Bill Self has a vested interest in any NBA age restriction. Every year, he targets the best high school basketball players in the country — players who, from a talent standpoint, might be ready for the NBA while they are still teenagers.
Last decade, the NBA mandated that American players be at least one year removed from high school before entering the NBA Draft. So when new NBA commissioner Adam Silver said this past week that he supports increasing the eligible age to 20 years old, Self certainly has reason to pay attention.
“I would be fine with that,” Self said on Monday during the Big 12 coaches teleconference. “The thing that I personally believe, I think kids should be able to go out of high school. And I really believe that there should be a committee or something that would have these kids evaluated, and if they didn’t fall within what the committee deemed as for-sure locks in the draft, then I would say that those kids have no choice but to go to school.”
Silver, who recently succeeded long-time NBA commissioner David Stern, made his case for a 20-year-old rule on Saturday during NBA All-Star weekend.
“It will lead to a better league,” Silver said. “And I know from a competitive standpoint, that’s something as I travel the league I increasingly hear from our coaches, especially (those) who feel that many of even the top players in the league could use more time to develop even as leaders as part of college programs.”
Self said it would be great, obviously, to have players for at least two seasons, but he also thinks that if kids could leave out of high school right now, there would be fewer one-and-dones. During his KU tenure Self has had two one-and-done players (Ben McLemore had a redshirt season before leaving after his freshman year) and Kansas could have at least two more (maybe three) freshmen leave for the NBA Draft this season.
“Even though it’s not going to happen often,” Self said, “there are going to be some Durants and LeBrons, or something close come along in the future, and I really feel like those kids should be able to provide for their families at age 18.”