Jay Bilas doesn’t see a problem with the one-and-done rule. While discussing the overall health of college basketball with Bilas and broadcast partner Dan Shulman at the Maui Invitational last week, both men let loose with their feelings on the rule and what changing it would mean for the future of college basketball.
Despite the recent FBI bribery scandal involving college basketball, Bilas isn’t worried about the sport’s health.
“The game is healthy and for good reason: the games are great,” he said. “Ratings for the Champions Classic were up 30 percent. Clearly people don’t care about the (latest scandal) because the games are great. College basketball is as healthy as it’s ever been but I have no faith in (the sport’s) administrators.”
And then Bilas discussed the one-and-done rule’s opponents.
“The administrators who want to change one-and-done better watch out,” he said.
He claimed the rule’s opponents are not considering the long-term consequences of altering it. He and Shulman believed college basketball would move to a situation where athletes would be allowed to head to the NBA out of high school, but if they attended college they would have to stay for two or even three years.
“I think you’ll get 30 to 35 kids jumping (from high school to the NBA) if you make it two or three years,” Shulman said.
“What I’d ask (people who want to change the rule) is this: do you not want Kevin Durant playing college basketball? Because that’s what you’d miss out on,” Bilas said.
“Carmelo Anthony has donated millions to Syracuse. He has a connection to that school and can go back,” he said. “Are you going to turn that money down now?”
As for the argument that academics come into play and basketball players who stay one season aren’t “real” students, Bilas had an answer for that as well.
“So these guys aren’t real students if they’re there for one year but they are if they stay for two? Come on,” he said.
Bilas thinks the backlash on one-and-done players is coming from the many schools who don’t consistently land those players and have to play against them.
“If you think one-and-dones are so bad, don’t recruit them,” he said. “Each institution has the choice to admit any player they want. You don’t want a one-and-done? Don’t recruit them.”
“What they’re really saying is ‘We don’t want them in the game at all,'” Bilas added. “We can’t get them or take them, we don’t want to play against them. They’re not worried about one and done, they’re worried about somebody else getting them. That’s the problem.”
That’s a strong rebuke from one of the brightest basketball minds out there.