Point of View: One and not done

Rule creates flaw in NCAA, NBA.


To some serious basketball players hoping to become professionals in the NBA, college is a checkbox — a one-year nuisance to pass the time before they become eligible for the draft.

This phenomenon is created by the “one and done” rule, as it is appropriately called, which states that all players who wish to become eligible for the National Basketball Association draft cannot be drafted out of high school and must be 19 or older.

In other words, players must attend college for a minimum of one year or pass the time somewhere else, such as playing in international leagues, although most choose the college route.

One and done boasts famous alumni — Kyrie Irving, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant — and grows each year as more and more A-list basketball stars decide that college is a place to waste a year before going pro, rather than seeing it as a four-year opportunity.

The two youngest brothers of the Ball family basketball dynasty, LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball — 19 and 16 years old, respectively — did just this when they signed with an agent, eliminating their college eligibility and beginning the waiting game before they become eligible for the NBA draft, according to ESPN.

LiAngelo began his freshman year at the University of California, Los Angeles this fall, a college he committed to as a sophomore in high school, but was arrested for allegedly shoplifting while in China for a preseason tournament that the Bruins participated in.

After an indefinite suspension from the team, LiAngelo withdrew from both the team and the university completely, now looking to fill the one year requirement elsewhere before being eligible for the NBA draft.

Instead of completing a year at the collegiate level, LiAngelo and his younger brother LaMelo, who began homeschooling this fall, have set their sights internationally, looking to play overseas to pass the time before they become eligible for the draft, according to ESPN.

High school and college athletes hoping to make it to the professional level should not treat the one year interruption in their career plan as a box to check off, nor should college be simply just to waste time.

In a blink of an eye, a fractured knee, broken leg or even a badly twisted ankle could forever dismantle a player’s career. A one-year stint at college surely won’t be a strong enough crutch to fall back on.

Although some members of the professional basketball community want to eliminate the “one and done” rule all together and create a fluid recruitment from high school to the NBA, players who plan on competing at the highest level need to spend more time at college — to develop their athletic skills, to mature as a player and an individual, and to get an education.