(Johnny is a die-hard UNC fan, but he's not liking the new landscape that some schools have manicured in today's NCAA and he explains his reasoning in this article).
North Carolina basketball has been known to win championships because of good recruiting and players willing to stay in school and willing to be developed in college. So when a prestigious school like the Tar Heels have a reputation to protect as a great basketball school, what happens when other schools seem more desirable for top recruits to attend?
Kids coming out of high school are looking at how to get into the pro game as quickly as possible and one coach is bringing in these kids with the idea of "One and Done," (For those that don't know, it's the idea of a basketball player attending the required one year of college before bolting to start his/her professional career--Ed) is ok at Kentucky. Schools like North Carolina who mark their reputation on developing kids may soon be scratched off their list.
"If you're a player that wants to win and that's looking to get on to the next level, Kentucky is the place." explained Derrick Rose, "Getting guys to the next level; [Calipari's] resume speaks for itself." Rose is just one of many players who was coached by John Calipari and later went on to become the number 1 pick overall in the 2008 draft.
Other players that Calipari has coached only to see them leave after one year of college ball are:
- Derrick Rose,# 1 pick overall & rookie of the year in 2009. ( 1 year at Memphis under Calipari)
- Tyreke Evans. 5th pick overall & rookie of the year in 2010. (1 year at Memphis under Calipari)
- John Wall, # 1 pick overall & rookie of the year in 2011. (1 year at Kentucky)
- DeMarcus Cousins, 5th overall pick in 2010. ( 1 year at Kentucky)
- Enes Kanter, 3rd overall pick in 2011. ( 1 year at Kentucky)
- Brandon Knight, 8th overall pick in 2011. ( 1 year at Kentucky)
- Anthony Davis # 1 overall pick in 2012) ( 1 year at Kentucky)
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 2nd pick overall in 2012. ( 1 year at Kentucky)
With a reputation of getting college players drafted in the top 10 of the NBA Draft, how can a school like North Carolina compete? I mean their record this year speaks for itself. The Tar Heels started the season ranked 11th in the nation, but with 3 losses in 7 games, (two to non-ranked opponents) the Heels dropped out of the top-25 and are currently sitting at 13-5. With a win last night over Georgia Tech, the Heels are 3-2 in there Atlantic Coast Conference.
There is a reason for the recent down-fall for the way North Carolina is playing. They lost four good key players to the draft last year, all of them being 1st round picks:
- Kendall Marshall (Soph)
- Harrison Barnes (Soph)
- Ty Zeller (Sr)
- John Henson (Jr.)
The last time North Carolina Won the NCAA Championship was back in the 2009-10 season when they had a team that played with each other for 3-4 years. Players such as:
- Ty Lawson (Jr.)
- Tyler Hansbrough ( Sr.)
- Wayne Ellington (Jr.)
- Danny Green (Sr.)
All of them are still playing in the NBA today, but schools like North Carolina need students to stay more than one year to help build a high-caliber team. A school like Kentucky is thriving off of "One and Done" and even won the NCAA Championship as recently as last year using this paradigm. They're getting the best recruits for that same reason. Freshman center Nerlens Noel from Kentucky is already projected to go # 4 overall in the upcoming NBA Draft and his draft stock can go up or down depending on how he plays this season. Schools that need kids to develop, need to jump on board if they want to continue having some dominance in the NCAA, or they won't last long as a top-ranked, basketball school.
Personally, as much as "One and Done" sounds good for a program and player, I still prefer to be a fan of a program that wants to recruit players that want to be developed and leave a legacy behind in college. I want my program to win as much as possible and get better in the process. Recruits need to learn that they are able to do that at a good school and with a good coach. I also want to see players who want to graduate with their classmates. People sometimes leave and come back to finish school, but I don't understand why these players wouldn't want to get it out the way early on in their life! What happens if a particular player does get drafted, but ends up riding the pine in the NBA because his game is not fully developed? Or if said player does want to go back and finish his degree, but for whatever reason, the opportunity is no longer there for him to go back to school? If I were a player, my thought process would be, "the NBA will always be there and I will declare myself draft eligible when I'm good and ready!"
North Carolina is my favorite team and it hurts to see them not be considered as a top-25 ranked team so far this season. I'm hoping things will change-- for the long-run. I like schools that develop players, but these schools need to get the message out: " One and Done" is not always the best way!
Patience plays a big part in everything that we do as people. I appreciate schools who try to improve young ball players' lives and to become better men and not just solely develop their basketball skills and talents. Sometimes, choosing the long path is the better decision as opposed to the short one.
(As of today's publishing of this article, UNC holds a 13-5 overall record, 3-2 in the ACC and their next game is at #18th ranked NC State. UNC is the #13th best scoring team in the nation and #1 in rebounding. Plenty of basketball left for UNC to right the ship...
...Kentucky, on the other hand, holds a 12-6 overall record, 3-2 in the SEC with their next game coming up against unranked LSU. Kentucky is ranked #35 and #31 in points per game and rebounding in the country. Perhaps "One and Done" is finally catching up to Calipari--Ed)
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