Column: D-League better than one-and-done college game, ya feel me?

Samuel Gordon

Rodney Williams had a ho-hum Gophers career and now spends his days toiling away in the NBA Developmental League — the closest thing the NBA has to a farm system.

If Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has his way, though, top NBA prospects will soon be joining him.

Cuban, known for being overtly outspoken, said in an interview last weekend that the D-League is a better option than college basketball for developing prospective NBA players.

Cuban cited the one-and-done mentality of college stars, adding that the D-League would provide an environment more conducive to professional development.

He’s spot-on. Though Minnesota doesn’t typically get these one-and-done players, it’s a widespread issue in college sports and is bad for the college game.

In this day and age, top prospects go to college strictly to play ball. There’s absolutely no incentive to go to class when millions of guaranteed dollars are waiting for these guys at the next level.

The schools bring these guys in, trivialize the education and cash out on their behalf come NCAA tournament time.

The NCAA tournament’s television rights alone are worth $11 billion.

College basketball essentially operates as a middleman that delivers guys to the league, whether they’re ready or not.

If guys instead opted for the D-League, they could prepare for the NBA grind without having to worry about eligibility and any sort of academic components — minutiae for future NBA stars.

While the D-League isn’t nearly as popular as college basketball, the skill level as a whole is better. And players are paid for their services — something the NCAA still hasn’t figured out.

In a perfect world, the NBA would revise its draft policy and optimize the college and pro game in the process.

Under the current NBA collective bargaining agreement, potential draftees must be at least one year removed from high school to be eligible to collect an NBA check.

That rule paved the way for the one-and-done era.

Some guys are ready to be pros at 19, but some guys aren’t — and they struggle to find their footing after they’re drafted.

If a guy is ready to be a pro at 18, he should be able to pursue an NBA career.

And if a guy commits to a college, he should be required to stay a minimum of three years.

That would create more parity in college basketball and would allow teams and players to develop together.

Ya feel me?