With the NCAA basketball season tipping off, Americans finally have some meaningful hoops action to follow. And with another college basketball season brings another crop of players hoping their college experience is of the “one-and-done” variety. There have been 39 “one-and-done” players since the NBA instituted an age limit on entering the NBA draft in 2006. While the league publicly stated the rule was to ensure players entering the league were more mature and ready for the pros, it really hasn’t made any difference in the number of busts – and stars – joining the pro ranks each year. So of those 39 “one-and-doners” (I think I just invented the word ‘doners’), who have flown to the highest of heights and who have sunken to the depths of NBA hell (not to be mistaken with Newark)?
First up: five best “one-and-doners”.
5) John Wall
The No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft pretty much delivered what was expected of him in his rookie season with the Wizards – a robust stat line (16.4 ppg, 8.3 apg, 4.6 rpg, 1.8 spg) but also too many turnovers and poor shooting, including a paltry 29.6% from long-range. Despite being overshadowed by “rookie” Blake Griffin last season, the future is still very bright for Mr. Wall, and subsequently, the Wizards.
4) Tyreke Evans
The second of three John Calipari-coached point guards to make this list (Wall being the first, the third being the man coming in at No. 2 on our list who you’ll be reading about shortly), Tyreke Evans’ game seems to have regressed a bit last season. Maybe it was his plantar fascitis or maybe it was the realization that he plays for Sacramento. Nonetheless, despite probably not ever cutting it as a legitimate NBA point guard, career averages of 19.1 ppg, 5.7 apg, 5.1 rpg and 1.5 spg are nothing to scoff at.
3) Kevin Love
The revelation of last season had to be the emergence of Kevin Love. The UCLA product showed he was going to be a solid NBA player in his first two seasons, but no one could have predicted the numbers he put up last year. 20.2 ppg and 15.2 rpg!! From a guy who appears to be out of shape and can’t jump!
2) Derrick Rose
It speaks to the level of “one-and-done” talent that have entered the league over the past few years that the reigning NBA MVP only ranks in position No. 2 on our “one-and-done” list. Derrick Rose told the snickering masses before last season that he wanted to be the MVP. No one’s laughing now.
1) Kevin Durant
It was pretty apparent after his sole year at the University of Texas that Kevin Durant was going to be a good NBA player. But good doesn’t even describe what kind of player he has become. Words like “elite” and “super-duper-star” are more fitting for the back-to-back NBA scoring champ. And he wasn’t even the best prospect in his draft class, right Portland?!
Check back later this week for the list of players who would’ve been better off staying in college a little longer.