As the National Colligate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball season closes, focus has shifted toward the Nation Basketball Association (NBA) draft and who will become this year’s number one pick. This year’s draft, like every other draft since 2010, will most likely have a freshmen selected as the number one overall pick. When looking at the short college careers of the many freshmen who go on to become lottery picks (picks number 1-14) you would see that there was a wide range of success. All of this year’s high draft picks made the NCAA tournament but some with earlier exits than others. Arizona University’s DeAndre Ayton, Oklahoma University’s Tre Young, Missouri University’s Michael Porter and Texas University’s Mo Bamba will all be top ten picks but their teams lost in the first round.
This is not an unusual occurrence either. Going back to 2010’s championship game there have been only three times a team with multiple high profile “one and done” prospects have gone to the championship. Only two of these teams won the championship game (Kentucky 2011-12 and Duke 2014-15). So why are the one and done players so highly valued by these programs when in the last eight years they have shown little success when it comes to winning the NCAA tournament? It comes down to the same thing it always does with the NCAA, money. Although it is not the NCAA’s rule that prevents high school players from entering the draft, they certainly have reaped the benefits of having professional level athletes at their universities.
Recently you might have heard about how the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating multiple high profile Division I programs for improper recruiting. DeAndre Ayton, the Arizona player I mentioned before, was accused by ESPN to have accepted $100,000 from Arizona to play basketball there. This has not been proven, but it is known throughout the college basketball community that these things happen all the time. Big schools are constantly fighting and trying to outbid each other to land high profile recruits so the university can make money. The obvious claim is that their interest in the player is based on their skill and not for the benefit of the university financially, but as discussed earlier, that claim loses merit when you look at what programs have been consistently successful. Just take a look at this year’s champions, Villanova University. Over the last five seasons they have have won their conference four of the five seasons and won two national titles. During this span they did not have a single “one and done” player.
The truth is that the “one and done” model does not benefit the athletes and needs to be addressed if the NCAA wants to have any chance of stopping the corrupt actions of high profile universities.
The universities these athletes attend care little about the performance of their basketball program, as long as the athletes generate money for the university.