Mike Krzyzewski Makes Case for High School Players to Be Eligible for NBA Draft

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2017

GREENVILLE, SC - MARCH 19:  Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils reacts in the first half against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the second round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on March 19, 2017 in Greenville, South Carolina.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Longtime Duke University head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski wants to eliminate the one-and-done college system for top NBA draft prospects by once again allowing the best players to make the jump straight from high school to the professional ranks.

Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post passed along comments Coach K made Tuesday on ESPN Radio about the hot-button topic. Along with making high school players eligible for the draft, he wants a two-year minimum if they opt to attend college.

"In baseball, in theater, in music, if you're 16 and you're really good, you go on a different path," Krzyzewski said. "I really think that high school players should be allowed to go. And once they get to college, if [they] don't do that, I think a two-year period, so you legitimize being in college, going for an education. You don't just kind of use the college system as a training ground."

Krzyzewski went on to say he believes a top-tier prospect would benefit more from a professional environment than being forced to go through the motions during a year in school.

"I mean, a kid who's really, really good coming out of high school, who does not want to go to school, would gain more from being in a pro system where he is working on his craft and his body and the development every day, just like a baseball player," he said. "And I would like to see that."

In early June, NBA commissioner Adam Silver told reporters the current system is "not working for anyone." He noted conversations with the National Basketball Players Association showed him both sides are unhappy.

"They're not happy with the current system," Silver said. "And I know our teams aren't happy either in part because they don't necessarily think that the players are coming into the league are getting the kind of training that they would expect to see among top draft picks in the league."

He added the league prefers to raise the minimum age to 20, while the union wants the number dropped to 18. Krzyzewski's idea could provide the best of both worlds.

Meanwhile, Bill Simmons of The Ringer opined that the NBA could scrap the current format and shift toward an "MLB-type" system.

In baseball, players can be drafted out of high school and then decide whether to sign a contract or attend college. If a team utilizes a pick on a player in the top two rounds who doesn't sign, it gets a pick one slot later next season (if the No. 10 pick goes unsigned, the team picks No. 11 next year).

Prospects who opt against signing in favor of college can then reenter the draft in the future.

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