Weather you like it or not, “one and done” freshman who stay in college for one year and than bolt for the NBA have become a big part of college basketball. These one and done players are often the biggest names college basketball has to offer. These “one and done” freshman are undoubtedly talented, but how much of an impact do they have on their teams going far into march madness?
Loyola-Chicago, Michigan, Villanova and Kansas are the four teams remaining. You know how many combined freshman each team has that are expected to leave for the NBA at the conclusion of the tournament? Zero. You know how many “one and done” freshman have played in the previous two final fours? Just one. Gonzaga’s Zach Collins from last year who wasn’t even a starter! If this doesn’t prove that you can make a deep run in march without a future NBA superstar than I don’t know what will.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 rated freshman (rankings by ESPN) and the teams who had top 5 recruiting classes (rankings by 247sports) from the past 3 years.
2017 top 5 rated recruits: Marvin Bagley, Duke. Michael Porter Jr, Missouri. Deandre Ayton, Arizona. Mohamed Bamba, Texas. Wendell Carter, Duke. Outside of Bagley and Carter, you know how many combined tournament games these players won? The same amount as me.
2017 top 5 rated recruiting classes: Duke, Kentucky, Arizona, Missouri, UCLA. These 5 teams combined for just 5 tournament wins.
2016 top 5 rated recruits: Harry Giles, Duke. Josh Jackson, Kansas. Jayson Tatum, Duke. Lonzo Ball, UCLA. Bam Adebayo, Kentucky. 2/5 of these players (Jackson and Adebayo) played in the elite 8.
2016 top 5 rated recruiting classes: Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State, Florida State, NC State. These teams combined for just 6 tournament wins.
2015 top 5 rated recruits: Ben Simmons, LSU. Skal Labissiere, Kentucky. Brandon Ingram, Duke. Jaylen Brown, California. Henry Ellenson, Marquette. These 5 players combined for just 3 tournament wins. LSU who had Ben Simmons, who many scouts labeled as the “next Lebron” didn’t even make the tournament.
2015 top 5 rated recruiting classes: Kentucky, Duke, Arizona, Texas A&M, Ohio State. These 5 teams combined for just 5 tournament wins.
This isn’t implying that “one and done” players don’t positively affect their teams. They’re many coaches out there who would kill for just one of the players that Mike Krzyzewski and John Calipari are able to get on a regular basis, and rightfully so. However, if you aren’t able to land one of these future NBA stars, all hope is not lost. Like I said before, look at the recent final fours. How many one and dones were playing in those? Having talented players helps, but so does having experienced players. After failing to make the final 4 for the third year in a row, perhaps Mike Krzyzewski and John Calipari should look into recruiting players who are gonna stay 3-4 years opposed to only chasing one and dones.