Jack Petrucci Staff Writer
In the past 20 years, we have seen some talented basketball stars come up through the NBA. So good that they got drafted right out of high school. The first to do it was Kevin Garnett in 1995, and players such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Dwight Howard are just a few of the names that made the jump from high school to the NBA. All of these players will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame when their time comes.
Starting in the 2006 season, the NBA put in the “one and done rule” for players, meaning they had to be one year removed from their high school graduation to be eligible for the NBA draft. The NBA thought it would be best for the player’s development to have to spend at least a year playing at a higher competitive level than high school basketball. Is that always the case?
Yes, players have benefited greatly from playing in college, and have had great NBA careers because of it, but if the players are ready, they should be eligible. Look no further than 2012, where an 18-year-old 5-star recruit from Chicago, Illinois by the name of Anthony Davis committed to play at the University of Kentucky. In one year at Kentucky, Davis averaged 14.2 PPG, 10.4 rebounds and shot 65% from the field, while his Wildcats went 39-2 and won the National title. One of the most dominant college basketball players in recent times. Did we need to see Davis steamroll through college basketball for 6 months to “prove” he needed it? No. Davis was the #1 overall pick and averaged 13 points and 8 rebounds a game
in his Rookie season.
Perhaps why I am so against the “one and done” rule is the possibility of a player getting injured. Look no further than this past season. Possibly one of the best prospects in recent times Zion Williamson was set to play rival University of North Carolina. 30 seconds into the game, Williamson ripped through his left Nike shoe attempting to make a move to the basket. He was diagnosed with a grade 1 right knee sprain. This sidelined him for over a month and sent a scare to all sports fans. Was that it? Would he be back to his best form? That he did, as Zion averaged 26 points in his final 7 games back from injury. It is worth it? Zion was one slip away from possibly having an injury that cost him his career.
We have seen what knee injuries have done to stars like Derrick Rose. It was amazing to see guys like Anthony Davis and Zion Williamson put on a show in college basketball. But if the NCAA hasn’t seen it yet, look no further than this year, where one of the best prospects ever almost had a career-ending injury in a league that he shouldn’t even have been playing in from the start. If these players are ready, let them go to the league.