For those not counting at home, 41 days remain until Selection Sunday. We’re 42 days until the inevitable recruitment of Phil from Accounts Receivable for the yearly office pool.
This March it won’t matter if ol’ Phil is an expert on the Big Dance or counts a random viewing of the second half of a televised Hofstra game as the closest he’s come to setting foot on a basketball court.
His chances, like yours and mine, are as good as anyone’s.
The one-and-done rule incorporated by the NBA in 2005 requires an athlete be 19 years old and a full year removed from high school to be eligible for the NBA Draft.
Agree with it or not, it’s been the powerful excavation equipment used to remove all mountains from the NCAA landscape. The days of the dynasty programs are over. No more Rupp’s Wildcats, Wooden’s Bruins, Knight’s Hoosiers or Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils.
The men’s basketball world is now flat enough to slide into an album cover.
One could argue Florida, national champions in 2006 and 2007, will make history as the sport’s final single-program dominance of any kind as long as the current rule stands. In the eight seasons since its introduction there have been seven different schools cutting down nets and 18 making at least one Final Four.
Dynasty by today’s definition might be Butler’s consecutive runner-up finishes in 2010-11 or Michigan State’s three Final Fours between 2005-10. Maybe the fact Kansas won it all in 2008, regrouped and was NCAA runner-up to Kentucky last spring counts.
The Wildcats, meanwhile, celebrated the way they always have since John Calipari took over in 2009: By making everyone short of Jim Master and Dirk Minniefield eligible for the NBA Draft.
Don’t hate on the ‘Cats. It’s what they do and do well. Talented high school players from all over the country come to Lexington dreaming of NBA roster spots knowing part of the deal is enduring at least one winter of Cal’s wrath along the way.
It’s because Kentucky took four freshmen and made them first-round selections in 2012 that such enormous parity exists this season. Had even two of them stuck around, say Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the Wildcats would likely be ranked No. 1, and we would be talking potential dynasty.
But we’re not. And as long as 19-year-olds are able to bolt campus for the warmth of some Florida or West Coast training facility the minute their seasons come to a close, we probably won’t.
There is no quick fix. No perfect rule that enhances the college and NBA games equally. After all, for every gifted player wanting to make the jump early there are just as many different motivators for making it to the NBA in the first place.
Financial security sits at the top, which is why the NBA would be fearful of upping the minimum age to 20 or 21.
In the meantime, the NCAA Tournament will be up for grabs. Everyone is a juggernaut, everyone a Cinderella.
Call me crazy, but I still like Indiana to be celebrating the night of April 8 in Atlanta. Probably because a player like 7-foot sophomore Cody Zeller, who could have been a first-round NBA pick after only one year of college, stuck around.
Anymore, that might be all it takes.
Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.