DESTIN, Fla. — Could the one-and-done era in college basketball finally be nearing an end? If so, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey thinks he and his conference would be happy.
For a decade, an NBA rule stated players must be 19 years old and one year out of high school in order to be eligible for the draft. That has led to star players spending one year in college, with John Calipari and Kentucky using the system to aplomb.
But after years of saying the rule was working, NBA commissioner Adam Silver made waves this week by saying that a change should be considered.
“My sense is it’s not working for anyone,” Silver said Thursday before Game 1 of the NBA Finals. “It’s not working for the college coaches and athletic directors I hear from. They’re not happy with the current system. And I know our teams aren’t happy either, in part because they don’t necessarily think the players who are coming into the league are getting the kind of training that they would expect to see.”
Silver didn’t propose a solution, whether it be allowing high school players in the draft, or extending the rule to having players spend two or more years in college.
Sankey, speaking at the end of SEC meetings in Destin, said he hadn’t seen Silver’s statement but based on what he was told he liked it.
“I think we would welcome longer stays,” Sankey said. “In fact, I know we’d welcome longer stays. If there’s a change to the one-and-done rule, that has to be made between the NBA and the NBA players association, and we understand and respect that.”
Sankey hearkened back to his college days in upstate New York, when he would watch star upperclassmen competing in the Big East.
“You’d see Patrick Ewing and Rony Seikaly in that setting. And we had it here [in the SEC] for two to three to four years. That created some pretty special moments,” Sankey said. “We’re going to deal with the system we have. It’s almost like football recruiting: You have a system, you learn it and you make decisions on how you operate and proceed. So, we’ll do that for now and see what might develop at the NBA level.”
The 2017 NBA Draft is June 22. In its latest mock draft, SEC Country projects two Kentucky players among the top 5 picks. Both Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox spent one season with the Wildcats. Nine of the top 10 players in the mock draft were college freshman last season; the other played in France.