high school players are, but if that rule wasn't in place, I'd be packing my bags for Vegas right now."

Ah, Vegas ... where hundreds of club teams (including mine) will descend upon the three sneaker-company-sponsored tournaments that serve as this week's one-city meat market for the discerning stares of college coaches. Back in the good, ol' days before Commissioner David Stern and his players' union (unwittingly?) turned college basketball into a one-and-done free-for-all, NBA scouts often were obliged to witness high school hotshots in person.

But thanks to objections filed by a Tennessee congressman, the league's age-restriction rule (must be 19 and one year removed from home room) has, once again, become a national hoop debate.

In case you hadn't noticed, prom-fresh high school players have been banned from entering the NBA Draft — without first spending a year in college or Europe — since 2005. It should be mentioned that since then, the college basketball landscape has been pock-marked by players entering college against their ultimate NBA wishes, often blowing off classes during the second semester of their freshman year to prepare for the draft.

The one-and-done format has graced us with a test-taking controversy involving Derrick Rose and an alleged-cash-oriented scandal co-starring O.J. Mayo. I actually heard a basketball-specializing big thinker inform his TV audience that the development of Rose and Mayo is an argument FOR the age restriction. That's just beautiful.


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