Friday, July 11, 2008

Lute Olson Speaks Out Against One Year Rule

As you can see from the previous two posts the issue of playing in college for a year or going pro (which now means heading to Europe) has become a hot button topic around the sports world with everyone chiming in. Dom was been very clear that he believes everyone should play their one year while Jeff over at JV Sports holds down the idea that you should just head over to Europe. Obviously every stance is different and is based on a number of individual variables, but here at the Bear Down the Jennings situation hit home considering he was an Arizona Recruit. That being said, Arizona’s own Lute Olson has taken a very bold and public stance on the situation. Oslon recently has made some comments to the LA Times that back up the idea that high school players should stay in the college for long than a year. Sports Columnist Bill Plaschke also from the LA Times chimes in with similar sentiments:

Olson who has been surround by a level of controversy down here in Tucson over the last couple years has come out and made a number of bold statements regarding his stance on the one year rule, and those players who are now using it as a mandatory pit stop on the way to a Pro career. Olson claims that these kinds of situations are a ‘farce’ and is not happy with it, which says a lot coming from a hall of fame coach at one of the top tier basketball programs in the country. Here are some of his comments made to the LA Times:

"It's a situation now that if someone's a 'one-and-done,' we're not going to pursue them anymore, no way,"

"Jerryd [Bayless, who left after one year at Arizona and was a lottery pick in this year’s draft] said all along he wanted to stay here two years, but then you get the agents working on the kids and parents all year. You might have the kid in your controlled environment for some time, but when [outsiders are] on the parents, you have no idea what's going on."

Speaking of the inception of the one year rule after the 2005 season.

"We said at the time it'd be a disaster, that agents would be swarming all over -- not only over these kids, but their parents -- telling them the kid needed to score a ton of points in the one year and get out, I'm not saying that's the case in every situation, but you've already seen the danger. What we predicted is happening. This is agent-driven, and it's a horrible rule."

What does this mean for Arizona’s program and Lute’s already rocky relationship with Arizona fans and Alumni? I see his point, and no one wants to spend a lot of time recruiting and trying to build a team that will disband after one year, but you have to think that this will hurt recruiting top athletes. Arizona so often referred to as Point Guard U has seen a number of players leave early for the draft since 2000: Bayless, (1 YR), Marcus Williams (2 YRS), Andre Iguodala (2 YRS), Richard Jefferson (3 YRS), Gilbert Arena (2 YRS), Michael Wright (3 YRS). You can add other less notable names like Chris Rogers to this list, and subtract Wright and RJ since 3 years is the norm. All things considering there are some big names leaving Lute’s program. If we were to look at college basketball as a whole the numbers would be astonishing. Of course, the goal for the majority of top tier prospects is a career in the NBA, and if Lute is not willing to help accomplish that goal we could see a lot of players looking elsewhere to find someone who will. This rule will expire after the 2010-2011 season, (un)fortunately that is also the time when Lute’s contract expires. With support already waning on the Face of Arizona basketball, will this rule inevitably effect the future of Lute’s career?

4Real Out…