Can a team of one-and-done freshmen win the National Championship?Carmelo Anthony’s Syracuse team won the title with a team of freshmen and sophomores in 2003.
But that was before the NBA instituted an age limit, and before recruiting “one and done” players became an explicit tactic for John Calipari and other college coaches.
Back then star players feigned that they’d stay in college before bolting to the NBA. Carmelo even said, “Y’all keep chanting one more year — I thought you were supposed to stay in school for four years,” after winning the national title.
Now everyone knows that these guys are only sticking around for two semester, yet they recruit and coach them knowing full well that college is a five-month-long stepping stone to the pros.
We don’t really know if you can build a team this way and win.
But tonight’s game will give us a much better idea.
Kentucky is, by any metric, the best team of “one-and-doners” since that Syracuse squad. They have the consensus overall No. 1 pick, the consensus overall No. 2 pick, and they play with an unselfishness that you rarely see in such a young team.
So if a team this talented and this cohesive can’t win it all, is it even possible to win with a team composed entirely of freshmen and sophomores?
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