Rick Pitino says major change could be coming to the NBA and to college basketball by 2019.
Pitino spoke with Marty Smith of ESPN, and in a video posted Friday, Pitino gave his opinion on the one-and-done nature of college basketball in addition the rule change he thinks NBA commissioner Adam Silver will catalyze in the coming two years.
“I don’t mind it, Pitino said of the current NBA setup that induces one-and-done culture. “I’m looking for my first one-and-done. I’ve had top-10 picks, top-20 picks, I’m waiting. I don’t mind it. John Calipari and Coach K have mastered it, certainly. It’s tough to play with freshmen. They have so much to learn at the defensive end. When I was at Kentucky I had seven high school basketball players told me they were coming, and instead they went to the pros out of high school. And by the way, I think that rule’s going to change back to that. I think high school players are going to be able to go pro again.”
When Smith asked Pitino when, he replied, “I think the commissioner’s probably going to do it within two years.”
A friendly reminder that high school players already have the option to “go pro” overseas, etc. out of high school — they merely cannot declare for the NBA Draft (which was Pitino’s point, of course). The question that comes to mind as follow-up to Pitino’s comment on this is: What makes Pitino think change is surely coming in this specific way? He’s a very connected guy in many circles of basketball, after all. Perhaps there’s something to it. Perhaps it’s just a theory.
Silver, considered a progressive commissioner, has been vocal on this issue in recent months. While he has not been too detailed in laying out what kind of change could/should be coming to the NBA’s draft eligibility model,because he thinks it doesn’t serve the NBA or college basketball . The NBA and the NBA Players Association will need to come to amended terms in their collective bargaining agreement before any updates are made to the NBA’s rule book.
College basketball will be affected significantly if and when NBA Draft eligibility gets an update, but until then, its coaches and powers-that-be have no say.