Eight of the last 11 No. 1 overall picks in the NBA draft have been college freshmen since the NBA implemented the one-and-done rule in 2005.
This rule states a player must be 19 years old or one year removed from high school to enter the NBA draft. This also means the best NBA prospects are coming from college basketball.
The rule is not only good for college basketball fans, because it adds entertainment to the college game by making the best players go to college for at least one season, but it is also good for the players because it gives them an extra year of experience on their road to the NBA.
If the one-and-one rule wasn’t in place, most of those No. 1 picks over the last several years would’ve gone to the NBA straight out of high school. If they had never gone to their respective schools, college basketball wouldn’t have been as exciting as it has been the past decade.
Nowadays, the most exciting part about college basketball has been to see what freshman is going to dominate the college basketball landscape each year.
Last season, Duke University freshmen Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones carried the Blue Devils to an NCAA championship. All three are in the NBA now.
A lot of players may have the talent to compete in the NBA, but very few have the mental makeup and self-discipline necessary to do so at the age of 18.
If a player is being scouted on the NBA level in high school, he is usually far above the skill level of any competition he faces in high school basketball. College basketball gives each pro prospect the chance to improve their game against elevated competition and it gives pro scouts a chance to see prospects against other college players.
Most college freshmen mature a tremendous amount in their first year in school and this makes for more NBA-ready players from the start of their career.
Last year’s NBA Rookie of the Year, Andrew Wiggins, averaged 16.9 points and 4.6 rebounds after being the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. He spent only one year at University of Kansas.
If a player thinks he’s good enough to go to the NBA out of high school that means he probably has the choice to go to any major college basketball school in the country.
One year of mentoring from a college coach like Steve Fisher or Mike Krzyzewski can only help a player trying to go to the NBA — it’s like the ultimate letter of recommendation.
The one-and-done rule forces each player to get some level of education and some sort of college experience and that’s why it’s a good rule. Players should jump at the chance to get an education while developing their game under a college coach. Longer and more fruitful NBA careers will be the result.