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Coach K not a fan of the fascination with one-and-done freshmen

Nov 27, 2013, 12:11 PM EDT

Mike Krzyzewski AP

It’s no secret that the biggest story in college basketball this season is the freshmen class: Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon.

Those guys are superstars. They’ve been talked about as high schoolers. They’re already being talked about as the savior of NBA franchises. There’s a reason that the Champions Classic, which featured three of those four freshmen, got massive ratings.

But is that a good thing for the sport?

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski says no.

“Nationally, I’m a little bit worried that that is always becoming a thing,” Krzyzewski told reporters Tuesday. “I think part of it is that people who show our games show NBA, too. So, the constant thought is cross-promoting.”

“I love ESPN, and I think they should do whatever they want to do. But what I’m saying is, in some ways, we as a college basketball community should not completely buy into that.”

Coach K also said that two guys that he coached with Team USA this summer, Marcus Smart and Doug McDermott, should be getting more attention.

“These kids [the freshmen] are all great, don’t get me wrong,” he said. “But there are other great kids. Two kids who played in the summer for me in a five-day mini camp in Vegas with 28 other NBA players were McDermott and Smart. Well, they’re two of the best players in the country. They may be the two best.”

Coach K has a point. What the one-and-done rule has done is force college basketball’s biggest stars, the guys that NBA fans can watch and “scout” and imagine leading their team to the NBA finals, into one-year stopovers at the collegiate level. But it has also made college basketball that much more relevant. Star power attracts viewers. People want to witness greatness, and while I would love to see those four freshmen spend three or four years playing at the collegiate level, it ain’t gonna happen.

The one-and-done rule is here to stay, and frankly, it’s a good thing for college basketball. Getting these talents onto a college campus, even for a year, is a good thing for the sport. It’s a good thing for coaches landing recruits like Jabari Parker, Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow. It’s a good thing for fans that enjoy watching awesome basketball players and it’s a good thing for writers that love writing about awesome basketball players.

You don’t like freshmen being stars? You want them on campus longer? Give them a way to tap into their value. I bet if Jabari Parker could make a comparable amount in college to what he can make in the NBA, he’d be much more likely to hang around for more than one season.

  1. annapterp - Nov 27, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    K is a great coach but I get tired of his relentless whining/preaching on everything. Just coach and shut up already. He’s approaching “get off my lawn you damn kids” status!

    • dook80 - Nov 27, 2013 at 3:38 PM

      You sound like your description of Coach K.

  2. provguard - Nov 28, 2013 at 2:52 AM

    Money? Is it important that a freshman STUDENT/athlete drive a Porsche around campus??? Take a poll and find out how these guys are doing 5 years after being out of the NBA? Just another 7 footer in the gutter????

  3. tg1896 - Nov 28, 2013 at 7:37 AM

    I couldn’t care less about watching a phenom play college ball for one year. If they’re good enough for the NBA, let them go out of HS.

    The dirty little secret is that for every Jabari Parker there are ten “kids” wandering around the NBA developmental league trying to get a job. MLB has it right. Draft them out of HS. Otherwise, leave them alone until they complete their junior year of college or turn 21.

  4. 6stn - Nov 28, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Do away with basketball scholarships altogether. Have tryouts every year, picking players from the legitimate student body. The money that schools make from television contracts doesn’t seem to reduce tuition costs for people actually trying to graduate from universities. Gut the whole system. If some kid with basketball talent and no interest in higher education wants to go to “the next level,” let his “handlers,” or AAU coach negotiate a place for him in semi-pro ball, or Europe, or the NBA.

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