Dear NBA,

It’s time to revisit the one-and-done rule.

The University of Kansas basketball program has produced seven one-and-done basketball players. Seven players who played one year with the Jayhawks before moving on to the fame and fortune of the NBA.

The one-and-done rule didn’t exist until 2005, when, then commissioner David Stern, called for a higher age-limit to enter the NBA. The concession closed the collective bargaining agreement, but possibly hinders the potential of talented players who could enter the NBA out of high school.

And that agreement was over ten years ago. It’s time for a change.

I don’t consider myself an advocate for encouraging people to completely bypass college to enter professional sports. Nor have I ever voiced concerns against it. I hate the one-and-done rule, but maybe that’s because it harms more than it helps?

It’s hard to know for certain if a high school athlete will make it in the professional sports world. Sometimes it’s still hard after an athlete spends four years in collegiate athletics.

Basketball is even more unique. Unlike most sports —baseball, soccer, football — it’s a five-on-five game. One star player can change the game — and almost nothing is more valuable than the first round pick in the NBA draft. It means you’re one of the few, the elite.

So, if the one-and-done rule isn’t working, what’s the solution?

There’s been a lot of time spent talking about amateurism and paying athletes to play at the collegiate level. I don’t think that solves the one-and-done problem. Others have discussed a “two-and-done” rule. I don’t think that solves the problem either.

Instead, I think the NBA needs to reconsider the rule altogether. The NBA needs to adopt something similar to baseball’s draft rule.

In baseball’s official draft rules, it states that these are the categories of eligible players to be drafted:

  •    High school players, if they have graduated from high school and have not yet attended college or junior college;
  •    College players, from four-year colleges who have either completed their junior or senior years or are at least 21 years old; and
  •    Junior college players, regardless of how many years of school they have completed

After the selections, a club retains the rights to sign a selected player until about two months after the draft, or until the player enters/returns to college. If a player is not drafted and does not sign with a club, he may be re-drafted in a future year’s draft — as long as he meets the above criteria.

It would also be beneficial if athletes were allowed to meet with an agent without costing them NCAA eligibility. It only makes sense that a player (and family) would want to consult with an agent who could walk the athlete through the draft process. The player would sever ties with the agent if he remained un-drafted and wished to play at the university-level.

If the NBA were to adopt rules like this someone like Cliff Alexander would’ve had a chance to return to KU, and players like Josh Selby could’ve entered the draft straight out of high school.

A guideline like that also frees the athletes from having to “wait out” their time in college. It’s obvious when a phenomenal athlete joins a university’s basketball squad that he’s not going to be focused on academics. Wouldn’t you be dreaming about the NBA and making millions, too?

So, maybe former commissioner David Stern advocated that the one-and-done rule “produced better players” to allow for “better basketball,” but I’m not buying it.

Look at the system that the University of Kentucky and Duke have created (and thrived in). John Calipari and Mike Krzyzewski market to the one-and-done players; the coaches don’t discourage from entering the draft and win titles because of it.

I still hate it. I’m glad KU has only had seven one-and-done guys ever. (Joel Embiid, Ben McLemore, Andrew Wiggins, Xavier Henry, Kelly Oubre, Jr., Cliff Alexander, and Josh Selby)

NBA, get rid of the one-and-done rule. Throw it in the garbage. Start over. One year in college doesn’t magically add maturity and talent to a player. Maybe those players would be better in the D-Leagues or on international soil…Selby?

The one-and-done rule needs to be re-visited. Let these ballers chase their dreams — maybe the next MJ or Lebron is out there waiting for his chance.

It’s time for change.

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