The NBA draft begins this Thursday, but the debate surrounding the eligibility rules for players has been a year-round thing for some time.
South Carolina coach Frank Martin doesn’t mind weighing in on this topic in a rather emphatic way. In a story published on Monday by CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander, Martin made it clear that he sees this discussion in black and white.
Martin has grown frustrated with the narrative that college basketball is using kids for financial gain. He believes a finger should be wagged at the NBA for not allowing them to go to work.
However, Martin also puts responsibility in the hands of the kids. He offers that it’s the choice of the kids whether they to go to college, and they should honor that commitment.
“I’m tired of people saying that, in college basketball, we take advantage of our players to make money,” Martin told CBS Sports. “They need to allow kids, if they want to declare as eighth graders, they should declare. It is what it is. But if they come to college, their choice, not ours, then they need to stay in college.
“The rule works in every other sport. I don’t know why it’s such a problem in basketball. I’m against the age limit. I’m against one-and-done. I’m against two-and-done. … That way, whoever wants to be in college, come on. Whoever wants to be a pro with this great D-League and all these two-way contracts, go. Go. Go. They can go and play in front of 150 people.”
At the moment, the minimum early-entry age for the NBA draft remains 19 with the player also being at least one year removed from his high school graduating class. That’s produced what has become known as one-and-dones.
On June 1, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the current rule “isn’t working for anyone.”
Martin is frustrated with college basketball’s image being negatively affected by one-and-dones.
“Why is that college basketball’s responsibility?” Martin said. “They make a choice. You know what my advice would be? You better listen to people that are more in-tune with reality and what the truth is, and if not, it’s the United States of America. People open businesses, save their whole lives to open up a business, and a year later they’re bankrupt. They make decisions, they take chances. … Kids want to listen to people that don’t tell them the truth, they shouldn’t have a safety net.”
Martin also took offense to comments made by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who’s been critical of college basketball’s role in preparing kids for the next level. When it comes to that, Martin wants a distinction between college basketball and the NBA Development League (D-League).
“Mark Cuban’s all gung-ho that we don’t know what we’re doing in college, they know better how to prepare kids,” Martin said. “He’s out there saying that, more power to him. Spend money, create the D-League, hire coaches, heck he can hire me. College basketball and the NBA, they’re two different sports. We’re not their minor leagues.”
Martin also shared his thoughts on agents in the story, which can be read in its entirety here.