Kevin Garnett Believes Any Changes To The One-And-Done Rule Would Hurt College Players

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There is a renewed interest in doing something with the NBA’s one-and-done rule. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that there is “momentum” behind making a change to the current format of the rule, which requires that basketball players spend their first year out of high school somewhere other than the NBA. It can be college or prep school, it can be playing professionally overseas or in the G-League, or a player can just chill out at home for 12 months.

Kevin Garnett thinks this is all chatter. The future hall of famer told Jonathan Abrams of Bleacher Report that he doesn’t “see the rule changing,” but added that he is concerned about what would happen to college players in the event of an alteration to the current rule.

No, I don’t see the rule changing. And if I do see the rule changing, the rule is going to be changed not for the betterment of college [players]. I think they would try to get the kids to stay a little longer. I think kids leaving early out of high school hurts the college game. You can do it in tennis; you can do it any other sport, leave early, but basketball [is] the most impactful game, the most recognizable game—so I understand the control or the ability to try and control it. Players are going to find ways to get through it, loop[hole] it.

Garnett, who made the jump from high school to the NBA in 1995, did not specify exactly what he thinks would happen if the rule was adjusted, or if he thinks there should be a one-and-done rule at all. But he does believe that the rule is more geared towards helping the institution of college basketball than those who take the floor every night.

This is evident in the rest of his answer about the rule. Garnett discussed how there is “a bit of a monopoly” with how players are steered to the NCAA and that changes would “strangle the overseas option” that currently exists.

They said it was bad for business, but they’re making money on all these young guys. No one’s talking about that part of it. No one wants to speak about the—I don’t want to call it bullying, but it is a bit of a monopoly when you set the structure up that you got to take a certain path.

I think they’re going to try to strangle the overseas option for a lot of these kids and make it more boxed in, if you will, where you either got to go to J.C. or college or something or sit out. And I think these players are going to look at these options and these solutions, and they’re going to take some of them. Some are going to go to college, which is always a good thing, but I think growing up and going overseas too—that’s a whole other experience.

The implication that the rule exists to help the NCAA make money isn’t a new one, but Garnett believes that the next step is to just make paths other than college basketball nearly impossible. This would be brutal, especially if heading overseas for a year or two and playing against professionals ever becomes a more viable option than it is now.