Senator jabs Duke players, laments ‘one & done’ path

Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill waded into dangerous territory for politicians overnight — college sports and the kids who don’t bother going to class.

After Duke beat Wisconsin in last night’s NCAA championship game, McCaskill dismissed the kids from Duke.

Then she tried to backpeddle.

Of course, the NCAA oversees both Wisconsin and Duke and it’s the kids who decide whether there’s enough value in a college degree to go to class and delay entry into the NBA. But, no, it’s not about the kids.

She’s fighting the wrong battle, Deadspin says. If she believes the problem is systemic — it is — why root for one school over the other when they’re both in the same system?

McCaskill’s tweets are stupid on a couple of levels. If Jahlil Okafor had wanted to play for Wisconsin, Bo Ryan would have welcomed him with open arms.

Wisconsin didn’t decide to eschew recruiting players likely to leave after one season out of some moral concern, but because those players don’t want to play for Wisconsin. Anything Bo Ryan says about the virtue of seniors is marketing, an attempt to make his inability to recruit freshman phenoms sound like a positive. No college basketball team is more virtuous than another.

If McCaskill truly is sad about “the one & done thing,” instead of blaming Duke’s players she should recognize that “the one & done thing” is the product of NCAA and NBA collusion.

NBA rules prevent talented high schoolers from declaring for the draft, and the NCAA not paying players assures that the most talented ones leave for the NBA the first chance they get.

Several people said the problem is that the NBA doesn’t allow players to go to the league directly from high school.

“My guys are great,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told CBS this morning. “They go to school and they love Duke.”