Gino Spadaro: February 21, 2017

Over the last decade, the NBA has been notorious for its controversial rule that forces kids to go to school or elsewhere for at least one year before being eligible to play in the Association.

The list of NBA players that attended college for only one year goes on and on, and it includes many stars. Guys like Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, Kyrie Irving, John Wall and Kevin Durant all attended universities for only one year and are now all all-stars in the NBA. But did one year of college really improve them that much? Would they still be all-stars if they came straight out of high school? Others possibly, others maybe not. Kyrie Irving played in only 11 games at Duke. So you mean to tell me that 11 games made him that much better? That’s hard to believe.

Obviously some kids need to go to college to get more experience, mature and even to get a degree, but they shouldn’t be forced to do so if they are already NBA ready. Past players, future Hall of Famers, like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady and Kevin Garnett all came straight from high school and have been unbelievable. Even other notable good players like J.R. Smith, Tyson Chandler, Dwight Howard and Shaun Livingston came directly out of high school and have had very successful NBA careers.

You may have heard of him, but Zion Williamson is a 16-year-old stud dominating high school games and dunking all over kids as a Junior. In fact, right now at his age, he would have a legitimate shot at winning the NBA dunk contest. So at 18, it’s a very high probability that he would be NBA ready. So why waste time in school or elsewhere for one year? If he wants to get a degree, then go right ahead. I’m all for that. But if a kid has no intention of going to college to get a degree, then he should not have to go. Not only is it a waste of time for the kid and his family, but it’s a waste of the schools money as well. Why give a kid a full-ride scholarship if he’s only going to stay one year, when you can give another kid the same thing who is going to stay all four years? The schools would get their moneys worth if things were that way.

Imagine this: A high school standout is in a tough situation at home. Maybe money isn’t coming in or something of that nature, and his family is struggling. If he was able to, he could go to the NBA, be a first round draft pick, make millions of dollars and help get his family through their hard times. But since he has to go elsewhere for one year before entering the NBA, what if he suffers a big injury, or maybe even a career ending injury? Then what? The opportunity to make a lot of money just decreased a ton, if not vanished completely and the kid can’t help his family anymore. This is obviously a worst-case scenario, but it’s very possible because of this rule.

Basketball isn’t like football, where kids actually need college to physically mature in the weight room and grow mentally in terms of grasping more complicated schemes. In basketball, you don’t need to be a weight room guy. Some high school kids, like Zion Williamson at only 16, have the physical traits necessary to compete with NBA players.

The NBA needs to take this rule and throw it in the trash. If kids want to go to the NBA out of high school, even if their future in the league is uncertain, then that is their choice and they should have that right. Forcing kids to go elsewhere for a year is a joke and a waste of time, and it makes more sense for everybody if the NBA gets rid of the one-and-done rule.