Apr 3, 2008
Kevin Love and Derrick Rose have their teams in the Final Four this week.
But don’t look for those players in the Final Four next year, since both are likely to jump to the NBA.
Given their success – and N.C. State’s lack of it with J.J. Hickson – one question being debated in college basketball circles is whether programs should recruit the so-called “one-and-done” players.
They can help you win right away.
But what about team chemistry? And what happens once they leave?
N.C. State finished 20-16 in 2007 and was perceived to be a rising with Hickson signed. The Wolfpack was picked to finish third in the ACC.
Instead, State finished last and failed to make the NCAA Tournament at 15-16.
Chemistry was one of many factors that led to the Pack’s collapse, as State couldn’t find a formula for Hickson, Brandon Costner and Ben McCauley to work together.
Hickson has announced he is looking into turning pro.
UCLA, meanwhile, signed center Kevin Love, and the freshman has led the Bruins into the Final Four. On Saturday, they’ll meet Memphis, and the powerful Tigers feature a brilliant freshman of their own in guard Rose.
Dave Telep, the national recruiting director for Sout.com, said there were five players in last year’s crop of high school seniors who were assumed to be one-and-done players – Love, Rose, Southern Cal’s O.J. Mayo, Kansas State’s Michael Beasley and Indiana’s Eric Gordon.
“It was common knowledge those guys were good enough and were one-and-done guys,” said Telep, who lives in Wake Forest.
Beasley set a Big 12 single-season record in scoring average at 26.2 points per game.
But is the risk worth the reward?
Telep said that topic is widely debated by college coaches as they scout prospects.
“I don’t think that we have enough statistics to know for sure yet, but it’s definitely a topic when you’re sitting in the gym,” Telep said. “Some guys more comfortable doing it than other people. I think it’s a personal comfort level thing.
“Some coaches are more into the bigger team-building picture and are unwilling to … It’s out of their comfort zone to take a guy they’ll only have for a year. Other guys don’t mind.”
What’s difficult, Telep said, is when a coach is surprised by a player who decides to leave early for the pros.
“It’s the guys who come in and are one-and-done and you don’t see it that can hurt you,” he said.
Telep wasn’t surprised Hickson decided to consider the NBA.
“I think that he was in the middle of the road and it could go either way,” Telep said. “That was one I don’t think anyone was naive that, if he had a big year, he might try to leave.”
North Carolina and Duke have had some players turn pro after their freshman seasons, too. Carolina’s Marvin Williams left in 2005 year and Brandan Wright in 2007. Duke’s Luol Deng (2004) and Corey Maggette (1999) both departed after one year.
Telep said Love’s decision came down to UCLA and Carolina.
“Obviously, it’s happened at North Carolina and at Duke,” Telep said. “I think Duke and Carolina do it in special circumstances. They definitely are not two programs that cast their hats for everybody that’s one-and-done. Those two programs in particular have a big-picture approach to it. And one guy will never make the Duke or North Carolina program. So they are a little more reluctant to go after a one-and-done guy
“But I think they will at times. Kyle Singler could have been a one-and-done guy. Kyle Singler was sixth on that list.”
Singler is expected to return for his sophomore year.
Looking ahead, Telep said he didn’t see any of the Triangle schools losing a freshman to the 2009 NBA Draft.