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Former UK standout Rex Chapman weighs in on one-and-done

Former Apollo High School and University of Kentucky basketball star Rex Chapman, left, and fellow UK basketball player, Bobby Watson, right, share a laugh Thursday, July 25, 2013, before being inducted into the Owensboro Walk of Fame at a ceremony at Owensboro Country Club. (AP Photo/Messenger-Inquirer, Gary Emord-Netzley, Messenger-Inquirer)

Former Apollo High School and University of Kentucky basketball star Rex Chapman, left, and fellow UK basketball player, Bobby Watson, right, share a laugh Thursday, July 25, 2013, before being inducted into the Owensboro Walk of Fame at a ceremony at Owensboro Country Club. (AP Photo/Messenger-Inquirer, Gary Emord-Netzley, Messenger-Inquirer)

BY MARK MATHIS Messenger-Inquirer

Rex Chapman has his opinions on one-and-done recruiting and team building, and Chapman definitely has a unique perspective on the subject.

The former Apollo High School All-State star was a major force for two years at the University of Kentucky, and he left after his sophomore season in 1988 to go early into the NBA Draft.

“There was a lot going on at UK when I came out,” Chapman said. “I would have loved to have stayed a little longer, but it was the right time for me to go.”

Chapman was the first player ever selected by the Charlotte Hornets franchise. Chapman went on to play for 12 years and four different NBA teams. Chapman stayed heavily involved with the game after retiring as a player, working as a commentator, director of basketball operations for the Phoenix Suns and as vice president of player personnel with the Denver Nuggets.

He was at the Owensboro Country Club last week for his induction to the Owensboro Walk of Fame. He was asked about the one-and-done recruiting methods that UK coach John Calipari has made a staple of his four years in Lexington.

Former UK standout Jeff Sheppard had weighed in on the one-and-done subject at the UK Convention in Franklin, Ohio. Sheppard, the Most Outstanding Player of the 1998 Final Four where UK won the national championship, said he wanted to see players stay longer at UK.

Chapman was in agreement with that sentiment.

“I wish there was a 20-year-old rule, and I would like to see kids stay longer than that,” Chapman said. “It is hard for teenagers to go in and play against grown men. I would love to see something changed along those lines.

“I don’t want to mince words, but that is a bad rule. Most kids have no business doing it. Now, you’ve got Anthony Davis? Fine. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist? Fine. But you can’t tell me that Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague wouldn’t have enjoyed a better year last year, playing college basketball. Lamb might have led the country in scoring last year. Marquis Teague played on a team (Chicago Bulls) that was without their top player, point guard Derrick Rose, and (Teague) barely got on the court last year. (Teague) is doing fine, but it’s going to take him a little longer, and he could’ve enjoyed a terrific year.”

Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Lamb and Teague were key players on the UK 2012 national championship team.

It was almost a given that Chapman would play in the NBA when he was at UK, it was just a matter of when he would make himself available for the draft. If he was at the same level today that he was when he graduated from Apollo, there might have been speculation over Chapman being a one-and-done player.

“If I was coming out of high school now, they would’ve talked about me going to the NBA,” Chapman said. “I weighed 165 pounds, there was no way. I would have been broken in two and probably been out of the league in three years. It’s different. It’s a man’s league.”

Chapman also agreed with his friend Sheppard about UK fans wanting to see their players take time to develop.

“For a school like Kentucky, fans want to get to know the players, that is just the nature of the beast,” Chapman said. “It is tougher to do that with the one-and-done rule. That’s coming from a selfish standpoint. But from a realistic standpoint, for most players, you need a couple of years of college to adjust and become a little more mature. I would love to see steps taken by the NBA and the NCAA, but I don’t see it happening.”

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  1. Larry Pup

    I think most everyone agrees with him that the rule needs to be changed. Until then it is what it is.

  2. mark

    what does Lamb have to do with the one and done rule?

  3. Rob

    Very selfish of UK fans to expect such talent to stay and chance injury for a shot to win a title that, frankly, only the fans care about. This is now a “players first” program, which translated means NBA factory. These players don’t come to wear the blue and white for Kentucky and win a title, most know NOTHING about UK pre-Calipari. They just want to improve their draft stock and get out hopefully after one year. The great players get picked up by awful teams like Wizards, Kings, Pelicans but make bank and the good players fall late to teams like the Bulls, Thunder and Rockets where they make less but develop under winners like D Rose, KD, etc. Win-win for the players, crapshoot for fans.

  4. Ira

    It’s a “Mans game in pro football” as well, but you can’t go pro till after your RSsoph yr or your JR season is over. TX A&M Manzel and Clowney from USCjr as examples. Basketball could do this as well, but it all comes down to money in basketball, not what is best for the player. The NBA has no interest in looking out for that.

  5. King Ghidora

    It really isn’t the NBA that wants the one and done rule. It’s the NBA player’s association that insists on it. They are made up of a lot of players who apparently feel that time spent in college is a waste for many player who could be making big money instead. They think they are helping their fellow players.

    I don’t really. Sure there are the few that can go straight into the league out of high school and make it big. But like Chapman said, it’s a man’s game. And they really don’t get enough playing time to improve their game from high school to pro level even with one year of college ball. Shooting over an opposing center who’s 6’5″ maybe or even less is a whole lot different than trying to drive and score against a front line that averages 6’11” and there are teams that big in the NBA. Let’s talk about a team like the Celtics with Larry Bird playing. Bird played small forward at 6’9″, McHale was 6’10” and Parrish was 7′. That’s an average of 6′, 10 1/3″. You just can’t adjust to that in high school or even in college unless you play the premier teams (like UK). Plus those NBA guys aren’t slow and they have skills they have worked on for years. They get paid big bucks to develop those skills.

    So how does a kid learn to play against talent like that? By playing college ball a few years. Almost every kid going into the NBA benefits from at least one extra year of college. Some take 4 years to develop.

    But is it fair to make the ones that can play wait? Not really. That’s why things are like they are. Sure they have the D league but nobody makes their name a household word in the D league. Few even come out of that league to make it really. But a big name can mean big bucks for players like Davis. He’s already doing commercials. He went to the Olympics too and there’s no way he would have made that team as a straight out of high school player. He would have been just another guy who almost made it most likely. It’s very, very hard to go pro early especially if you aren’t strong anyway. Players need to let their bodies mature and IMO they can make more money by establishing themselves as a big name player in college.

    I have no problem with the things Chapman said BTW. He was polite and didn’t hurt the team. I wish some other players would learn how to express their opinion without stepping on toes and causing damage.

  6. BobbyBlue

    When Calipari wins another title Shitshevski,Old Roy,Slicktino,Self,and other powerful,and jealous Boobie Knights of the coaching profession,plus every talking head that hates UK, will raise such a stink,and call in markers,untill that rule is changed,but not before that happens !

    Rex Chapman certainly shows a lot more common sense in his selection of words then Shepherd did.

  7. JimHarris

    Rex speaks well and intelligently—for an NBA admin type person. And I agree with him all the way.

    But who can blame the NBA players for demanding the one-and-done? So many of them come from very poor financial circumstances. A year or three earlier in their young lives can mean a lot when they go from poverty to buying Mom a nice home, car, etc., almost over night. I’d be the last to criticize them. Most of us will work a lifetime and not make as much money as these top youngsters will make immediately. Not right for organizations to keep them from their opportunities if they have the required physical and mental talents.

  8. Beauford Scott

    Everyone has an opinion, and Rex’s has lots of merit. I think 99% of the coaches would pretty much agree…BUT until the rule is changed, it is what it is. I would rather have these one and done studs in a UK uniform than to play against them. I think you must recruit a “blend ” of studs and multiple year players and Cal is doing this..He is just having a lot more luck at getting players in the NBA than getting and keeping role players..

  9. ruppsrunt

    Rex had input as a representative for an NBA team. HE never whined about 1and done while in management for an NBA team. REX should go WHINE to the NBA, it is the nba rule, and not an ncaa rule. REX talks and whines a nice story, but his past record as a player and then in management demonstrates NO desire to alter the 1 year rule. This just some WHINE, just like shep.

    If either really care they will initiate discussions with the NBA and stop the whine about getting to know players at UK.

    Perhaps both should discuss the uncheaters bogus classes, and corruption going on down tobacco road way. All sorts of ncaa rules being broken, and nary a peep from most media and certainly none from rex or shep. they should WHINE about the $70,000 loan for the dukie, and the fake classes at uncch!!

    Wonder why UK media is so mute about all the tobacco road “activities”? If it wa UK the entire bunch of vultures would be all over it.

    Disgusting best describes the “topics” created by UK media types.


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