There is not a single analyst picking against the Kentucky Wildcats to cut down the nets at the Super Dome in New Orleans next Monday night.
It’s almost a forgone conclusion.
Kentucky has six legitimate NBA players (as of now): Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Doron Lamb, Marquis Teague, Darius Miller, and Terrance Jones.
Kidd-Gilchrist, Davis and Teague are freshman and could potentially be one-and-dones.
Davis would be the No. 1 overall pick if he chooses to enter the NBA draft. Kidd Gilchrist is a lock for the lottery and is expected to go Top 10. He has already stated he’ll enter June’s draft. Teague is a first-round at this point.
This week NBA commissioner David Stern and NCAA president Mark Emmert debated the topic of the age requirement, currently 19 in the public forum of mass media.
Stern said the age requirement is good for business. One and done’s rise to fame their freshman year and are marketing ready by the time they are a NBA rookies.
Stern said he wouldn’t be opposed to extending the requirement to age 20 and two years removed from high school.
Stern sees the league as all-business, non academic.
“We don’t think it’s appropriate for us to lecture kids whether they should or shouldn’t go to school,” Stern said this week, via the USA TODAY.
“For our business purposes, the longer we can get to look at young men playing against first-rate competition, that’s a good thing, because draft picks are a very valuable thing.”
Stern also said, sarcastically via the USA TODAY, “A college could always have players who are not one and done, they could do that. They could actually require the players go to classes. I’m really digging myself a hole. Or they could get the players to agree that they stay in school and ask for their scholarship money back if they didn’t fulfill their promises.”
Stern of course is mocking the reality of big-time collegiate sports in that athletics comes first, academics second.
Emmert addressed the issue this way, “I happen to dislike the one-and-done rule enormously and wish it didn’t exist,” Emmert said Friday via the Kansas City Star.
“I think it forces young men to go to college that have little or no interest in going to college.”
“I don’t think we should blow the one-and-done out of proportion and suggest that’s somehow undermining all of academics and the NCAA. It’s 15 kids. They have a chance to go play professionally because that’s what the rules allow and they all want to pursue it. So that’s fine.”
Ultimately the NCAA and NBA are interdependent. Yet the NBA holds the cards in that they can chose to enforce their rules as they see fit (pro sports leagues are generally exempt from anti-trust laws).
Stern, as he stated this week, will do what is best for the NBA, and eliminating the age rule all together would benefit the NCAA more than the NBA.
It does seem possible that at some point in the future the NBA may increase the rule from one year removed from high school or age 19 to two years removed from high school or age 20.
The USA TODAY reports that the NBA Players Association and the NBA will discuss the age restriction topic after the season ends.