Conversations about the one-and-done rule in college basketball continue to gain traction and it seems everybody wants to talk to John Calipari about it.
On Monday morning’s SEC teleconference, Calipari was asked about it again and offered up his thoughts, especially his opposition to allowing players to jump from high school but be placed in the D-League, or now known as the G-League.
“Whatever we do, I’ll be on record, if we’re trying to get kids to go to the D-League. If it’s a baseball rule and they’re going to get $20 million contracts right out of high school and the NBA thinks they can deal with that, I’m good. I’m fine,” Calipari said.
“If they’re trying to get kids in high school to go to the D-League, I will be shouting from mountaintops saying what is this going to do to a generation of kids who say, ‘Alright, I’m going to do this.’ You get one or two years to make it and now you’re out without any opportunities. Who’s taking care of those kids now?”
Most seem to think that if the rule changes, and that’s a big if, the NBA will raise the minimum age to 20, therefore making a two-and-done rule. The other is a model resembling the MLB, where players can jump from high school to the professional leagues, but if they choose college, they must stay in college for a minimum 3 years.
“I made a statement,” Calipari said. “Someone said to me about the baseball rule, and I’m fine with the baseball rule. It wouldn’t bother me. But whatever we do, I think we’ve gotta really, really consider the kids. The sport of basketball, the NBA is going to be fine. It’s, ‘OK, what kind of effect is what we’re doing (going to) have on the kids?’”
Calipari said the good thing about the one-and-done rule is that it has forced high school student-athletes entering college to focus on their academics more, as well as making sure they keep their grades up while in college.
“I’ll give you an example, I wasn’t – the people on this probably know when I say this – I wasn’t a big – back in the day when they started raising these standards, I was like, ‘Boy, I don’t know if this is good because I think we’re going to lock out a whole group of kids.’ So, what the NCAA did was challenge kids to do well.
“If you really want to do this and go to college and have a gap year and prepare, or maybe stay at school two or three of four years, you gotta get up to these standards. Well, I thought it would shut people out. Very rarely do I speak highly of the NCAA, but in this case what it did was it challenged a generation of kids to do better academically, to be on point, to get themselves where they need to go.
“The NCAA this year reported we had the highest graduation rate this year in men’s basketball for African Americans, ever. Ever.”
You can read Calipari’s full comments from the teleconference here, where he talks about exhibition games, a little about next year’s team, and more.