This isn’t going to matter for Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram this coming June, or the future versions of Simmons and Ingram that will go high in the first round of the NBA draft. Those guys know their status and make their decision about entering the NBA Draft knowing they will go high and guaranteed money is coming their way.
However, there are other more bubble first-round picks — or second-rounders — who get bad advice from family, unscrupulous agents (and those around them), and just hangers-on who pump the player full of unrealistic expectations. Those guys leave college before they are ready and struggle to find a foothold in professional basketball.
Finally, the NCAA has done something about that — something that should have been done long ago.
This means a player can declare for the draft, go through the NBA Draft Combine, get feedback from teams on where he might go in the draft, then pull out and return to college if he wishes (so long as he doesn’t sign with an agent). Former Brooklyn Nets executive Bobby Marks explained it well.
The NBA Draft Combine in Chicago will take place May 11-15 this year, meaning players will have until May 25 to make a decision.
The withdrawal date had been pushed forward back in 2009 and it benefited coaches in this sense — the player had to decide to stay or go before a major recruiting signing period, allowing a coach to target holes. However, in practice it left coaches watching their best players struggle with decisions in part because some of them didn’t have the best information.
Let’s be clear — plenty of young men are going to hear the NBA’s feedback, know they are not going high, and still keep their names in the draft. That could be because of financial hardship, disliking the college experience (or his coach), just a desire to start getting paid even if it is overseas, or some old-fashioned stubbornness.
Hopefully, for a handful of players a year, this does make a difference — guys will choose to stay in school (ideally getting an education) and come out when they are ready. For those guys, this rule change is both good and long overdue.