USC Men's Basketball

Frank Martin: If players choose to come to college, ‘they need to stay in college’

When South Carolina men’s basketball coach Frank Martin has thoughts on something, he often won’t hold back.

One such issue is the NBA age limit, which produced the one-and-done phenomenon, and Martin’s words appeared several times in a wide-ranging story from CBS Sports on the topic. Many basketball coaches favored the baseball model, where players ideally either go pro out of high school or stay three years, but Martin’s ideas were used to look at the larger picture.

“I get frustrated with the way everything is spun,” Martin said. “Everyone wants to blame college basketball, that we’re using these kids. They need to be mad at the NBA that they prevent these kids from going to work.

“Why is that college basketball’s responsibility? ... They make a choice. You know what my advice would be? You better listen to people that are more in-tune with reality and what the truth is, and if not, it’s the United States of America. People open businesses, save their whole lives to open up a business, and a year later they’re bankrupt. They make decisions, they take chances. ... Kids want to listen to people that don’t tell them the truth, they shouldn’t have a safety net.”

He later emphatically said college basketball is not a minor league for the NBA, and the professional league should invest more in its developmental league.

Martin, who led USC to the first Final Four in school history this March, also said he was concerned about the agent factor, especially when players are draft-eligible before going back to school.

Martin came away not advocating for a specific arrangement, but for a clearer separation of the missions of college and professional basketball.

“I’m tired of people saying that, in college basketball, we take advantage of our players to make money,” Martin said. “They need to allow kids, if they want to declare as eighth graders, they should declare. It is what it is. But if they come to college, their choice, not ours, then they need to stay in college. The rule works in every other sport. I don’t know why it’s such a problem in basketball. I’m against the age limit. I’m against one-and-done. I’m against two-and-done. ... That way, whoever wants to be in college, come on. Whoever wants to be a pro with this great D League and all these two-way contracts, go. Go. Go. They can go and play in front of 150 people.”