Big 12 head coaches react to potential change to one-and-done rule | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Thursday / December 1.
  • Big 12 head coaches react to potential change to one-and-done rule

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    By SAM LANCE

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Potential changes could be coming to the NBA Draft. It was reported about a month ago by Shams Charania of the Athletic that the NBA and NBPA are expected to agree on moving the draft age from 19 years old back to 18. 

    This would be a significant change in the basketball world, and we caught up with several top-tier 2024 prospects to talk about the potential rule adjustment. But, what do college coaches think of the change? 

    At Big 12 media day in Kansas City, I was able to get the thoughts of several of the conference’s coaches. Here is what they said about the potential change and how it would affect their respective programs… 

    Baylor coach Scott Drew:

    “I think coaches nowadays do such a great job at adjusting what we do and how we do it. And Coach Huggins is a Hall of Famer, and we’ve learned from him, how he adjusts his style of play year in, year out. Same thing with the rules. I mean, if it goes to 18, obviously guys that are projected to be pros, we won’t spend all the time recruiting them if they’re not going to come to college. At the same time, why basketball is at an all-time high, is if you look worldwide, there’s so many great players, so many people play. So there’s so much parity. Just because somebody’s ranked top 30, I mean, that’s what makes basketball what it is. We’ve had numerous zero star guys, people that weren’t ranked, from Taurean Prince to Royce O’Neale, to Pierre Jackson, that got to the NBA. Freddie Gillespie. It doesn’t matter what you’re ranked or projected, it’s how you continue to develop and improve. And there’s a number of good players that our programs will continue to bring in and our fans will love cheering for. So college basketball is going to be in a great position, regardless whatever happens in the NBA.”

    Texas coach Chris Beard:

    “The first one, with the NBA draft age, I just really try to control what we can control. Those decisions aren’t up to me. I think personally, as a basketball fan, a basketball guy, it makes sense to me. I think the best players should be able to take the path that they want. I know a lot of that comes down to the NBA moves and things like that. We just adjust. One thing I know about college basketball, we adjust. They change the rules on us often in our sport. It always thrives. You hear from time to time is this going to kill the NCAA Tournament? I don’t think anything will ever kill the NCAA Tournament. College basketball is always about players. There’s always going to be players in college basketball.”

    “It will definitely affect recruiting. Obviously the portal the last couple of years and now name, image, likeness and things like this, there’s always changing factors in recruiting. Certainly if the NBA rule changes back, most of us, myself included, recruited and coached in college basketball when there was the ability for high school players to go straight to the draft and change back. So a lot of it will be going back to our old philosophies before it changed. But it will definitely change that because you’ve got to know what prospects you can go after.”

    Kansas coach Bill Self: 

    “Well, it will certainly affect recruiting. I’m not sure it will affect the majority of us recruiting. We haven’t recruited very many one-and-dones of late. I guess Josh [Jackson] was the last one. We have done a really nice job recruiting. But over time, in the 20 years we’ve been here, we’ve recruited I think nine one-and-dones, which is still a high number. But it’s not like we’re recruiting to live off those guys to be our leading scorer and leading rebounders their freshman year. I don’t think it will affect us a ton. I think obviously the best programs will still get the best guys. The hardest workers will get the best guys. But being able to evaluate and project will be more important now than ever because it’s just hard to evaluate and project the No. 1 pick is going to be a really good player for your program. But you get past those top 10 or 12, whatever guys there are, it’s going to be a lot more about development at least with those types of guys.”

    Texas Tech coach Mark Adams:

    “It’ll have some effect on recruiting. And I understand, the NBA, just like most professional sports, try and go after younger players. Some of these guys they’ve already had their eye on. It’s just a one-and-done. I’ve never been too crazy about the one-and-done anyways. I think it makes sense if those kids are mature enough to handle it. The question is, is it best for that individual player? I don’t think at Texas Tech it’s going to have a major effect on us.”

    West Virginia coach Bob Huggins:

    “I think with what’s going on in today’s age, I don’t think it makes that much of a difference. Guys are going to do what they want to do. If they want to go to Europe and play for a year or so before they come back, I mean, there’s a lot of options out there. I don’t know that moving the age back, I don’t know how much that affects. It may affect a few people but I don’t think it affects the multitude.” 

    Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton: 

    “My general sense is I’m happy. It seems fair to the kids. I’ve always been an advocate for people being able to make the choice that they feel like is best for him. If at 18 you can buy a gun, go to war, and fight for our country, then surely you can decide if you want to play basketball. Doesn’t mean it’s going to work out for everybody. But, what may happen is, you may get some kids who don’t really desire to be in college, that are going because they have to now, that’ll just move on with their lives. Then you’ll get people who really want to be there, maybe invest a little bit more. Maybe they’re comfortable and committed to it and the product can improve because of it.” 

    “I just don’t see it affecting recruiting as much as it seems. The guys we are talking about are only in college for a short amount of time. Now, if he could have gone to the NBA, Cade [Cunningham] probably would have. So it would have affected me in a major way that year. But we’ve always recruited high level guys. He’s just the only one I think that maybe would have been good enough to take that type of leap.”

    TCU coach Jamie Dixon: 

    “It’ll change recruiting a little bit to a degree. I don’t know if it’ll change much for us, but it’ll change for others, which then trickles down to us at the same time. I don’t understand it. I’m sure there’s a reason, and it’s not our decision, and I don’t care either way, but it doesn’t make sense. Just give me the reasons. I don’t see what the reasons are for it. Show me the positives of it. The number of jobs in the NBA remains the same. The salaries for the lower guys on the rosters have been cut. Everybody sees those guys signing the max deals, but nothing has changed for the other guys. Some of the salaries have even gotten less. I’d say I’m willing to listen [to moving the age]. Give me the reasons why. I mean, we’re talking about very smart people making that decision. It’s not our decision, but I’d just like to know what the reasoning is. It’s all I ask. I just don’t see the positives for them.”

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