the one and done dilemma

18 Apr

last night, 5 student-athletes from the university of kentucky’s championship men’s basketball team declared for the 2012 nba draft. freshmen anthony davis, michael kidd-gilchrist and marquis teague, and sophomores terrence jones and doron lamb sat at the head table complete with their coach, john calipari and explained their intentions over a televised news conference. with their departures, kentucky loses 93.3% of their offense from this season.

let me just say, i don’t think anyone was too surprised by the announcement. the media present at the conference and espn3’s coverage could not have been better suited for a more deserving group of guys. they played a complete team game en route to the 2012 national championship victory over kansas.

but its not about the media or the hype its about the whole “one and done” situation. these 5 guys are projected to go in the top 30 picks of the nba draft (davis at #1 and kidd-gilchrist at #2) and have chosen to leave college after 1 year and pursue the nba.  the critics will talk about this for years. 5 students who are basically throwing away their opportunity at a college education to play basketball. but seriously, who wouldn’t jump at this amazing opportunity? this is the world we live in and i can’t really blame any of them for taking this opportunity.

as a fan of the game of basketball but also as a person who works in the world of academic support for college athletics, i have been struggling with my feelings and opinions on this very matter. i’m completely torn. this is a decision and a choice that is also present in many other intercollegiate sports that have a professional league. i’m a big believer in the “stay in school” mantra and therefore a big fan of the ncaa commercials that declare the importance of school and being a student-athlete (“just about all of us will go pro in something other than sports”). i don’t think anyone will ever deny the importance of a college degree.

however, i can’t help but be happy for the 5 guys from kentucky who have just declared for the draft. its not like they declared they would be going to the draft when they started school and its not like they spent the entire basketball season playing by themselves. yes, there are the people who argue that calipari is a “one and done” coach and that he just prepares his players for the nba. its not like this is the first time that any of his players have chosen to leave school after one year. but, this isn’t about calipari. its about these 5 guys. its about the way they have played as a team this whole year and brought a national championship to their school. its about their personal situations. and, its about their futures. ultimately, this is each one’s own choice.

if the nba did not allow people to enter the draft then this wouldn’t be a problem. but they do. so it is.

i can guarantee that this wasn’t such an easy decision for any of these guys to make. they have themselves, their families, and their futures to think about.

ok…so put yourself in one of their shoes. pretend you are michael kidd-gilchrist and you have this opportunity to probably be picked #2 in the nba draft and make all your dreams come true. what would you do?

see, its really not so easy.


3 Responses to “the one and done dilemma”

  1. Aron Jacobowitz April 18, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    well thought out process. you also have to fault the schools a little though, dont you? Because those 5 guys were probably all in school on athletics scholarships – and its almost a certainty they were going to pull the “one and done”. Brings up a topic worth discussing in ‘why waste an academic scholarship on someone who isnt attending the school for the purpose of gaining an education?’
    Like your piece on it though =]

    • wearingheelsandlovingsports April 18, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

      interesting thought. i don’t think a school would ever be able to pull that off because they’d have to have a guarantee from the student-athlete that they would stay and there’s no way to do that. but its a shame to think that a school would spend money on a year of college for a guy just so they could win a championship.

  2. Val Prichard May 17, 2012 at 10:18 am #

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