here we go again).
Among the main talking points? Lowering the minimum age for NBA draft eligibility from 19 to 18. If it is enacted — and it looks like it will — high school students will once again be able to jump straight into the NBA, without having to remove a single year from graduation. This option hasn’t been around since 2005, when the status quo was established…and as a byproduct, the one-business era was born.
Now we get to figure out what it’s like to be single in a world that doesn’t require it.
And you probably won’t feel these effects nowhere more than in Durham, deep in the bowels of Cameron’s home court. Is there any school except KentuckyWas this more dependent on one player and did more than Duke over the past decade? Since Kyrie Irving got the ball in 2011, he’s become blue devils He sent 23 one-time players to the NBA, 18 of them in the first round. (For reference, blue-blooded comrades kansas And the North Carolina You’ve had 14 single players and a verb in common since the inception of the current rules.) These players haven’t been essential to Duke’s success over the past decade; I dictated it directly.
But that relationship was symbiotic. As much as Duke has thrived on her singles studs, the stars have also said that they’ve reaped the benefits of one of the top college basketball programs. For example: Duke has a loyal like Strength and sports science staff, which studies, measures and enhances player performance. It also has the largest social media reach of any college program – more and more than Alabama Football – and you’re kidding yourself if you think the Duke brand hasn’t inflated the stature of individual players. Zion Williamson is the perfect example. Could he, the No. 5 recruit in his class, have gone straight to the NBA from high school? surely. Can. But does he reach the pros as the number one talent, as a national star with a signature shoe deal after his exploits as a blue devil? Much more than arguing.
Therein lies the crux of the single-handed Duke model: the benefit to both sides. It’s almost business-like, if you think about it. It is clear that Duke benefits from having elite talent in her teams. These players help the program win games and stock award statuses and continue building a bigger brand. For the players, they get the best training they could ask for: nine months in a semi-professional environment, where the world revolves around and caters to, and where they have access to one of the best staff (and groups of teammates) in the country. They get better, which pays dividends down the road. win for all.
Huge college basketball news. Players can jump from high school to the NBA again once the 2024 semester begins.
– Brendan Marks (@BrendanRMarks) September 19, 2022
For a long time, this was the best path before the elite. Part 1: Go to elite college, get the ball out, and get off to the NBA as soon as legally possible. In recent years, a second option has appeared. Section 2, if you like: Choose an alternate way to spend a “gap” year – a year you get compensated for, whether that’s playing professionally abroad or in one of America’s professional leagues (G League Ignite or Overtime Elite). The introduction of NIL into the college athletics space last year blurred the lines between those two options, but it was still two doors.
However, lowering the minimum age to 18 means there is a shiny new door for top talent – only this, unlike the other two, speeds everything up. You are a professional faster. You get paid faster. You chase your dreams faster. Don’t risk getting injured or tripped at the college level. You’re approaching a year into a second NBA decade, a third decade, and all the generational fortune that comes with it. Who refused it?
Here’s what to see—and it’s the bet Duke has been preparing for the past decade. Not every high school student will jump into the NBA just because they can. You go without crafting, and… well, good luck. We’re talking about the top 1 percent of the 1 percent, and maybe the top five players in any given high school class. Paulo Banchero He might have fit into that mold, but even a healthy AJ Griffin, someone with massive, measurable things and NBA pedigree? Verse. It’s more up in the air, to say the least.
The problem is, these are the kids that Duke is very keen on. And as it’s become clear over the past few seasons – both in Duke and across the country – not all individual talents are created equal. Starting four new students ranked 1, 2, 5 and 15 in the country is not the same as starting four new students ranked 6, 12, 29 and 37. Same umbrella, completely different results.
It’s unbelievable to think that all of Duke’s goals would still choose the path of college. The allure of instant paydays and stardom is too appealing to refuse – and for players of this caliber, this is perfectly reasonable. Go get your bread: every day, every day. The opposite also applies; There are some top talents who have grown up watching Kyrie, Jayson Tatum and Zion, and they want to have the same experience. Maybe they realize that their games could use more spice. Whatever the individual reasoning is, it’s also perfectly valid.
What Duke is betting on is that over the past decade, he’s shown that nine months in Durham are valuable both from a basketball perspective and from a long-term life perspective. It is the scheme. If you’re a top five in your class, there’s no need to guess what Duke can do for you; They’ve been shown over and over again, year after year, by players of all positions and skill levels. You can call Banchero or Williamson, or whatever, and they’ll all tell you: I got into the NBA in better shape because I attended Duke. This is Duke’s best possible promotion.
And it really is the best promotion any college program can offer.
Because if the outstanding support staff, colleagues, brand amplification, education – and as of last year, NIL profits – from a place like Duke aren’t enough to entice high school seniors into college, nothing will be. that simple.
Instead, we’ll be entering a new (old?) era of college basketball. Players ranked 20th and above will move to the top of the grand metaphor board, and become new creatures for the Emotions of All Blue Blood. The transfer portal will become more famous than it already was; Experienced talent is already superior to younger talent, and if that young talent isn’t as brilliant as it used to be? Then the cost-benefit analysis changes to take high school students.
Jon Scheer’s recruiting acumen is a big reason why he’s in the seat that he is now, so if there’s someone Duke wants to oversee this potential changeover, it’s him. But even a recruit of his caliber will have to adjust his way of thinking about roster building. This transformation may already have begun; In Jacob Grandison and Ryan YoungScheyer sticks to two spots in the top eight of his rotation to transfer graduation, rather than freshmen in development as has been the case in years past.
Duke has shown over the past decade that her model has value. It can help good players become great, great players become stars. But that was when Duke just had to present himself as the sexiest workout. What if you could get the job without one at all?
In this case, Duke should hope that the finish line – making the NBA in any way – is not everything, but rather it will be everything for posterity. The trip, as the Blue Devils proved, could be worthwhile.
(Top image from Trevor Keelesleft, and John Scheer: Rob Keenan/USA Today)