John Calipari may be the man who benefits from one-and-done college basketball players most, but that’s not the reason he’s against players going straight from high school to the NBA D-League.
At least that’s what he says in an article penned for CoachCal.com titled “The importance of education in the one-and-done era.”
Inside, Calipari dismisses the notion that the NBA should allow players to go straight from high school to the developmental league, at least without being drafted first.
In the past, I have spoken out against the possibility of the NBA allowing high school players to be able to go directly to the D-League. My reasons are simple and they have nothing to do with the University of Kentucky. If you want a high school player to become professional, whether it be after their junior or senior year in high school, let them. Draft them into the NBA, which used to be the case.
Calipari explains that allowing players to make the choice of college or developmental league (without being drafted) is bound to negatively impact that child’s educational process. He believes it will create a “social dilemma” for the players as early as the 9th or 10 grade– impacting as many as 9,000 basketball hopefuls at the tender age of 14 or 15 who may choose to focus on basketball and leave their high school education in the background.
And in reality, very few of those players will actually be candidates for the NBA D-League when the time comes. While the current system may not be ideal, it does promote finishing high school with grades and test scores that will qualify for college.
Does Calipari stand to benefit from these kids being forced into college for a season before going pro? Absolutely.
Does he still have valid points about the importance of these young basketball prospects staying focused on their basic educational foundation? Absolutely.
Calipari is very close to this situation, and his take on the debate is certainly worth a read in full.