One of the biggest changes in college basketball last spring was the move of the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline to April 10th, a week after this season’s national title game and a day before the beginning of the spring signing period.
Twitter was abuzz on Thursday morning due to the mass confusion regarding the deadline, with the NBA’s declaration deadline being April 29th.
Luckily Draft Express provided some good information on the process, with the first deadline of note coming on April 3rd. That’s the last day that possible early entrants can send in a request for info from the NBA’s Undergraduate Advisory Committee.
That doesn’t leave college players much time to make a decision in regards to staying in the Draft or returning to school, which could put prospects in between a rock and a hard place.
The deadline last season was May 8th, and while there wasn’t much time for players to work out for NBA teams and get an assessment of their prospects they at least had time.
With NBA teams entering the stretch run for playoff berths, how much time do they truly have to evaluate players and give them solid information?
Last year college players had until May 8th to evaluate their professional options, which gave them about a week to work out for NBA teams and gather feedback about their NBA draft stock. College players (like their international counterparts, who are not bound by the NCAA’s rules) used to have until ten days before the draft (this year June 18th) to do their research and gather as much information as possible before making such an important decision for their future.
What this essentially means is that there is no more “testing the waters” anymore.
And for the four teams who advance to New Orleans for the Final Four, players will likely have to balance their NBA Draft decisions with preparation for the biggest game(s) of the season.
While the NCAA’s comment on the new deadline focused on keeping players in the classroom for the spring semester, it’s pretty clear that coaches knowing their roster for the following season as soon as possible had an impact as well.
With the old rules players could “dip their feet” into the NBA Draft pool in hopes of getting a good feel of where they may end up going.
Now they’re essentially jumping into the deep end of the pool from the start, and they better be able to “swim”. That likely means more decisions that won’t make much sense to college basketball fans.
Photo: Grambling State guard Quincy Roberts