Hearne: Is ‘One & Done’ Killing College Basketball?

NCAA Basketball: Arkansas at KentuckyMaybe I’m just too easily bored…

Then again, while it’s been years since I felt strongly about college basketball, this one and done stuff where high school players play a single season of college ball before going to the NBA is getting tiresome.

Take last year’s celebrated KU freshmen roundballers Andrew Wiggins and Joel Emblid.

Not unexpectedly the two bailed for the pros after a single, lackluster season that practically nobody will much remember in a year or two. Unless maybe they become so famous in the NBA that somehow the tiny footnote describing their college basketball careers somehow survives.

Seriously though, who cares?

They weren’t around long enough to endear themselves to KU fans, and in the scheme of things what few accomplishments they did achieve are entirely forgettable.

tumblr_m73dnsvcn91rw3b61o4_1280Legendary superstar Wilt Chamberlain played just two seasons at Kansas before leaving under extenuating circumstances. However, Chamberlain left a legacy; the only things Wiggins and Emblid left behind were a couple basketball scholarship openings.

Another basketball team I used to root for is Kentucky.

I lived and worked in the state and grew to appreciate its passion for the sport – and not just at the NCAA Division One level. I went to junior high girls basketball games in the middle of nowhere in corn fields that were packed to the gills with screaming locals.

And in 2002 I was appointed a Kentucky Colonel by the governor.

So it’s not like I didn’t notice when Kentucky’s basketball team this year came within two wins of making history by going undefeated and winning the national championship.

The latest?

Now Kentucky’s seven top freshman players are all leaving for the NBA.

It’s as if they went from near college sports immortality to mere footnotes. Who really remembers much about Final Four teams that came in third and fourth?

Had those Kentucky freshmen opted to play one or two more years for the school, they might have built a dynasty and etched their names in the record books for all time. Instead, now they’re just footnotes.

Because basketball today for teams like KU, Kentucky and Duke has devolved into speed dating.

Make no mistake, the odds of turning back the hands of time on all this is probably nil.

Because how can anybody dictate what an individual can or can’t do regarding their career and futures? That’s not right, because one false move or slip, and instead of becoming an overnight millionaire, Emblid could have been back on a beach in Camaroon shuttling umbrella drinks to tourists.

Still to me, it’s a sad state of affairs for college basketball.

That’s why when a lowly team like Wichita State excels as it has the past couple years without playing the one and done card, it’s inspiring.

And when teams like KU play the one and done card it less than successfully – despite $8 million jets and glam condos for its players – that’s inspiring too.

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13 Responses to Hearne: Is ‘One & Done’ Killing College Basketball?

  1. the dude says:

    Nope, just plain old fashioned greed is killing college bassetball.
    Quit trying to force athletes to attend one year of college if they want to go pro.
    Same with de fooseball.
    Quit trying to keep up the schamateur ruse, nobody is buying it.

  2. Rosco says:

    Money is killing sports, and not just college. A team will play any time, anywhere, in any league to make an incremental dollar. An opportunity to spend a week away from school and play in the Bahamas’ at midnight on a Wednesday or Christmas? No problem. Discard a 100 year tradition to move to a league with no teams in your time zone? No problem. Run 6 minutes of commercials in 2 minutes of playing time? Bring it on.

    The 1&D’s are just following their respective schools in maximizing their earnings at the expense of tradition, the college experience, and being a student. The Lear jets and luxury townhomes, the Four Seasons and Ritz hotels are all to attract the chosen few players into the chosen few elite programs.

    The games get less watchable each year and I find myself only getting any satisfaction when that team that outspends your team goes down rather than rooting for the guys from my school.

    There is a bubble that will burst at some point. Until then, I guess let anyone who can profit from the mania do so.

    • Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

      What team discarded a 100 year tradition and moved to a conference with no teams in their time zone? Was it West Virginia?

  3. 'rhahhararley says:

    Let me explain it to you people.
    Colleges are having financial problems (except those in the sec) and need money.
    By adding the 12 or 13 one and done possibilities among almost 2000 college
    bball players means nothing.
    What it does in bring in crowds and anticipation.
    Ben and cliff did it at ku. Rememer all the articles of how great they
    were. Remember the one and dones earlier? They did okay at ku
    but they are making big jack in the nba today.
    If the nba took the kids right from high school….college basketball would miss
    their play….and those one and dones need a year away from home to get
    used to life on their own.
    Had emblid played in the tourney…could have ben different for
    ku last year.
    Cliff playing this year and they probably would not have been knocked out
    in the 32 team phase.
    Each coach needs to evaluate how his team will go. Self wants to compete
    with the kentuckys and other big time teams but he has an inferiority
    complex. Had Memphis not missed all those free throws self probably
    coaching ok state right now.
    But self mixes those high choices with kids who will be there 4 years.
    Won’t work…that’s not his specialty. His greatness is taking a good
    player and working with him for 3-4 years and making him great.
    Until he realizes that his 8 million dollar plane and plush dorms don’t
    mean shit will this ever change.
    Calipari goes to a recruit and says “come to UK…play one year as the
    law says…and i’ll make you better and ready for the nba. And calipari
    organizes his entire program in making those kids feel like their in the
    nba with more playing time…a faster offense…and even special
    classes to prepare them for life in the nba.
    Hearne…you’re wrong again…..its all about money. Kids with nothing see
    the chance to make millions…and you expect them to turn away from that.
    Calipari had some grat ideas on how to keep the kids in school…insurance
    policies…value based agreements should their $’s in nba go down by staying
    an extra year r two.
    If you were smart hearne…you’d realize that the money is made in tv.
    Get those kids…play they….people love watching the one and dones play…
    bring in the ratings and advertisers like they did this year…and make billions.
    its all about the dough hearne.

  4. 'rhahhararley says:

    by the way….basketball at college level did real well financially this year.
    one and dones are NOT KILLING BASKETBALL…
    READ THE STATS……..

    • admin says:

      Maybe not at the box office; maybe not yet…

      But changing players at the same rate you Harley probably change your underwear doesn’t allow fans to develop a bond, an affinity for the players in the one and done world.

      Now you see ’em, now you don’t.

  5. Phaedrus says:

    I think a couple of the Kentucky players that left were sophomores. I guess you have to play more than 2 years to be something more than a footnote.

  6. Nick says:

    Not sure it matters; while entertaining, it’s just sport.

  7. CFPCowboy says:

    Perhaps most of the problem stems from the the deteriation of the amateur status. We let professionals compete in the Olympics, otherwise we couldn’t compete with other nations whose militaries seemed to be staffed by amateur basketball, hockey, wrestlers, swimmers, and the like, all of whom are paid to play. There is no profit in amateur sports. The saddest part of the situation are the societal throw aways that get left behind. There is no second best league, where the players make half as much. In basketball, you either make the big time or you’re faced with a pickup game in the Leawood Park off of State Line, not too far from High Vee, and if you didn’t finish college, let alone go, that is the pinacle of your career. To the ones who make it, there is another dillemma, staying in the game long enough to walk away with enough to stay alive for the rest of their lives, from head injuries to football an soccer players, to the hardships of fame, aids and social disease. Where are the Rush brothers now? Of 10 million student who, growing up, either want to be pro or whose parents want them to be pro, very few will make it. Perhaps we need a new celebration of the amateur status or perhaps we need to rethink the hundred million dollar contracts, especially when the players see most of it disappear to lawyers, agents, endorsement deals. The games have become little more than advertising and ways for cities to do Commerce. Nobody remembers the fate of the original runner at Marathon. In short, he died. Hopefully those that jump college for the smell of professional sports success will have learned enough along the way to accomodate a shortened pain free life.

  8. Jim a.k.a. BWH says:

    Let’s see……The whole “one-and-done” thing has been around since 2006. There have been 9 NBA drafts in that time. There’s been what, 50 or 60 freshmen drafted in that time period? Compare that to the 4,300+ Division1 scholarship basketball players that are on NCAA rosters each year. So, an average of 6 or 8 freshmen a year over the last 9 years have jumped to the NBA after 1 year in college? This is killing college basketball?

    99.8% of ALL college basketball teams are not impacted by one-and-done players.

    You don’t think Greg Marshall would take the number one overall basketball recruit at Wichita State if he could get him? Of course he would. He isn’t doing it “right”. He’s doing it the only way he can.

    College basketball is doing just fine. Besides, the one and done will NOT be around forever anyways.

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