College basketball would be "a lot healthier" if so-called one-and-done players did not exist, Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings said Monday. Instead, the sport should follow college baseball's example: allow prospects to go directly from high school to the professional ranks. But if they choose to go to college, they must stay three seasons before turning pro.
"I think we have kids coming to college right now essentially thinking, 'I only have to be there one year,'" Stallings said. "And I don't think that's in the truest sense of what intercollegiate athletics is supposed to be."
Stallings spoke about one-and-done players in response to a question on the Southeastern Conference coaches teleconference. He did not mention Kentucky, which has become synonymous with the one-and-done player by having 10 in John Calipari's first four seasons as coach. It's widely assumed that the list will grow after this season.
Calipari noted again Monday that Kentucky's freshman-oriented teams are not as far along the learning curve as older, veteran opponents. But he did not embrace the idea of relying less on freshmen in future seasons.
"I'd like to have guys stay for me," he said. "But if the opportunity (to turn pro) arises for them, I'm not going to hold guys back."
Calipari made it seem as though he's helpless to change his recruiting philosophy. He said his choices are "to convince kids to stay that should leave or recruit players who aren't quite good enough" to be elite.
College basketball has no control over the so-called "one-and-done rule." The NBA and its players' association require prospects to be 19 at the time of the draft and one year removed from high school.
Calipari said he hoped the NBA and its players' association amend the rule to require players to be out of high school two seasons before turning pro, an idea new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has endorsed.
Stallings scoffed at the intent of the one-and-done rule.
"We have the notion we can protect these kids from themselves," he said. "I don't really believe that is the case. ...
"For me, if a kid wants to and can go to the NBA out of high school, I say we let him. If good enough, there's no reason he should try to fake everybody by going to college for a year. And if he goes to college, if he stays two or three years, obviously, he has to do some school work. He has to work toward a degree."
Stallings said many prospects, not just the players at the top of recruiting lists, think of themselves as one-and-done players.
"That distorts their approach," the Vandy coach said, "and maybe what the purpose of going to college is."
Calipari balked at the premise of a question that referred to Julius Randle's "problem."
"The kid is averaging a double-double (15.5 ppg, 10.4 rpg)," the UK coach said. "I don't know if he should be averaging 25 and 15."
A moment later, Calipari said of Randle, "We want him to shoot a few more jumpers" to perhaps loosen opposing defenses and/or rev Randle's motor.
Oh, those refs
Calipari declined to speak of the officiating at South Carolina, where he received two technical fouls and an automatic ejection.
"I can't talk about the officials," he said. "No reason to do it."
Calipari did seem to say he believed the referees at South Carolina strayed from this season's well-publicized intention to call games more tightly in order to reduce physical play and increase scoring.
Referees are "supposed to call it closer," he said. "Twenty feet to two feet, it's supposed to be the same."
SEC fines Gamecocks
The SEC fined South Carolina $25,000 because fans rushed the court after the victory over Kentucky.
SEC rules require fines of $5,000 for a first offense to fines of up to $25,000 for a second offense and up to $50,000 for a third and subsequent offenses
South Carolina has been fined for violations of the policy on two other occasions, but more than three years have passed since the last violation in January of 2010. That was when fans rushed the court after the Gamecocks beat then-No. 1 Kentucky 68-62.
Brad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes and Shannon Spake will call the game for ESPN.
Jerry Tipton: (859) 231-3227. Twitter: @JerryTipton. Blog: ukbasketball.bloginky.com.