Marcus Smart

April 16th is NBA Draft’s withdrawal deadline, underclassmen still have 12 days to declare

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Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart is the nation’s most highly-regarded NBA Draft prospect that has yet to announce where he’ll play his basketball next season.

“I have not made a decision yet,” Smart told NewsOK.com on Monday evening about whether or not he will enter the NBA Draft. “I’m still talking with my parents, the team, Coach Ford, just trying to get some things situated and get more information to make my decision.”

He went on to say that his decision will be “soon, but not that soon”, which is fine, because he’s got time.

The deadline to enter the NBA Draft is April 28th. That’s a rule that was put in place by the NBA and has nothing to do with the NCAA.

(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)

The NCAA’s rule is that any player that has entered the NBA Draft with eligibility remaining and that hasn’t signed with an agent must withdraw their name from consideration by April 16th — which is today — or lose their collegiate eligibility.

That rule can confuse people.

Essentially, what happened was that coaches at the college level were fed up with having to wait until mid-June to find out what their roster would look like for the following season. It created problems for them projecting how many scholarships they would have available and made it difficult to recruit pieces to replace the players that would be leaving. If, hypothetically, Adreian Payne entered the draft without hiring an agent back in those days, Tom Izzo would be left hanging. He could try to find a recruit to sign to fill the front court void that Payne would be leaving, but it would be difficult to convince that player to enroll without knowing just how much playing time would be available.

So the coaches moved to reduce the amount of time that a player could test the waters. At first, they pushed the date the withdraw from the draft up to May 8th, giving players all of a week and a half to make the most important decision of their lives. Last year, the withdrawal date was move up further, to coincide with the first day of the spring signing period. That eliminates any possibility of testing the waters for these athletes.

Which means that the NBA’s April 28th deadline is now the most important day on the calendar. That’s when college teams will find out whether or not they are getting their best players back.

So don’t celebrate yet, Cowboy fans. There’s no guarantee that Smart is going to be back in Stillwater next season. Just like there’s no guarantee that Kelly Olynyk is returning to Gonzaga or Isaiah Austin is returning to Baylor or Trey Burke’s supporting cast — Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr. — is returning to Michigan.

You still have 12 days to sweat it out.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: