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The True “One-and-Done” Problem in Division I Men’s Basketball

Since 2006, when the NBA made high school players ineligible for the NBA Draft, there has been continuous discontent expressed about college basketball’s “one-and-done” problem. However, only 8 college frosh have been drafted on average each year since 2007 (11 was the maximum in 2008). Nearly two-thirds of the one-and-done NBA draftees since 2010 were early departures from just six schools—Kentucky (13), Kansas (4), Duke (3), Texas (3), Arizona (2) and UCLA (2).

The numbers show that the real destabilizing force in Division I men’s basketball is transfer behavior. About 20% of all freshman men’s basketball players leave their initial school after one year and 40% in total are gone by the end of year two. The vast majority of these departures are transfers. We tracked every player from the 2012-13 freshman class into the next year and found the following outcomes:

Second Year Status N %
Continue at First School 825 79%
Transfer 168 16%
    Stay Division I (53)
    To Division II (30)
    To Division III (3)
    To NJCAA or NAIA (82)
Out of School/Sport 41 4%
NBA Draft 7 <1%
International Pro 6 <1%
TOTAL 1,047 100%

13 student-athletes from that class left after one year to play professionally, while 209 departed for other reasons. Playing pro basketball is certainly an expectation for many Division I players— 76% of them tell us in surveys they think it’s likely they’ll get to the pros eventually. But might the real impact of those pro dreams be transfer chaos and stunted degree progress as student-athletes search for an opportunity to play and perhaps shine?

By the way, 30 of the 32 one-and-done NBA draftees over the past four years fully completed their spring-term academic commitments. The cumulative college grades of the 32? Their average GPA was 2.88.

Notes:

2012-13 class defined by inclusion in a Division I APR cohort. Other data sources: www.nba.com, www.usbasket.com, www.eurobasket.com.

Download a copy of this Extra Point: The True “One-and-Done” Problem in Division I Men’s Basketball

(Published April 2015)

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