The Statistics of a One and Done Player

by

one and done college basketballThroughout the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, many commentators will reference the “one and done” nature of some of the country’s top basketball programs.  Coaches, like Kentucky’s John Calipari will face the scrutiny of Americans for their players’ decisions to leave college after only one year to pursue a dream of playing in the NBA.  While the “one and done” nature of some Division I programs is a hot-button topic for critics of the NCAA, how big of a role does it actually play in the grand scheme of college basketball?

In 2006, the NBA adopted a new rule requiring entrants to its draft to be at least 19 years old during the draft’s calendar year and one NBA season to have elapsed since the player graduated from high school.  For some time prior to the adoption of this rule, players could enter the NBA draft immediately out of high school.  After the adoption of this rule, however, the college programs saw a handful of young men join their teams for one season and leave them immediately afterward to enter the NBA draft.

Some NCAA critics have cried foul of this “one and done” practice.  These critics assert that recruiting young men who coaches know will most likely only play one season takes away from the integrity of the NCAA’s student-athlete model.  These individuals would prefer to see players finish their degrees before entering the NBA draft.

Believe it or not, though, those critics’ wishes are actually unlawful.  Spencer Haywood played basketball collegiately at the University of Detroit.  After his sophomore season, he decided to turn pro.  He signed with the Denver Rockets of the ABA.  The next season, he signed a contract with the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics.  The issue, though, was at the time the NBA had a rule requiring that its players be four years out of high school before being drafted into the league.  For most, this meant that they were drafted after completing college.  Haywood challenged this rule in court and his challenge went all the way to the United States Supreme Court.  In Haywood v. NBA, the Supreme Court granted Haywood an injunction allowing him to continue playing for the SuperSonics and preventing the NBA from sanctioning the team.  After Haywood’s case, a significant number of players joined the NBA before completing college.

With as loud of an outcry as there is against “one and done” players, the question should be, how big of a role do they actually play in college basketball?  When looking at the numbers, it turns out that it’s a relatively minor one.

Since 2006, only 51 players have left college after their first year to be drafted in the first two rounds of the NBA draft.  The chart below lists those players and their college teams:

PLAYER

COLLEGE

DRAFT YEAR

Anthony Davis Kentucky

2012

M. Kidd-Gilchrist Kentcky

2012

Bradley Beal Florida

2012

Andre Drummond Uconn

2012

Austin Rivers Duke

2012

Maurice Harkless St. John’s

2012

Tony Wroten Washington

2012

Marquis Teague Kentucky

2012

Quincy Miller Baylor

2012

Kyrie Irving Duke

2011

Enes Kanter Freshman

2011

Tristan Thompson Texas

2011

Brandon Knight Kentucky

2011

Tobias Harris Tennessee

2011

Cory Joseph Texas

2011

Josh Selby Kansas

2011

John Wall Kentucky

2010

Derrick Favors GA Tech

2010

DeMarcus Cousins Kentucky

2010

Xavier Henry Kansas

2010

Eric Bledsoe Kentucky

2010

Avery Bradley Texas

2010

Daniel Orton Kentucky

2010

Hassan Whiteside Marshall

2010

Lance Stephenson Cincinnati

2010

Tyreke Evans Memphis

2009

DeMar DeRozan USC

2009

Jrue Holiday UCLA

2009

Byron Mullens Ohio State

2009

Derrick Rose Memphis

2008

Michael Beasley K. State

2008

O.J. Mayo USC

2008

Kevin Love UCLA

2008

Eric Gordon Indiana

2008

Jerryd Bayless Arizona

2008

Anthony Randolph LSU

2008

J.J. Hickson NC State

2008

Kosta Koufos Ohio State

2008

Donte Greene Syracuse

2008

DeAndre Jordan Texas A&M

2008

Bill Walker K. State

2008

Greg Oden Ohio State

2007

Kevin Durant Texas

2007

Mike Conley Jr Ohio State

2007

Brandan Wright UNC

2007

Spencer Hawes Washington

2007

Thaddeus Young GA Tech

2007

Javaris Crittenton GA Tech

2007

Daequan Cook Ohio State

2007

Tyrus Thomas LSU

2006

Shawne Williams Memphis

2006

There are several things to take away from this list.  The first is that many of these players have gone on to have successful and lucrative careers.  Many have participated in NBA All-Star Games and a fair number have played on Olympic teams.  At the same time, though, several fizzled out after entering the NBA.  At least eight were subsequently assigned to NBA Development League teams after being drafted.  Perhaps the most notorious cases of this were Josh Selby and Daniel Orton, two players who were both highly touted in their collegiate playing days and have found it tough to break out of the NBA D-League.  Critics of the “one and done” rule would point to these instances as examples that these young men left college before being properly conditioned to play in the NBA.  However, as the number of “one and done” players who have even been assigned to the NBA D-League is less than 20 percent, this may not be the fairest argument.

The next, and perhaps more interesting point, is that the presence of “one and done” players on a college team doesn’t necessarily guarantee the winning of a championship.  Coaches like Calipari, who has coached a number of “one and done” players at both Kentucky and Memphis, are often scrutinized for bringing these players onto their teams for the perceived disadvantage it creates.  Arguably, a player who is ready to be drafted and compete at the NBA level within months after the NCAA season is complete creates an unfair advantage on the court.  However, teams featuring “one and done” players have not largely experienced advantages when it comes to winning national championships.

Since 2006, six NCAA teams have won the national championship, with Florida claiming its stake of the title twice.  However, only one of those teams has had “one and done” players on its championship roster that were drafted in the first two rounds of the NBA draft.

Year Champion One and Done’s

2012

Kentucky

3

2011

Connecticut

0

2010

Duke

0

2009

North Carolina

0

2008

Kansas

0

2007

Florida

0

2006

Florida

0

Given that it does not appear that there is a strong correlation between the number of one and done’s a team has that is drafted in the first two rounds of the NBA draft and its ability to win an NCAA championship, what then does the number of one and done’s correlate to?  If anything, it is a testament to two things.  First, the number of one and done’s a team recruits that are successfully drafted demonstrates a coach’s ability to recruit prized talent.  However, and perhaps more importantly, the number represents a program’s ability to develop players for the NBA level.  It could be argued that since 2006, the list below represents the teams with the greatest development programs in the country.

School # of 1 & Done’s Drafted in First 2 Rounds
Kentucky

9

Ohio State

5

Texas

4

Georgia Tech

3

Memphis

3

Duke

2

Kansas

2

Kansas State

2

LSU

2

UCLA

2

USC

2

Washington

2

Arizona

1

Baylor

1

Cincinnati

1

Connecticut

1

Florida

1

Indiana

1

Marshall

1

NC State

1

St. John’s

1

Syracuse

1

Tennessee

1

Texas A&M

1

UNC

1

It is to be seen how many “one and done” players are playing in this year’s NCAA tournament.  However, one thing is certain, fans and NCAA critics alike will continue believing that “one and done’s” play a greater role in college basketball than statistics show they do.

American River College Sports Recruiting.

Texas Tech quarterback Davis Webb explores options.


Are you ready for the NEXT STEP!