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Count John Calipari with those who cant stand the NBA eligibility rule

Apr 12, 2010, 3:18 PM EDT

John Calipari said he had a “ball” coaching all those freshman this season. Which is good, because it’s exactly what he’s going to do next season, too.

The coach of Kentucky has lost four freshmen as one-and-dones to the NBA draft, and he told ESPN’s Mike and Mike he does not like that one bit.

Let me tell you this, I don’t agree with the rule now. I think that one, kids should be able to go directly to the league if that’s what they choose to do and if they go to college, they should stay two years or maybe three. The way it is right now, it’s really hard. You think about my team next year. I’m going to coach all freshman again next year. The team I have that will be next year. I will have four returning players, two have experience, two have not much experience. That’s the way it is. It’s hard.”

I think college baseball has it right. Players can get drafted by teams straight out of high school by a major league team (and, in a very different system then basketball, they are off to minor league teams to develop). But if you go to college, you have to go for three years.

There is no reason for the LeBron James/Kobe Bryant/Kevin Garnett/Dwight Howard type players to go to college for a year. If you’re good enough, you should be able to ball with the best. But the one-and-done is bad for college (it mocks the idea of education being the priority), so why not write the rules so a high school player does not lose eligibility for college until an NBA team drafts them. If they do, they go to the NBA. If not, they have to do three years in college then can turn pro, giving these players a little more time to develop and the programs to grow with them.

David Stern is talking about making the rule two years out of high school, as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. That is just owners wanting to protect themselves against mistakes by their general managers. Teams reached for guys out of high school and got stuck with players who were not ready. That is on the teams. Good players should not be punished because of faulty scouting.

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