At the moment, it sounds like the NBA has a gentleman’s agreement on their latest attempt to have an NBA season. The agreement as it stands would the have the NBA beginning on Christmas day with a 66-game schedule. But the big impact that it could potentially have is if they adopt the two-done rule instead of the current one year rule for college players. This would have an enormous impact on the NCAA basketball landscape.
The one school that may benefit the most from this rule change would be the University of Kentucky led by John Calipari. In just three seasons, Kentucky is perceived as a program that only recruits one-and-done players, though there has only been one mass exodus in the first two years. Only one freshman left after last season in Brandon Knight. However, with another number one recruiting class in the fold this year full of top talent, Kentucky could be looking at another giant loss from this year’s roster. Anthony Davis is expected to be the number one pick in next year’s NBA Draft already, and guys like Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb are certain to follow. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague are other guys who could find themselves on NBA rosters next season. But with the new rule, Kentucky would likely be able to hold onto this season’s freshman, while also being able to reload the voids left by Jones, Lamb, Miller, Stacey Poole, and Eloy Vargas.
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With likely five scholarships available next year, three high school seniors in the fold in Willie Cauley, Archie Goodwin, and Alex Poythress, and Ryan Harrow to be eligible after this season, Kentucky could be loaded with unbelievable depth that college basketball has never seen. With only five players allowed on the court, you know, basketball rules, Kentucky will have a lot of guys learning the game and gaining experience with the opportunity to play college basketball and perfect their game for two seasons instead of one. Instead of basically a new group of players learning Calipari’s system and offense every year, they will have their freshman year to learn, while the sophomores and upper classmen carry the load.
With players staying at Kentucky rather than bolting for the NBA, it will certainly bolster their chances to be Final Four contender every season. The longer the opportunity that Calipari gets to coach some of these guys, they better this team will be. With the ability of this years team already at a high level, it would be unfathomable to see over half of the offensive production return to play with next year’s recruiting class. In fact, that is exactly why this team is expected to be so good this season.
The return of talents like Jones and Lamb playing with the talented freshman has made them a favorite to win the NCAA Tournament this year. Had Jones and Lamb made their decision to leave for the NBA last year, this team would be lucky to be a top-25 team right now. Had Brandon Knight been forced to stay, Kentucky would be hands down the favorite to win it all and they would likely be looking at a good shot at an undefeated season. Kentucky is currently struggling with point guard depth, but with Knight at the point guard position and Teague backing him up, they would be the top one-two punch at the position in the country.
It could be like this every year for Kentucky.
If this rule passes, it will.
The only downside for this rule is that some of these players will be penalized. It takes the decision away from these players who may not want to go to school and are more than ready to go play NBA basketball. It may not be fair for these guys and in their best interest to have to stay at school when they could be earning a pay check to help their family if need be. However, for the leagues themselves, the two-year rule would have heavy benefits for both the NBA and college basketball levels with Kentucky being greatest benefactor.