There are a lot of people who say the one and done rule has ruined college basketball and in some ways the NBA. I’m not sure I buy it, hell I’m not even sure where I stand on the issue as a whole but what I do know is it is killing how we as fans set our expectations of players. I’m not sure if it’s sports media, I’m not sure if it’s AAU basketball or the ranking systems we subscribe to.
It seems now that every player is looking for the shortest possible pathway to the league and there really isn’t anything wrong with that in and of itself. Kids are realizing that you only have a finite amount of earning years as a pro athlete and the earlier you get there, the quicker the clock starts. Especially taking into account injury, a limited number of roster spots and so forth it does make sense to get there as young as possible if you are skilled enough to do so. I can understand from a business perspective getting the train rolling. My issue is that a player who may be highly ranked but not performing to the standard we think he should be in his first year being automatically labeled a failure – all because he didn’t or couldn’t be a viable one and done player. We as fans help perpetuate that myth. Instead of allowing a player to grow and learn at their own pace, we talk about the fact that he’s still in school, like it’s a bad thing.
Never has taking extra time to learn your craft and make yourself better been so shunned, shamed and looked down upon. The NBA is also to blame, valuing upside over production. Why did a guy like Quinn Cook – who scored 16 points a game and dished out nearly 4 assists per game as a senior, basically playing as a second point guard – go undrafted? If he has these numbers as a freshman he’s a one and done, but because he took 4 years to learn the game, he was considered undraftable. It’s beyond my comprehension. Quinn finally made an NBA roster through hard work and some tough times in the D-League, but has had to continually prove himself each step of the way. I refuse to believe there were 11 guards better than Quinn Cook in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft, and I don’t believe there were 10 others better than him in the second round. Looking at the numbers, the only first round point guard with better numbers than Cook so far is Emmanuel Mudiay who averages 12ppg and about 5 assists – obviously Cook has a smaller NBA sample size but the other point guards in the first round are averaging about the same as Quinn Cook, and I would argue his experience and knowledge of the game has been completely devalued. Quinn is just a singular example of a player proving that it isn’t all about the one and done.
We need to all stop feeding into that narrative and looking at players through the narrow view of one and done. I think a pretty good coach once said that “everyone runs their own race.” Why are we hell bent on judging players harshly just because they aren’t finishing first?