Now that conference basketball tournaments are in full swing, and teams from the ACC to the SEC are playing to get off the bubble and into the field of 68 to keep the fun of NCAA March madness alive for their fans, we thought this rant from Bill Vickery, one of our friends at 103.7 the Buzz, was spot on.
It’s hard not agree with Vickery, the “One-and-Done” rule has diminished the game of college basketball. It’s obvious to those of use who’ve followed the sport since 1985 when the field grew to 64-teams. Villanova wore a true Cinderella slipper as an 8-seed. An underdog team from a “big kid” conference. Rollie Massimino willed Villanova to put it all together for a magical win over the mighty Georgetown Hoyas. It was the NCAA equivalent of Bird’s Celtics versus Magic’s Lakers.
Twenty years later the NBA placed an age limit of 19 on would-be stars, college basketball was changed.
In today’s game you can count on set offenses with no real purpose, dudes playing like it’s a game of pickup and enough bricks to rebuild the Vatican, twice. And of course, within all of this, the death of the 17-foot jump shot.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski has a poor opinion of the rule and if he doesn’t exemplify the spirit of college basketball, no one does. Coach K’s Duke teams are the epitome of what a college a basketball team should be, and with only one player projected to go in the NBA Lottery this season, Senior Mason Plumlee, it looks like #2 ranked Blue Devils are still doing it the old fashioned way.
It’s hard to talk about the “One-and-Done” rule without mentioning everyone’s favorite defending NCAA Championship coach and his team… enough said? That approach is clearly what’s wrong with college basketball; mercenaries, from the administration to the coach, down to the player. If it sounds corrupt, it probably is. One might wonder what role the NCAA’s blind eye has in that style of program. Is that the new brand? That certainly doesn’t fit into the ‘Going Pro in Something Other Than Sports’ concept.
With the rising popularity of AAU Basketball and the ability for players to play one sport year-round, more preps than ever are NBA-ready. But with the “One-and-Done” firmly in place, the NBA is telling those players, ‘we’re not ready for you, go to college and let those guys play nurse maid for a while’. David Stern points out the rule isn’t intended to negatively affect the NCAA, saying “those guys can go play in Europe if they like“. Pack your bags fellas and say “merhaba” for me over in Ankara.
Like Vickery, it’s hard not to rant on the subject.
I’m ready for big time college basketball to return with the rise of the COLLEGE basketball player. I’m ready for the concept of team to permeate the ranks, not just prop up the also-rans. I’m ready for Cinderella to be Cinderella, not the odds on favorite because of a watered-down B.J. Young-esq field of teams.
And honestly, when the average fan knows who won the West Coast Conference Basketball Championship, your overall brand has been compromised. Yeah Gonzaga, I’m talking about you.