John Calipari has had a ton of success at the collegiate level during the “one-and-done” era.
Since his time at Kentucky, Calipari has had 16 freshmen drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft.
But he has repeatedly spoken about how he isn’t a major proponent of the rule and now, with Adam Silver on board, change may be on the horizon.
John Calipari told reporters on Tuesday that he is not concerned with a rule change and expects Kentucky to still be a force on the court and on the recruiting trail regardless.
“This isn’t for me about Kentucky,” Calipari said on a conference call Tuesday. “Whatever happens in this as we go forward, Kentucky eats first. I’m not saying it to be arrogant. You know it. However they play this, it isn’t me talking about ‘well, this is what would be best for Kentucky, for my program...you won’t believe this, but this basketball program will probably be about where it is in 50 years’”
Several ideas have been floating about what changes could come in regard to the draft entry rule. Two theories remain the most popular options. First, a “two-and-done” rule which would move the minimum age to 20, thus forcing players to stay in college for two years as opposed to one.
The other idea would imitate the MLB’s rule, where players can enter the draft out of high school, but if they choose a four-year university, they would be required to stay there for three years before entering the draft.
Calipari said that he would favor such a rule, although it seems highly unlikely the NBA owners would agree. A “two-and-done” rule seems like the more favorable option among team owners.
“Would the baseball rule work? In my mind, yeah,” Calipari said. “Heck yeah. I’d love the baseball rule. I’d love the baseball rule for the kids. They’d have a chance to go right out of high school and get on an NBA roster. If they’re a lottery pick they’ll make $20 million. I love it.”
The unintended consequences could come in the form of student-athletes slacking academically in high school, relying on a successful and prolonged NBA career.
Calipari said that with players going to college, if only for a year, it forces them to reevaluate their priorities when it comes to academics in order to remain eligible. He also noted that even after players leave, they can come back to work toward finishing their degree.
“What we’re doing for these kids now, and going forward, by having to go through college, what’s happened is young kids know ‘I’ve got to do this academic work or I can’t even go to college to play basketball to have a chance for the NBA.’” Calipari said. “Whatever we’re doing for these kids is right. My kids are on lifetime scholarships. I heard somebody say ‘well they don’t go to class the second term.’ It’s not true here. They all go to class. They finish the term academically. Every player on my team that left early, all five guys, have finished the term academically and can come back here whenever they choose.”
Silver has made it clear that the one-and-done rule is something that he would like to see changed, so it will be interesting to see if there is any traction on the idea from the league moving forward. Regardless, Calipari seems confident that no matter the rule, Kentucky will continue to succeed.