John Calipari asks the NBA Players Association to help bring an end to the one-and-done era
Kentucky has thrived with one-and-done players, but Cal wants high school players to be able to go to the NBA
Perhaps no coach in college basketball has benefited more from the one-and-done rule than John Calipari. At Kentucky, he's built a brand revolving around raking in blue-chip talents that spend a season at UK before making the jump to the professional level.
But even with his marked success in the current system, the Hall of Famer is prepared -- and helping push for -- an alternate one that would supersede the current setup by potentially allowing high school players to make the leap directly to the NBA.
In an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Calipari says he has met recently with the National Basketball Players Association representatives in a push for new rules that would end the one-and-done system, with the hopes of the NBPA becoming more actively involved in the development of high school players as they prepare for the NBA. Among his suggestions is a combine for high school juniors to help prospects who want to go directly to the NBA.
"The players and the families need to know — here are the ones who should be thinking about the NBA, and here are the ones who should not," Calipari said. "That's why you need a (high school) combine."
Calipari has long been an advocate for student-athletes to have as much freedom as possible, primarily at the college level. But new discussions with the NBPA center around freedom and less restrictions beginning as high school prospects, allowing the NBA to evaluate talents at an early age.
"If they want to go out of high school, go," Calipari said. "If they want to go to college and then leave, let them leave when they want to leave. Why would we force a kid to stay? 'Well — it's good for the game?' It's about these kids and their families. Because let me tell you, if we [abolish one-and-done], the kids that do come to college will stay for two to three years."
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been open to changing the one-and-done rule and been methodical in his approach to bringing about any sweeping changes. But the burden of the decision ultimately falls on him and trickles down to all levels of the sport, and it seems changing the NBA's age limit may be in the future.
"It's clear that the college community doesn't seem to want the one-and-done players any more," Silver said on ESPN earlier last week. "Putting aside the self-interest of the NBA, we have to be responsive to the larger basketball community."
The Pac-12 and Big East have laid out proposals to end the one-and-done system, and while there is no current plan in place to abolish it altogether, the subject is expected to be revisited after the playoffs by Silver.
Meanwhile, the entire structure of how basketball operates at every level hangs in the balance.
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