Bo Ryan’s name is making the media rounds this morning after the Wisconsin coach had some interesting comments on a couple items following their national title game loss to Duke on Monday. After ripping the officiating, he proceeded to deliver another not-so-subtle remark on the state of college basketball, specifically addressing one-and-done players, or “rent-a-players” as Ryan called them during his postgame press conference.
It was clearly a direct shot at Duke’s talented freshman trio of Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow. The three were part of a freshmen scoring barrage for the Blue Devils, with first-year players scoring a whopping 60 of the team’s 68 points in capturing the program’s fifth national title. As one-and-done players continue to be a hot topic of debate in college basketball, Wisconsin has been one of the few programs that has not sent freshmen to the NBA, leading Ryan to make the following emotionally-charged comments:
Every player that’s played through the program, okay, we don’t do a rent-a-player. You know what I mean? Try to take a fifth-year guy. That’s okay. If other people do that, that’s okay.
I like trying to build from within. It’s just the way I am. And to see these guys grow over the years and to be here last year and lose a tough game, boom, they came back. They said what they wanted to do, they put themselves into that position, and they won’t forget this for a long time. I told them that’s life. Wait till you get a job. Wait till you start the next 60 or 70 years of your life. It’s not always going to work out the way you would like it to. But you measure a person by what it takes to discourage them.
Ryan has quietly addressed the one-and-one phenomenon in the past but has never made such powerful remarks as those on Monday night. Was his point valid in that Wisconsin doesn’t do rent-a-players?
While it’s partially accurate, it should be noted that Ryan has repeatedly attempted to lure elite 5-star potential one-and-dones to Madison over the last decade but has been largely unsuccessful. Although it’s impossible to know what is said behind closed doors and Ryan might inform the recruit that he will not support leaving for the NBA after one season, it appears to be a very bitter and hypocritical comment.
Over the last four years, Ryan has offered the likes of Diamond Stone (Maryland – 2015), Kevon Looney (UCLA – 2014), Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State – 2014) and even one player that did come to Wisconsin in Sam Dekker. While Dekker has stayed through his junior year and the other three players have not yet left for the NBA, all four have (or had) the potential of being one-and-done players.
Ryan was clearly riled up following an emotional game, particularly one in which he did not agree with the officiating, therefore his comments might have not reflected his true emotions but they were certainly ones that will ruffle feathers across the college basketball world.