NBA, NCAA, NBPA Announce Partnership with USA Basketball's Junior National Team

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 29, 2018

A closeup view of an official game ball with the March Madness logo during a second-round men's college basketball game between Villanova and Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament, Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)
Bill Wippert/Associated Press

The NBA, NCAA and National Basketball Players Association announced a partnership with the USA Basketball Junior National Team, another sign that the NBA's one-and-done rule will likely be abolished.

Per ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst, the partnership will allow up to 80 of the nation's top basketball recruits additional access to NBA training and development programs:

"The expanded program will provide doctors, athletic trainers and experts in health and performance year-round to the players and be led by longtime Boston Celtics athletic trainer Ed Lacerte. Once fully operational, not only will it improve training and care but will give NBA officials and teams the chance to work with and evaluate players for several years before they enter draft eligibility."

Windhorst added that the players will receive life-training skills ranging from "positive decision-making to navigating the college recruitment process."

"It's a natural fit to take the excellent life skills instruction and off-court development programs we provide for NBA players and stretch them out so that we can provide support and guidance to young, developing talent," NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said in a statement. "This is an effort that is long overdue."

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told reporters in July the league was "ready to make that change" from requiring players to attend one year of college to allowing them to declare for the draft right out of high school at 18 years old.

Per an official NBA memo obtained by ESPN.com's Zach Lowe, eligibility rules for the draft could change as early as 2021.

The NBA adopted the one-and-done rule, which states all players must be at least 19 years old during the same calendar year of the draft, in 2006.