One of the major points of contention in college basketball in recent years has been the NCAA calendar for early NBA Draft entrants. Wednesday afternoon the NCAA announced that some changes have been made, and they’re alterations that should benefit athletes moving forward.
The withdrawal deadline, which in 2011 was moved to just before the start of the spring signing period (mid-April), has been pushed to ten days following the completion of the NBA’s annual NBA Draft Combine. The combine is held in mid-May (May 11-15 this year), so this year athletes will have until May 25 to make a final decision. This allows them the time to go through workouts with teams and receive more feedback before making the decision to either keep their name in the draft pool or return to school.
In regards to the pre-draft workouts, players are allowed to enter the NBA Draft multiple times without jeopardizing their eligibility, and they can participate in the combined and one tryout per NBA team per year as well. These changes won’t impact guys who are projected to be lottery picks. But for those who may be on the fence or don’t enter the process as high on draft boards, having the ability to get better evaluations can only help them.
In 2009 the NCAA moved the deadline for players to withdraw from the draft to early May, only to move it to just before the start of the spring signing period two years later. That change was sparked by the complaints of some coaches, as they were concerned about what a hasty departure could do to their roster for the next season while also dealing with the spring signing period.
But of all the players who leave school early on any given year, how many are truly surprises? In most instances there’s ample time to address a possible early departure on the recruiting trail, and that will continue to be the case moving forward. Open dialogue can help in these situations, and being able to discuss workouts and feedback from NBA decision-makers can only help the players and coaches as they work through the decision-making process.