The case for one-and-dones

Why prevent freshmen from entering the draft early if they have the skills?

Updated: March 12, 2014, 2:20 PM ET
By Tom Haberstroh | ESPN Insider

When discussing the age-limit rule, consider the case of Jonny Flynn.

Back in 2009, Syracuse's sophomore point guard played 67 minutes in a six-overtime win over UConn in the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden. That was followed by another thrilling overtime victory the next day to earn a trip to the Big East championship. Shortly after Flynn's impressive tear that won him Big East tournament MVP without his team winning the title (Louisville ended up winning), Flynn and the No. 3 Orange reached the Sweet 16 before eventually falling to Blake Griffin and the second-seeded Oklahoma Sooners.

It was one of the most captivating few weeks of basketball we had seen from a college player in some time, all broadcast on national television. And a couple of months later, the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Flynn with the sixth pick of the 2009 NBA draft, ahead of Stephen Curry (No. 7 pick), Ty Lawson (No. 18) and Jrue Holiday (No. 17). Five years later, Flynn is out of the NBA.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has suggested that an additional year in college will give NBA teams an extra year of information and ability to evaluate prospects. And the logic seems sound. After all, it stands to reason that more information can't be a bad thing.

But then we look at the facts. Since the 2005 age-limit rule went into effect that essentially forced players to wait a year following high school -- most often playing one season in college -- NBA teams have been twice as likely to draft a sophomore bust than a freshman, one-and-done bust. Turns out there are more Flynns than Anthony Bennetts. Not only that, but there are more Kevin Durants (stars who left as freshman) than there are Russell Westbrooks (stars who left as sophomores).

If one-and-dones have been the far safer bet, then why are we trying to keep them out?