Starting Five: One-and-done not going away as soon as expected
It was All-Star weekend in the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver had some interesting things to say about eliminating the one-and-done rule. How did this year's All-Stars rate as high school players, Mississippi State lands a big man, get to know freshman Trey Alexander and some notes on weekend visitors.
1. NBA COMMISSIONER ADAM SILVER DISCUSSES ONE-AND-DONE
For most of the last year, all of us have been operating under the assumption that "one-and-done" will soon be a thing of the past. By all of us, I mean myself, NBA executives, college basketball coaches and fans. For a while now, I've fielded calls from coaches and NBA teams who have said that it's only a matter of when and not if the NBA changes their age requirement from 19 and one year removed from high school graduation to just 18 years old.
The thought has been that the rule could likely be changed in time for members of the class of 2019 to make the leap to the NBA directly out of high school.
So, when I read NBA commissioner Adam Silver's comments about the subject over the weekend, I thought maybe we need to pump the brakes a little.
There's no doubt a change is coming. It's also a needed one. But, based on the commish's comments, it doesn't look to be nearly as imminent as we may have thought. Silver was asked about the subject during an All-Star weekend press conference. Included in his answer was that it's something he's working with the NCAA on and that because the NBA is outside of a collective bargaining period -- the latest agreement between the league and the players was signed in July of 2017 and runs through the 2023-24 season -- now may not be the time to make a change.
“In terms of the NBA, we’re conflicted, to be honest,” Silver said. “We’re outside of our cycle of collective bargaining right now, which is when we generally address an issue like that."
On Sunday, I contacted some NBA sources to ask them what they thought about Silver's comments. They told me that while they could see the rule change happening a little later than expected, they didn't feel that it would take until after the 2023-24 season either.
Whenever the change happens, it's going to be a huge deal for college basketball. Programs are going to have to change the way they recruit and players are going to have to carefully weigh the pros and cons of going to school against trying to head directly to the NBA.
At least it looks like they will have more than another year to sort things out.
“So we’re not by any means rushing through this,” Silver said. “I think this is a case where, actually, outside of the cycle of collective bargaining, we can spend more time on it with the Players Association, talking to the individual players, talking to the executive board and really trying to understand the pros and cons of potentially moving the age limit.”
2. ALL-STAR BREAKDOWN
Looking at the 2018 NBA All-Star roster, 25 of the 28 players named to this year's game played their high school ball in the United States. So the question is, how did they rate as high school players.
The five-stars (16): Former five-star prospects made up roughly two thirds of the All-Star rosters. Included in that group are LeBron James (No. 1 2003), John Wall (No. 1 2009), Kevin Durant (No. 2 2006), Demarcus Cousins (No. 2 2009), Anthony Davis (No. 2 2011), DeMar DeRozan (No. 3 2008), Kyrie Irving (No. 4 2010), Brad Beal (No. 4 2011), Karl-Anthony Towns (No. 5 2014), Kevin Love (No. 6 2007), James Harden (No. 11 2007), Kemba Walker (No. 14 2008), LaMarcus Aldridge (No. 16 2004), Joel Embiid (No. 25 2013), Kyle Lowry (No. 28 2004), Andre Drummond (2011 NR five-star).
Thoughts: It isn't that surprising to see that the All-Star game roster was full of players who were highly regarded as high school players. Twenty of the 25 All-Stars who played high school ball in the States were ranked in the Rivals150 and from that group, only two (Oladipo and Green) weren't at least four-star prospects ranked No. 51 or higher.
On the other end of the spectrum, Lillard and Butler remain the gold standards for overachieving regarding high school rankings. Yes, Curry and Westbrook are more celebrated and have more accolades, but they were at least three-star prospects. Lillard was only a two-star prospect while Butler (who didn't even have a profile out of high school) was a junior college prospect who didn't even get rated. Though considered just a s0-s0 class at the time, the class of 2008 lead the way this year with six players named to the All-Star team (if you count Butler as a JUCO prospect).
3. MISSISSIPPI STATE LANDS JUNIOR COLLEGE BIG MAN
Ben Howland and Mississippi State are hoping big man Jethro Tshisumpa's second run at the high major level goes better than his first. Tshisumpa committed to the Bulldogs on Sunday.
A four-star prospect out of high school in the class of 2016, Tshisumpa played his freshman season at Arizona State in 2016-17 and averaged just one point and 1.5 rebounds per game in 26 total appearances. As a sophomore at San Jacinto, Tshisumpa has averaged over eight points and six boards in just over 20 minutes per game while also blocking 3.8 shots per outing.
Physically strong with long arms, Tshisumpa has SEC size and can help protect the rim while playing with physicality. He visited officially over the weekend and joins a class that includes five-star forward Reggie Perry and four-star wings Robert Woodard and D.J. Stewart. The class currently ranks No. 17 overall in the 2018 team recruiting rankings.
4. GET TO KNOW TREY ALEXANDER
I had the opportunity to see freshman shooting guard Trey Alexander on Friday night. I had heard quite a bit about him being one of the top 2021 prospects in the Midwest and just happened to be in Oklahoma City, so I stopped by Heritage Hall high school to see the 6-foot-3 scorer.
My first impression is that I liked what I saw and I can easily see Alexander becoming a high major prospect. Now, the competition on Friday night wasn't very good as Alexander and his teammates rolled to a 96-38 win, but I was at least able to get a look at what he brings to the table during a 30-point outing.
Alexander has good size for a freshman shooting guard, he's also a good athlete with long arms. He handled the ball well, looked comfortable as a jump shooter and looks to have tons of room to grow with his game. Oklahoma State has already offered and Oklahoma has been in. I imagine many more in Big 12 country will get to know him before he's done and he's got a chance to a guy that is well known nationally before his high school days are done.
5. HEALTHY NUMBER OF WEEKEND VISITORS
There were several key visitors over the weekend, here's some of the bigger names who were out and about.
After visiting Indiana earlier this season, 2018's top ranked undecided player Romeo Langford was on the move over the weekend. Down to the Hoosiers, Kansas and Vanderbilt, Langford made the trip to Vanderbilt on Saturday for the Commodores' win over Florida. While there, he was joined by potential teammates five-star Darius Garland and four-star Aaron Nesmith, who have already signed on from the class of 2018.
Clemson was expecting a big contingent of visitors when they hosted Duke on Sunday. In state 2019 five-stars Josiah James and Christian Brown were expected along with others like 2019 four-stars Trey McGowens and Patrick Williams, 2019 Rivals150 forward Jaelyn Withers and top 30 2020 wing B.J. Boston.
Baylor hosted a nice crew with four-star prospects Drew Timme, Kevin McCullar and L.J. Cryer coming through for its win over Texas Tech. Louisville had 2020 five-star forward Jaemyn Brakefield, 2019 four-star David Johnson and potential big time 2021 point guard Zion Harmon among their guests as it hosted North Carolina.