In the midst of the 2015 NBA Draft, basketball fans across the nation are either loving or hating the University of Kentucky basketball team. Seven UK players broke the school record this week by declaring for the 2015 NBA Draft.

Freshman Karl-Anthony Towns, Trey Lyles and Devin Booker, have executed the University of Kentucky’s one-and-done tradition perfectly, but sparked the continuous controversy once again.

But are the freshman really to blame?

The Rule

The one-and-done rule was implemented in 2006 by former commissioner of the NBA, David Stern. The infamous Article X allows athletes to either enter the NBA Draft if they are 19-years-old at the calendar year of the draft or sit out one year after high school.

It is apparent that both the NBA and the NCAA dislike the rule and basketball fans nationwide hate it. But what reasons are that effectual that the rule must be cut?

Cons Of Going Pro

Education

Players use college basketball as a stepping stone to the NBA rather than an opportunity to obtain a college degree.

Bob Knight, former head coach of the Indiana University men’s basketball team for 29 years, claimed that the one-and-done rule was “the worst thing that’s happened to college basketball.”

Knight proposed that the rule had a negative effect on college sports. “Now you can have a kid come to school for a year and play basketball and he doesn’t even have to go to class,” said Knight. “He certainly doesn’t have to go to class the second semester.”

According to the NCAA, “Student-athletes must achieve 90 percent of the institution’s minimum overall grade-point average necessary to graduate (for example, 1.8) by the beginning of year two, 95 percent of the minimum GPA (1.9) by year three and 100 percent (2.0) by year four.”

To put into perspective, a freshman is only required to pass two classes in their fall semester to maintain a grade point average to stay eligible to play.

However, the purpose of earning a college degree is to increase a student’s likeliness of getting a job. But if a multi-million dollar job was offered to a student before graduation, doesn’t that host the same outcome? Isn’t that not satisfying the real reason why coaches want big time players to stay in college and graduate?

Quality of NBA

Since 2006, 60 one-and-done players have played in the NBA.

Charles Barkley, former basketball player for the Philadelphia 76ers and current sports analyst for Inside the NBA, criticized the NBA’s quality of play due to these one-and-done players.

“I hate the one-and-done rule in college basketball,” Barkley said during a Kentucky v. Auburn game. “Just ’cause there’s a rule does not mean you have to do it.”

Barkley’s concern is that college basketball players are not ready for the NBA but are influenced greatly by family members and agents.

“The family members are greedy, the agents are pigs,” Barkley said. “These agents are such scumbags, and you know that, they just want their percentage of the money.”

Barkley understands the pressures as an NBA prospect through his own experience and is concerned about the well-being of the student-athletes coming into the pro league.

However, with regard to the quality of play, Chris Johnson, a writer for Sports Illustrated, examined the results of the college one-and-done era.

The chart represents all one-and-done male basketball players that joined the NBA in the past 8 years.

To distinguish between the four levels of performance, here is a visual of players that fall in each category:

  • Stars: Anthony Davis, John Wall, Derrick Rose.
  • Rotation Players: Michael Beasley, Tyreke Evans.
  • Big Contributors: Cory Joseph, Quincy Miller, Anthony Bennett.
  • Flops: Grant Jerrett, Josh Selby, Daniel Orton.

Johnson calculated only 7 players to be “flops” and almost half were considered “rotation players”.

“On average,” Johnson said. “A majority of them managed to play significant roles in the league for at least a few years.”

Pros Of Going Pro

Financial

Choosing the one-and-done route gives student-athletes an opportunity to be financially stable and earn a living early.

According to a study conducted by Ramogi Huma, President of the National College Players Association, 86 percent of college athletes live below the poverty line.

Student-athletes entering in the NBA Draft are likely to receive a signing bonus that would would allow athletes to provide for themselves and their families.

Risk of Injury

The more time spent participating in college basketball creates a higher risk of injury.

Nerlens Noel, former University of Kentucky basketball player, was predicted to be first overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft. Due to tearing his ACL in February, 2013, Noel was the sixth pick and lost more than $4 million of his predicted salary according to the NBA’s rookie pay scale.

Opportunity

Not every individual has a chance of being an athlete. Not every athlete has the chance to play in college. And certainly, not every collegiate athlete has a chance of going to the NBA. According to NCAA statistics, it’s a very small percentage.

Wayne Langston, a junior forward for the Murray State University men’s basketball team, understands the possible opportunity that many Division I basketball players can get.

Langston’s sophomore teammate, Cameron Payne, is one of more than twenty-five players entering early in the 2015 NBA Draft.

“Coach doesn’t talk to us before season about it (playing in the NBA),” Langston said. “It just something that comes up. But if you’re good enough, why not go?”

Who deserves the benefits?

At the end of the day, the university and basketball coaches lose money when their best player leaves for the NBA.

Fans are upset when they can’t watch their favorite player participate in college basketball games. Now they have to watch both college and professional basketball.

And the one-and-dones are taking a once in a lifetime opportunity.

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