LeBron James ‘signs two-year, $85million extension’ with defending-champion Lakers

By Alex Raskin, Sports News Editor for 

The basketball world continues to debate the NBA’s controversial ‘one-and-done’ rule, which effectively sets the minimum age at 19.

Prior to 2005, top high schoolers were allowed to jump to the pros, but NBA teams struggled to separate future All-Stars like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant from cautionary tales like Kwame Brown or Eddy Curry, who struggled with maturity and failed to meet expectations.

‘I just think that these guys, when they hit the professional ranks at 18-years-old, 19-years-old, they’re totally unprepared for the life of an adult,’ Basketball Hall of Famer and retired high school coach Bob Hurley Sr. told the Daily Mail.

In this January 19, 1996 file photo Kobe Bryant dunks the ball at his Lower Merion high school gym during a practice

Not every preps-to-pros player is a Kobe Bryant (right). Former top-overall pick Kwame Brown (left) had an unremarkable 12-year NBA career before retiring in 2013

To reduce risk, the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement in 2005 mandated that players be a year removed from their high school class’s graduation before they can declare for the draft.

That rule ushered in a new era in which top recruits began taking a one-year detour through college only to bolt for the NBA without any long-term consideration for the institution.

‘There’s obviously a handful of a kids who hate college, hate school, so they’re playing college basketball, but it’s a charade because they’re not really invested in a college education,’ former St. John’s coach Fran Fraschilla told the Daily Mail.

Now an analyst for ESPN, Fraschilla estimated that ’95 percent’ of the players he comes into contact with are focused on their education, adding that only a rare few are considered ‘one-and-done’ talents.

The one-and-done rule also failed to stem the tradition of high school recruits violating NCAA rules by receiving improper benefits to attend specific colleges, as a federal investigation revealed in 2017.

LeBron James playing at Akron's St. Vincent-St. Mary as an 18-year-old in 2003

LeBron James playing at Akron’s St. Vincent-St. Mary as an 18-year-old in 2003  

And according to the NCAA’s College Basketball Commission, which was formed in response to the federal probe and is headed by Condoleezza Rice, the one-and-done rule actually exacerbated the problem.

‘One-and-done has played a significant role in corrupting and destabilizing college basketball, restricting the freedom of choice of players, and undermining the relationship of college basketball to the mission of higher education,’ read a suggestion from the commissioner in 2018.

Although NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he hopes to work with players and owners to change the one-and-done policy, the rule has remained on the books in the meantime.

But given the need for middle ground, Australia’s NBL and the NBA’s G League decided to offer an alternative to college ball, and all of its attached restrictions.

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