Calipari critical of portal: ‘Same as one-and-done’

After the NBA changed its age requirement for draftees to 19 years old in 2006, John Calipari became perhaps the biggest proponent of the one-and-done era, a polarizing chapter in college basketball in which players have leaped to the pros after just one season.

With the growth of the transfer portal in recent years, Calipari said a similar trend is happening again.

“It is one-and-done, too,” Calipari, appearing on “SportsCenter” on Tuesday, said of the portal. “Everybody was mad about a young player coming in and only staying one year. Well, now we’re doing it with older players. It’s the same as one-and-done.”

Calipari said hundreds of players who entered the transfer portal this year were left without scholarships. He also said head coaches are holding on to extra scholarships just in case a transfer might be available, which means “300-500” high school players won’t get scholarships, either.

His solution? Allow players to transfer only once without penalty and to play only four years in a five-year window.

According to NCAA data, of the 1,385 Division I men’s basketball players on scholarship who entered the portal last year, 262 of them were left without a scholarship at a new school.

Calipari also said that the transfer portal has created age gaps between teams.

“We’ve got 26- and 27-year-olds playing 18-year-olds,” he said.

The transfer portal has shaped college basketball in recent years.

In 2021, Baylor won a national title with a group anchored by transfers. In 2022, then-Kentucky star Oscar Tshiebwe won the Wooden Award after transferring from West Virginia. And Kansas is projected to be the No. 1 team in America entering the 2022-23 season after adding former Michigan star Hunter Dickinson.

“The issue becomes: I believe a kid should be able to transfer once without penalties,” Calipari said. “You make a mistake or you’re not where you want to be, I get it.”

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