There are new rules when it comes to early entry into the 2016 NBA Draft. It now works like this: Any player in the country, after their freshman season, can declare for the draft as many as three times, going through the evaluation process and, if they’re good enough, getting an invite to the NBA Draft Combine and working out with NBA teams so long as they A) Do not sign with an agent and B) remove their name from draft consideration within 10 days of the combine ending.
This season that deadline is May 25th.
Which means that we’re going to see a lot of names popping up in NBA Draft early entry lists that don’t really make all that much sense. They’re not all going to get invited to the combine, either, but it’s still the smart move for those with professional ambitions.
Think about it like this: If you’re, say, Makai Mason, Yale’s sophomore point guard, you’re within driving distance of both Boston and New York. So even if he doesn’t get an invite to the combine, if the Knicks, the Nets or the Celtics need an emergency fill-in for a workout, he’d be able to get there within 90 minutes. Then the worst-case scenario is that he’ll return to school knowing what he has to improve on to try and earn a spot in the draft the following year.
That’s a good thing for the kids, even if it does mean that some of the coaches around the country are going to be sipping their maalox on the rocks as they wait to find out if their starting point guard is going to pull their name back out draft consideration.
Don’t pity them, though. They get paid seven-figure salaries to deal with the stress that comes with ensuring that the unpaid, amateur athletes they are mentoring get the most information possible while they try and make the most important decision of their lives.
But that’s another topic for another day.
Back to my point, the only names that truly matter on this list are the ones that have signed with an agent.
So here’s our updated, unofficial list of players that have declared. If there are any additions that need to be made, tweet them to @RobDauster.
SIGNED WITH AN AGENT
Wade Baldwin IV, Vanderbilt, So: Vanderbilt is going to be in rebuilding mode next season. Not only did they lose Kevin Stallings, their head coach, but their star point guard is gone and, in all likelihood, Damian Jones will follow him out the door.
Cat Barber, N.C. State, Jr: Barber is an interesting prospect. He’s not projected as a superstar at the next level, but he proved about all that he could prove this past season and would have to split point guard duties next season with Dennis Smith. He’s likely a second round pick.
Malik Beasley, Florida State, Fr: Beasley was one of the best freshman in the country this past season despite entering the year as a top 50ish recruit. Part of the reason: increased efficiency. He’s a late-first round pick or an early-second round pick.
Deandre Bembry, Saint Joseph’s, Jr: Bembry is a borderline first round pick and one of the more versatile small forwards in the draft. His loss, and the graduation of Isaiah Miles, is a brutal blow for a Saint Joe’s program that reached the second round this season.
Jaylen Brown, Cal, Fr: It was only a matter of time until Brown declared for the draft. A 6-foot-6 power wing, Brown had a solid season, one where he improved greatly by the end of the season. He’s a likely top ten pick and could end up in the top five.
Kareem Canty, Auburn, Jr: Canty left school in the middle of the season and announced that he would be turning pro. I do not expect to hear is name called during the draft.
Robert Carter, Maryland, Jr: Carter had a solid-if-unimpressive junior season with Maryland, as the Terps struggled to a No. 5 seed and a trip to the Sweet 16. He’s versatile and he has good size, the question is who he’ll defend at the next level. He’s a second round pick.
Marquese Chriss, Washington, Fr: Chriss didn’t enroll at Washington as a one-and-done guy, but it became clear by the end of the season that he had a chance to be really good. He’s got all the physical tools to be a star and a long way to go to get there. He’s a prototype boom-or-bust lottery pick.
Deyonta Davis, Michigan State, Fr: Davis was a late-bloomer, not bursting onto the national scene until late in the recruiting process. He’s a physical specimen with all kinds of potential, but he’s more of a project than an instant impact kind of guy. He’s looking at getting picked in the lottery.
Kris Dunn, Providence, Jr: There was no surprise here with Dunn leaving early. Technically, he’s not even leaving early; he graduated from Providence after four years in school. He redshirted due to injury as a freshman.
Henry Ellenson, Marquette, Fr: There is no surprise in Ellenson’s decision to head to the NBA. He put up huge numbers in his one season with the Golden Eagles and is an attractive, versatile offensive talent, but there are some defensive red flags. He’ll likely end up in the top ten.
Kay Felder, Oakland, Jr: Felder was one of the most productive players in the country this past season, averaging 24.4 points and 9.3 assists. He’s only 5-foot-9 and played in a system that was conducive to massive numbers, but he’s talented enough that he’ll likely get picked somewhere in the second round.
Brannen Greene, Kansas, Jr: Greene has some potential as an NBA player given his height and his shooting ability, but I think his decision to the NBA had as much to do with the fact that he and Bill Self kept butting heads. Plus, with Kansas landing Josh Jackson, Greene would be coming off the bench as a senior.
Daniel Hamilton, UConn, So: Hamilton put up big numbers all season long but he’s a less-than-stellar athlete and a guy that never seemed to be the best player on the floor. Second round pick.
Brandon Ingram, Duke, Fr: Ingram could very well end up being the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. He was never anything other than a one-and-done prospect.
Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame, Jr: I think Jackson has a bright future in the NBA. He’s small but super-athletic with deep range, a nice handle and the ability to operate in pick-and-rolls. He’ll be a nice piece off the bench for an NBA team early in his career.
Stefan Jankovic, Hawai’i, Jr: I’m not sure Jankovic is going to be drafted, but it makes sense for him to move on. He spent four years on campus and will have a lucrative professional career wherever he ends up.
Damian Jones, Vanderbilt, Jr: Jones had a disappointing season for the Commodores in 2015-16, as he averaged just 13.9 points and 6.9 boards for projected top 15 team that stumbled their way into the First Four. He’s big and he’s athletic and he’s relatively young for a junior, but he doesn’t have much of a feel for the game or an ability to dominate on the glass.
Derrick Jones, UNLV, Fr: Derrick Jones could legitimately win the NBA dunk contest next season. That’s assuming he’s actually in the NBA. My guess? He goes undrafted.
Skal Labissiere, Kentucky, Fr: Smart move by Labissiere. The right move. I explain that here.
Thon Maker, High School: Maker is an interesting case. He’s had an incredible amount of hype surrounding him — mostly due to the fact that a few uninformed voices declared him the second-coming of Kevin Durant off of a mixtape — but he’s limited as a prospect. He’s a seven-footer with three point range, and the combination of his high-release and bald-head have inevitably led to Kevin Garnett comparisons. But Maker is not a fluid or particularly explosive athlete, and he’s got a long way to go to develop his game to the point that he can have an impact in college. Someone is going to fall in love with his potential in the mid-to-late first round.
Pat McCaw, UNLV, So: McCaw is a really intriguing prospect, with great size, length and skill for a two-guard. He was sensational early in the year but tailed off down the stretch. A border-line first rounder.
Lee Moore, UTEP, Jr: Moore averaged 14.1 points for UTEP last season. That’s good. Not good enough for him to hope for anything more than a late second round flier.
Dejounte Murray, Washington, Fr: Murray is a 6-foot-5 lead guard with a crazy wingspan that can beat a defender off the dribble, but he turns the ball over a ton and he was an inconsistent three-point shooter. He’s got a chance to be a late first round pick, but I think he gets picked in the early second round.
Jamal Murray, Kentucky, Fr: Again, the right decision here by Jamal Murray. He’s a projected top ten pick now that he’s embraced playing off the ball.
Chris Obekpa, UNLV, Jr: Obekpa sat out this past season at UNLV after transferring out of St. John’s. He’s an elite shotblocker … but that’s about it.
Goodluck Okonoboh, UNLV, So: Okonoboh entered the draft after transferring out of UNLV during the midseason. He’s long and he’s athletic, but UNLV was never able to get the most out of him.
Jakob Poeltl, Utah, So: Poeltl was projected as a first round pick after his freshman season, but he returned to school for his sophomore year and turned into one of the more improved players in the country. He added a low-post game and developed his ability to pass out of double teams. He’ll likely be a top ten pick.
Tim Quarterman, LSU, Jr: Quarterman is an interesting prospect, a big wing with handle and three-point range. How much did he hurt his stock playing on a team that was as disappointing as LSU this season?
Jalen Reynolds, Xavier, Jr: Reynolds is 23 years old and already has his degree in hand, so it’s not that much of a surprise that he’s leaving school, but it doesn’t mean he’s necessarily headed to the NBA. Reynolds is a ferocious athlete that never quite developed the way that Xavier had expected him to.
Domas Sabonis, Gonzaga, So: Sabonis is an intriguing prospect. He doesn’t have the physical tools and measureables that scouts love, but he’s a tough lefty that plays hard and rebounds, which are two things that translate well to the next level. He’ll likely be a mid-to-late first round pick.
Wayne Selden, Kansas, Jr: Selden finally showed what made him a McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school, albeit in flashes this season. He’s a projected second round pick.
Ben Simmons, LSU, Fr: Simmons is projected as one of the top two picks in the NBA Draft and could very well end up being the first pick. He just didn’t have much interest in being in college.
Diamond Stone, Maryland, Fr: Stone entered the 2015-16 season as a top ten prospect, but a good-but-not-great freshman season has him looking like a late-first round pick. He’s big and he’s strong, but the perimeter skill he showed off in high school was non-existent at Maryland.
Isaiah Taylor, Texas, Jr: Taylor announced that he plans to sign with an agent and remain in the draft, which is a brutal blow for a Texas team that is now left with a young, albeit talented, back court that lacks a true point guard. Taylor is super-quick and has a terrific floater, but he’s small and his jump shot is lacking, which are two things that will hinder his draft stock. He’s a second round pick if he gets drafted.
Tyler Ulis, Kentucky, So: In October, I would have said there was no way that Ulis would be leaving after this season. But after being named a first-team all-american as a sophomore, Ulis looks like he’s destined to be a first round pick, if not a lottery pick. With Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox coming into the program, it was time for him to move on.
James Webb III, Boise State, Jr: Webb is an intriguing prospect, given his size, athleticism and shooting ability. But his three-point percentage dipped to 22.5% this season and he doesn’t have the kind of length that makes NBA teams excited. He’s a second round pick.
Devin Williams, West Virginia, So: The Mountaineers had a shot at being a top five next team next season. Losing Williams, their best rebounder and low post scorer, is a major, major blow. It should be noted here that he is expected to sign with an agent, but it’s not official just yet.
Stephen Zimmerman, UNLV: A consensus top ten recruit, Zimm opted to stay home and play for UNLV, a team that was so bad their head coach was fired three games into league play. There are tools there to build on. I think once teams get him in workouts he’ll end up being selected higher than the late first round, which is where he’s currently projected.
TESTING THE WATERS FOR NOW
Abdul-Malik Abu, N.C. State, So
Rosco Allen, Stanford, Jr
Tony Anderson, SE Missouri State, Fr
BeeJay Anya, N.C. State, So
Ian Baker, New Mexico State, Jr
V.J. Beachem, Notre Dame, So
Ben Bentil, Providence, So
James Blackmon Jr., Indiana, So
Antonio Blakeney, LSU, Fr
Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson, Jr
Trevon Blueitt, Xavier, So
Amida Brimah, UConn, Jr
Isaiah Briscoe, Kentucky, Fr
Dillon Brooks, Oregon, So
Elijah Brown, New Mexico, Jr
Lamous Brown, Utah State-Eastern, So
Deonte Burton, Iowa State, So
Antonio Campbell, Ohio, Jr
Conor Clifford, Washington State, Jr
Bakari Copeland, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Jr
Charles Cooke, Dayton, Jr
Moustapha Diagne, Northwest Florida, Fr
Cheick Diallo, Kansas, Fr
Tyler Dorsey, Oregon, Fr
D’Andre Downey, Stillman College, Jr
Vince Edwards, Purdue, So
Jimmy Hall, Kent State, Jr
Cedric Happi Noube, Virginia Union, Jr
Josh Hart, Villanova, Jr
Josh Hawkinson, Washington State, Jr
Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin, Jr
Ike Iroegbu, Washington State, Jr
Justin Jackson, North Carolina, So
Julian Jacobs, USC, Jr
Anthony January, Cal State-San Bernadino, So
Kris Jenkins, Villanova, Jr
Que Johnson, Washington State, Jr
Peter Jok, Iowa, Jr
Nikola Jovanovic, USC, Jr
Moses Kingsley, Arkansas, Jr
Travion Kirkendall, Centenary, Fr
Jermaine Lawrence, Manhattan
Dedric Lawson, Memphis, Fr
Marcus Lee, Kentucky, Jr
Emmanuel Malou, Iowa State, So
Makai Mason, Yale, So
Charles Matthews, Kentucky, Fr
Zak McLaughlin, Gadsden State, Fr
Jahmal McMurray, South Florida, Fr
Kennedy Meeks, North Carolina, Jr
Dallas Moore, North Florida, Jr
Jalen Moore, Utah State, Jr
Mamadou Ndiaye, UC Irvine, Jr
Tyrell Nelson, Gardner-Webb, Jr
Malik Newman, Mississippi State, Fr
Marc-Eddy Norelia, FGCU, So
Cameron Oliver, Nevada, Fr
Chinanu Onuaku, Louisville, So
Alec Peters, Valparaiso, Jr
Q.J. Peterson, VMI, Jr
Malik Pope, San Diego State, So
Rodney Purvis, UConn, Jr
Malachi Richardson, Syracuse, Fr
Corey Sanders, Rutgers, Fr
Ingrid Sewa, Arizona Western, So
Pascal Siakam, New Mexico State, So
Caleb Swanigan, Purdue, Fr
Rakish Taylor, Anderson University, Jr
Ethan Telfair, Idaho State, Jr
Trevor Thompson, Ohio State, So
Melo Trimble, Maryland, So
Aaron Valdes, Hawaii, Jr
Mo Watson, Creighton, Jr
Andrew White, Nebraska, Jr
Isaiah Whitehead, Seton Hall, So
Troy Williams, Indiana, Jr
Alex Wintering, Portland, Jr
Zeek Woodley, Northwestern State, Jr
RETURNING TO SCHOOL
Grayson Allen, Duke, So
Dwayne Bacon, FSU, Fr
Chris Boucher, Oregon, Jr
Thomas Bryant, Indiana, Fr
Monte’ Morris, Iowa State, Jr
Svi Mykhailiuk, Kansas, So
Ivan Rabb, Cal, Fr
Devin Robinson, Florida, So
Edmund Sumner, Xavier, Fr
Allonzo Trier, Arizona, Fr