During his three-plus decades coaching basketball on the college and high school levels, Billy Gillispie has come away with one rather alarming impression.
“I think every player has the dream of being a one-and-done guy, and there are very, very few because it’s so hard to be that good,” said Gillispie, the basketball coach at Ranger College and former head coach at UTEP, Texas A&M, Kentucky and Texas Tech. “But it does create a different level of dreaming for some guys.
“On the other hand, it probably hurts some guys because they think that they’re going to be here [in the NBA] and they don’t really take advantage of their one year on campus, or their thought process of having one year on campus academically or socially enjoying college life.
82 Players selected in the 10 NBA Drafts since the one-and-done rule was implemented before the 2006 draft.
“They’re probably trying to make themselves more of a commodity than just a regular old freshman college student, so I bet some of those guys really miss out on a lot trying to get to the NBA too quick.”
And therein lies the rub. One-and-done basketball dreams vs. a reality check.
The NBA Draft is Thursday. This week marks the 10th year anniversary of a rule where the league prevents players from entering the draft unless they are 19 years old during the calendar year of the draft and, for non-international players, at least one year has passed from the graduation of his high school class.
That meant playing at least one year of college basketball.
Dubbed the one-and-done rule, this was the NBA’s way of appeasing its owners, who complained about having to invest millions of dollars into a 17- or 18-year old player who wasn’t mature enough to handle the trappings — on and off the court — of NBA life.
Since the one-and-done rule was established beginning with the 2006 draft, 82 players have been selected after attending college for one season. Of that total, only Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Derrick Rose, DeMar DeRozan, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and Andre Drummond have played in an NBA All-Star Game. Durant and Rose have been league MVPs.
While debate continues on whether the one-and-dones are crippling the college game by leaving school early, and hurting the NBA game by having ill-prepared players competing alongside grown men with families, Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Jamahl Mosley views the rule as a teachable moment.
“What it has done is actually given an opportunity for a lot of people to go back into why we started coaching in the first place, and that’s teaching,” Mosley said. “A lot of times when guys get up here to the NBA level we think they should know it all, but you have to remember that if they’re one-and-done guys that they don’t know what they don’t know.
“For me, I actually look at it in a positive light from that standpoint, because you have to reflect on the teachings again, you have to teach guys the structures of the NBA. A kid coming out of college and has only had one year [of college], you can actually help mold him into the right NBA experience if you do it the right way.”
This is not college, we’re not hugging you, kissing you, holding you. Your mama and your people are doing that.
Former Mavericks standout Rolando Blackman, on the pitfalls for one-and-done players
Mavericks community ambassador Rolando Blackman believes, with a few exceptions, one-and-dones have placed untold burdens on franchises.
“That’s the main thing about it, because what happens with that situation is they take so many years to get developed and get ready, but that’s what college is supposed to do,’’ said Blackman, who played in the NBA from 1981-94. “They’re missing so many facets of the game that really get coaches fired, and they don’t contribute to the overall depth of winning, except for three of four years, if they get the proper training and development in the way that they need to.
“This is not college, we’re not hugging you, kissing you, holding you. Your mama and your people are doing that. Over here you want results, and that’s a hard thing for a kid to implement because he’s just a young kid, just 18, 19 years old and he comes into this [NBA] world where he has to be able to produce.”
Myles Turner, who graduated from Euless Trinity High School and spent one year at Texas before declaring for the 2015 NBA Draft, certainly produced as a rookie.
Drafted No. 11 overall by the Indiana Pacers, Turner averaged 10.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and a team-high 1.4 blocks in 22.8 minutes per game this past season.
“I feel like [the one-and-done rule] has worked out well for me,” said Turner, who was selected for the NBA All-Rookie second team. “If you can put yourself in position to help your family out, as high as possible, that’s the way I looked at it.
“Thankfully for me, I was able to come out last year and have a big impact and just make a name for myself.”
Many of the one-and-done players, however, haven’t had an indelible impact and are busy honing their skills overseas or in the NBA Development League.
For every prized one-and-done player such as former Kentucky star Anthony Davis, there are too many like Javaris Crittenton, who played one year at Georgia Tech and was the 19th overall pick in the 2007 draft by the Los Angeles Lakers.
Crittenton played two (total) seasons for the Lakers, Memphis and Washington, and also played in China and ended up his career in the NBA Development League in 2011.
In August 2011, he was charged with murder. Last year, Crittenton pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 23 years in prison.
“A lot of [one-and-dones] had the talent to get to the NBA, but don’t have the ability to stick around,” said former NBA standout Shawn Marion, who helped the Mavericks win the 2011 NBA title. “I think some of them definitely could have gone to school.
“It probably would have helped the college game definitely, and who knows, they probably would have had a better NBA career as well. But when you’ve got everybody in your ear telling you that you need to go [to the NBA], you’re this and you’re that, you start believing that bull [expletive]. And that’s what ruins your life.”
Since the one-and-done is part of the collective bargaining agreement, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and other owners can’t speak to its financial impact — be it positive or negative.
Last season, 13 players who played college ball for one year were drafted in the NBA. That’s the most since 12 were drafted in 2008, and the most ever chosen in one draft.
Kentucky has produced the most one-and-done players with 16. All of those have come during the past six years under coach John Calipari.
Gillispie, who coached at Kentucky from 2007-09 — the two years prior to Calipari’s arrival — believe the one-and-done rule can be exploited as a shrewd recruiting tool.
Mostly it’s a lot of losses and a lot of coaches getting fired, because that [one-and-done] person can’t help to do what they’re supposed to do, which is to help your team win.
“I think it’s one of the best recruiting tools a guy can ever have,” Gillispie said. “What it tells all the players that are aspiring to be one-and-dones is that, hey, look at his track record.
“If I want to be a one-and-done guy, this is where I’ve got to go. I really think that [Calipari has] utilized that definitely to his benefit more than anything.”
A one-and-done player has been the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft in eight of the past 10 years. That includes Greg Oden, Anthony Bennett, Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Davis, Rose, Wall and Irving.
But as has been the cases with Oden and Bennett – whose careers never blossomed – let the buyer beware.
“I love that [the one-and-done players] have the opportunity to come in, but come in ready to play the game,” Blackman said. “That’s what’s most important to me, because it’s a detriment to them after their first contract.
“And it’s a detriment to the team, because in that time there’s all kinds of things happening. And mostly it’s a lot of losses and a lot of coaches getting fired, because that [one-and-done] person can’t help to do what they’re supposed to do, which is to help your team win.”
2. LA Lakers
3. Boston (from Brooklyn)
6. New Orleans
7. Denver (from New York)
9. Toronto (from Denver via New York)
13. Phoenix (from Washington)
15. Denver (from Houston)
16. Boston (from Dallas)
19. Denver (from Portland)
24. Philadelphia (from Miami via Cleveland)
25. LA Clippers
26. Philadelphia (from Okla. City via Denver and Cleveland)
28. Phoenix (From Cleveland via Boston)
29. San Antonio
30. Golden State
31. Boston (from Philadelphia via Miami)
32. LA Lakers
33. LA CLippers (From Brooklyn)
35. Boston (from Minnesota via Phoenix)
36. Milwaukee (from New Orl. via Sac.)
37. Houston (from NY via Sac and Por)
39. New Orleans (Denver via Philadelphia)
40. New Orleans (from Sacramento)
44. Atlanta (from Washington)
45. Boston (from Memphis via Dallas)
47. Orlando (from Chicago)
48. Chicago (from Portland via Cleveland)
51. Boston (from Miami)
52. Utah (from Boston via Memphis)
53. Denver (from Charlotte via Okla. City)
55. Brooklyn (from LA Clippers)
56. Denver (from Oklahoma City)
57. Memphis (from Toronto)
58. Boston (from Cleveland)
59. Sacramento (from San Antonio)
60. Utah (from Golden State)
2016 NBA Draft
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.
6 p.m. Thursday, ESPN