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Bilas: Doing away with one-and-done won’t fix college basketball’s problems

Jay Bilas (Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)


ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas expects high school players to be able to go directly to the NBA if they are good enough sometime in the next few years.

Bilas just hopes everyone remembers why the one-and-done rule came into existence.

“The one-and-done rule came in for a reason, and the reason was the NBA was tired of having high school players and they were tired of having their scouts and NBA personnel sitting in high school gyms. And college coaches were thrilled with the one-and-done rule when it first came in because they were having to recruit players that ultimately, whether they projected them or not, went pro out of high school,” Bilas said. “So they still had to recruit guys in a belt-and-suspenders approach.

“Then you had coaches that were recruiting guys they knew were going to go pro just so they could have them in their recruiting class and raise their recruiting profile and raise their recruiting rankings so as to help sell their program.

“So it was a mess. And I wouldn’t argue with anybody that says there are messy parts to it now. But my stance has always been for any college team, if you don’t want a one-and-done player, it’s pretty easy; you don’t have to recruit them. Nobody is making you do it.”

Bilas said doing away with the one-and-done won’t fix problems that college basketball might have.

“We blamed all our problems in college basketball on the one-and-done rule, and the one-and-done rule is not responsible for all our problems,” Bilas said. “We had those problems before one-and-done, and we’re going to have them after, and we’ll conveniently blame something else when we have the same problems after the one-and-done rule is gone.”


  1. Isn’t that what all forms of governing bodies do when they are trying to hold on to their gravy train; blame someone or something else, mask as many problems as you can, close your eyes and ears, hold out your hand.

  2. Not a Bilas fan. He has his opinion like everybody else. I say get rid of the OAD rule, things will change dramatically, and for the better as it pertains to college basketball. Programs like UK won’t be starting with a brand new freshmen team of NBA hopefuls every year. Next, get the NCAA to start enforcing the rules fair and square. Yeah Jay, we have problems in college basketball today that have nothing to do with the OAD rule., lots of them bubbled up over at Chapel Hill for more than a decade ago for starters. They skate as if nothing happened while everybody else gets the death penalty, or close to it, for lesser violations, all just to protect Dean Smith’s legacy.

  3. The one and done rule has actually been good for college basketball. Unless people prefer a game where star players like AD, DMC, Towns, Wall, Booker, Bledsoe, Fox, Monk, etc. etc. etc. never play college ball that is. Personally I have enjoyed seeing them play (and win another title for UK) in college. The game is about to get a lot more boring. The only problem I see with one and done is that people get upset when their favorite players go pro and don’t stay in college. I doubt many of us would like being forced to give up a paying job to play so that someone else gets paid. I think playing a year is good for the schools who get to make some money from them (education needs all the help it can get) and I enjoy watching them. I think it’s good for the country to be honest. But to require anyone to act against their own interests is unAmerican. Coaches that pressure players to stay in college make me sick (Roy are you listening?). Fans are fans and they don’t really affect what happens that much.

    At any rate this has always been an NBA rule, not a college rule. But all the bellyaching by the people hired to “fix” corruption in the sport who said one and done was a big problem is just laughable. It was a “I’ll say the popular thing and get popular” thing all the way. Fans hate the rule for the most part. They want kids staying 4 years. I do too. But I am not in favor of forcing that to happen. It’s just wrong.

    We have a pretty good example of what UK’s teams will look like without the stars we have seen the last decade. When Smith coached UK did not have one and done players. We saw some players that were good but NOTHING like we have seen with Cal. Those good players won’t be around without the one and done rule. Every high school kid who thinks he is the next Lebron James will want to skip college completely even if they have been lied to by hanger on types and family. Egos can run high and players who are ranked high but really aren’t that good will miss out on a lot by hiring an agent and skipping college. Let’s talk about the Harrison twins. Both ranked in the top 5 as recruits. Both struggled to make it in the NBA. Without their experience in college it would have been even harder for them. Players will get stuck in the G league making a whopping $35.000 a year trying to learn the game with nobody watching. They won’t develop a name they can market. They won’t be able to get a free education when they realize they aren’t the next LBJ. It won’t be good for anyone the best I can tell.

    Bilas is 100% right. I’ve been amazed no one has said these things before. Everyone has been on the bandwagon against something that has made college ball better. It has served the players better. It has served the fans better. Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.

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