The question is, what needs fixing? And once you've decided on that, how do you go about doing it?
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski appeared on Oklahoma City sports talk show "The Sports Animals" Monday, and he was asked this exact question: "What do we have to do to fix the game of college basketball?"
This is a really broad question. It assumes that college basketball needs fixing, but it doesn't provide any premise for exactly what about the sport is so desperately in need of repair. I can think of a few things, of course. Coach K, for his part, made an interesting point -- that the relationship between the NBA and college hoops is fundamentally broken:
"First of all college basketball doesn’t control college basketball," Krzyzewski said. "The NBA controls college basketball. They are the ones along with the players union that sets the rule. College basketball just reacts to what the NBA does to include the early entry date. College basketball put out April 10. Well, that date doesn’t mean anything. April 29 is when guys have a chance to put their names in the NBA draft.
"I think one of the main things that has to happen is college basketball has to have a relationship with the NBA," he said. "There should be someone in charge of college basketball who on a day-to-day basis sets an agenda for our great sport. We don’t have anything like that. As a resolve we don’t have a voice with the NBA or the players union and that’s just kind of sad."
Who would disagree with that?
I'm not sure the one-and-done rule is the biggest problem afflicting college hoops specifically -- it affects, what, 30 players (tops) every year? -- but it is not unfair to say the utter lack of relationship between the NBA and the college game is a major problem affecting both levels of the sport, but particularly college basketball, generally. And how do you fix that? Coordination. Organization. Some apparatus by which NCAA president Mark Emmert can say, "Hey, NBA, we're happy to keep doing our thing down here -- building players' brands and developing them for entry into your professional embrace -- but you've got to throw us a bone. We're really getting slammed." This would seem to be in the NBA's interest, too. After all, the deal it gets from the NCAA is pretty good, but the deal could be better, couldn't it? Talent evaluation is still less a science than an art. General managers still make mistakes on weak information, still have a limited amount of time to get to know draftees in intimate ways. Is there any way to close that gap?
This is basically me noodling here, and I admit there are no ready-made solutions. At the end of the day, what Coach K is probably really talking about is a move to a two-and-through (copyright John Gasaway) or three-and-free (I just made that up) via the NBA collective bargaining process. That's really the only hope for changing the one-and-done rule, which seems to be the popular consensus even among those coaches (like John Calipari) who have utilized it to their competitive advantage.
But the general idea -- some relationship between college hoops and the NBA, similar to USA Basketball and the NBA, or USA Basketball and the college game, some go-between, some committee, something -- would be an undeniably positive step in the right direction for the sport as a whole, right?