Rick Pitino announced during a press conference on Monday afternoon that both Montrezl Harrell and Terry Rozier will be declaring for the NBA Draft.
“They are both leaving,” he told reporters. “100 percent.”
It’s not a surprise that either player is leaving. It was long assumed that Rozier would be off to the NBA after this season, and Harrell actually surprised some folks when he decided to return to school for his junior season.
The Cardinals also lost sophomore guard Anton Gill to transfer on Monday, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.
Rozier finished his sophomore year averaging 17.1 points and 3.0 assists, proving himself to be one of the smoothest scorers in this year’s draft class. A 6-foot-1 combo-guard, Rozier certainly has the athleticism and scoring ability to play in the NBA, but his lack of pure point guard skills limit his upside.
Harrell averaged 15.7 points and 9.2 boards as a junior, although he didn’t exactly improve his perimeter jumper the way that he had hoped. Harrell, who has a future in a Kenneth Faried-esque role at the next level, shot just 9-for-37 from three this season. Three of those nine threes game in the season-opener against Minnesota.
Draft Express currently projects Harrell as a mid-to-late first round pick while they have Rozier slotted in the early second round.
Gill played in 31 games and averaged 2.5 points per game during his sophomore campaign. He had a key stretch against N.C. State in the Sweet 16 in which Gill had three baskets during a six-minute stretch. The sophomore averaged 9.5 minutes per game.
The NBA, NCAA and National Association of Basketball Coaches have teamed up on a proposal that would push back the deadline for early entry candidates to remove their name from the NBA Draft, according to reports from USA Today and ESPN.com.
The date, which is currently in early April, before the spring signing period and just over a week after the national title game, would get pushed back five weeks, to late May. The proposal would request roughly 75 prospects get invited to the NBA Combine, which would be held in mid-May and would give feedback to the players before the withdrawal deadline.
Essentially, the goal would be to signal to any underclassmen considering making the jump to the NBA that if you weren’t invited to the combine, you’re not going to get drafted. It would also give those players a chance to showcase themselves in front of NBA front office types and get direct feedback on their draft standing.
In other words, it’s an effort to give these kids as much information as possible to make what amounts to the most important decision of their lives.
This is a very, very good thing. The way the system is currently set up is atrocious for the players. They have to make an uninformed decision months before the draft and prior to NBA teams really starting to focus on what they are looking for in the draft. The rule was changed three years ago, as college coaches complained about how leaving the status of potential pros up in the air hurt their team. With a finite number of scholarships available, the coaches didn’t want to have to go into the summer not knowing whether they were going to get a player back or not.
Before the rule was changed, the NCAA used the NBA’s withdrawal deadline, with is ten days before the actual draft.
In his first months at the helm as NBA commissioner, Adam Silver stated on multiple occasions that he would like to see the NBA increase its age limit to 20 years old and require that American early entries be at least two years removed from high school before having the ability to play in the NBA. The National Basketball Players Association doesn’t have the same opinion on this topic, with NBPA executive director Michele Roberts stating last month that the NBA should be happy with its current “one and done” system.
On Thursday, NBPA general counsel Gary Kohlman not only noted that the union won’t have the same view of this topic when the two sides negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement but also had some strong words in regards to the current situation according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press.
It’s safe to say that Kohlman isn’t a fan of players having to wait a year before being eligible for the NBA Draft.
“If they were white and hockey players they would be out there playing. If they were white and baseball players they would be out there playing,” Kohlman said. “Because most of them are actually African-American and are in a sport and precluded from doing it, they have to go into this absurd world of playing (college basketball) for one year.
“That’s just total complete hypocrisy.”
Kohlman made the remarks while appearing on a panel about college athletics at a sports law conference sponsored by the firm Cozen O’Connor.
Many would counter Kohlman’s argument by stating that the limits in hockey and baseball are those negotiated by their respective owners and players’ unions. The NFL still has its rule that requires entrants to be three years removed from high school, and like the NBA the majority of its players are African-American.
During the last round of collective bargaining in 2011 the NBPA pushed for the age limit to be lowered to 18 years old, which would allow young players to enter the draft directly out of high school. Whether or not there’s a change in either direction depends upon how much of a priority the age limit is when the current CBA expires in 2017.
But regardless of what happens in 2017, the NCAA remains in a position where they can only react to what the NBA and its players union decides to do. So while some of the powers that be discuss the possibility of having freshmen in men’s basketball and football sit out to focus on their academics, to make a move (in basketball at least) would be a risky decision without knowing what the NBA will do.