Following Duke’s 68-63 win over Wisconsin in Monday night’s NCAA men’s basketball championship final, U.S Senator Claire McCaskill took to Twitter to share her views on college basketball’s “One and done” rule with a Tweet that looked like a backhanded compliment to the Blue Devils. Late last night, she was getting blasted from fans across social media websites.
Duke started three freshman, a sophomore and a senior, while Wisconsin boasts a veteran lineup that consists of a senior, redshirt senior, a junior and two sophomores. After seeing that her comments started a firestorm, McCaskill tried to clarify her statements, directing them towards the NCAA and NBA.
High school basketball players must wait at least a year before joining the NBA and top pro prospects usually spend just a year in college before entering the NBA draft. As McCaskill tweeted, she understands it’s a problem with the system the NCAA/NBA created, but her first tweet certainly sounded like it was about the kids.
Taking a closer look at the rosters, Wisconsin is not that far off when it comes to having players leave early.
DraftExpress.com has Duke’s Jahlil Okafor going as the second overall pick and teammates Tyus Jones and Justice Winslow going in the first round as well. All are freshman. Wisconsin will graduate senior Frank Kaminsky, who will be drafted, but the Badgers also feature junior Sam Dekker and sophomore Nigel Hayes, and both could opt to leave college early for the NBA.
There’s a reason why Dekker hasn’t left sooner…he may not be good enough for the NBA. Even if he does declare for the draft this season, there are no guarantees.
The debate that rages on is why should players like Okafor, Jones and Winslow be forced to continue playing in college when thousands, and millions of dollars are at stake? (See the money breakdown below). Some argue that basketball athletes with top potential become a victim of the NBA protecting their product and college programs exploiting student-athletes for free.
According to Forbes, Okafor’s value for the second pick under the CBA is $4.25 million. His Duke teammates, Jones and Winslow, (according to draft projections) stand to make a guarantee of $3.12 million and $960,000, respectively, based on pre-draft predictions.
Bill Scott from Wisconsin Radio Network hosted me for a Google Hangout to talk about the “One and done” rule.