KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Commissioner Bob Bowlsby says the Big 12 Tournament is "without question the best college basketball tournament in the United States," but the landscape of college basketball could be changing.
NBA superstar Lebron James and former President Barack Obama have been among the recent cries to increase developmental league opportunities for players not interested in college basketball. ESPN reports the NBA’s commissioner is looking at eliminating the rule requiring players to attend one year of college.
Elite "one and done" blue-chippers often end up at schools like KU and in power conferences like the Big XII.
Calvin Thompson was drafted in the NBA after leaving KU as the team’s fourth all-time leading scorer.
“I didn’t think about pro ball until my junior year in college," Thompson said before the Kansas City Tornadoes took the floor Tuesday night. "I wanted to go to college to get an education."
Now, he coaches the North American Premier Basketball League team. It’s a developmental league not affiliated with the NBA or NCAA that allows players to enter right out of high school. T
But Thompson has only filled his roster with former college athletes so far.
"Get your education," he said. "If you are talented enough, the chips will fall where they may."
The Commission on College Basketball, chaired by Condoleezza Rice, will submit a final report on NCAA players and member institutions' relationships with outside entities and the NCAA's relationship with the NBA.
Bowlsby said he can’t predict what the future holds, but he believes in the power of college scholarships.
“It’s had a profound effect on millions of kids over the years, so we need to recognize that it’s a unique model that only exists in the United States and we want to do everything to keep it strong," Bowlsby said.