Arizona coach Lute Olson said Thursday his program’s loss of standout prep basketball player Brandon Jennings to a European professional league has convinced him to adopt a new recruiting strategy.
“It’s a situation now that if someone’s a 'one-and-done,’ we’re not going to pursue them anymore, no way,” Olson said from his Tucson office.
Under NBA rules that won’t expire until the current collective bargaining agreement ends after the 2010-11 season, elite prep players such as Jennings, 18, are unable to join the league until they are 19 and a year removed from their final year of high school.
That mandate has resulted in a slew of top players, including USC’s O.J. Mayo and UCLA’s Kevin Love, playing one college season before bolting for the NBA.
Olson labels the so-called one-and-done situation a “farce,” and is pushing for reform as a member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Olson suggests that elite prep players be given a choice: opt to declare for the NBA draft immediately after high school or be committed to spending a minimum of two years (Olson would prefer three) in college.
As Jennings, a McDonald’s All-American who played the past two seasons at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, awaited the SAT score that would determine his college eligibility, he began pursuing the idea of earning an immediate income through a contract and endorsement deals as a pro in Europe. On Tuesday, Jennings announced he would play overseas.