More players likely to stay in draft

April, 16, 2010
NCAA coaches wanted to push the early-entrant withdrawal deadline up a month so they would have more time to plan for the next season.

They got their wish. Underclassmen have less than two weeks to make a decision on whether to stay in the draft.

But coaches might want to reconsider this rule next season.

Multiple NBA and college sources expect a number of the underclassmen to stay in the draft with only 10 days to conduct workouts before an NCAA-mandated withdrawal date. The NBA hasn't touched its date to withdraw from the draft of 10 days before the draft, but that is essentially moot with the NCAA's decision.

Underclassmen won't have the Chicago pre-draft camp May 20-21 to evaluate whether they might be worthy of the first round or high second round. Most teams, especially playoff teams, won't conduct workouts in that week and give realistic appraisals to the players and/or a potential agent.

That means more poor decisions, and as one NBA personnel director said Thursday, the D-League will be flooded with younger players who would have had eligibility remaining had they decided to return to school. The fear of a lockout in 2011 in the NBA certainly has stoked players' deciding to depart.

As of this writing, there were three major names who hadn't made up their mind yet: Georgetown's Greg Monroe, Duke's Kyle Singler and Florida State's Solomon Alabi. All three would be in the first round if they decide to declare. Monroe would be a lock for the lottery.

The effect of each one's declaring would be significant. Losing Monroe takes the Hoyas from a potential Big East title contender to a middling Big East team that still has a chance to make the NCAAs, especially in a 96-team field, but that would lack experience in the post.

Singler makes Duke the likely preseason No. 1 and would give it a chance to repeat as national champion. The Blue Devils can absorb Singler's loss with the development of the Plumlee brothers, Miles and Mason, and the arrival of Kyrie Irving and the eligibility of Seth Curry to join Nolan Smith. But losing Singler takes away a mismatch, scoring and plenty of experience, bringing Duke back to the pack.

Florida State was an NCAA team with Alabi this past season. Even though the Seminoles continue to recruit well, it's hard to see how Alabi's absence wouldn't have a significant effect on the Seminoles' chances of a top-five ACC finish. The possibility of expansion to 96, though, lessens the blow and makes it still possible Florida State would dance.

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Darius Miller
Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesDarius Miller returns to a revamped Kentucky team.

Kentucky took the biggest hit of any team, likely losing five players to the draft early. The influx of new recruits led by Brandon Knight, Enes Kanter and Stacey Poole joining returner Darius Miller means Kentucky can still be a player, albeit not talented or experienced enough to be a title contender.

Kansas was expecting to lose Cole Aldrich, and seeing Xavier Henry follow wasn't a shock. There is still plenty left for the Jayhawks to be a national contender with the return of the Morris twins, Marcus and Markieff, and Tyshawn Taylor.

North Carolina can take losing Ed Davis with the development of John Henson toward the end of last season and the addition of Harrison Barnes.

Georgia Tech knew it was losing Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal to the draft. The frontcourt will be considerably younger and inexperienced, but there is a core returning that makes the Yellow Jackets viable in a 96-team field.

Baylor can withstand the loss of Ekpe Udoh because of the arrival of Perry Jones. Udoh is more experienced than Jones, but Jones is much more of a polished product upon arrival.

Ohio State knew Evan Turner was gone. The Buckeyes have the rest of the backcourt returning and signed the top recruiting class in the country, per ESPN Recruiting, led by big man Jared Sullinger. No one will weep for the Buckeyes. They'll be in the thick of the race.

Cincinnati wasn't naive. Lance Stephenson was going to be a one-and-done player. The Bearcats had him for one season and now he's gone.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim took Wes Johnson from Iowa State knowing full well he would be in uniform for one eligible season, two including the practice season. He's gone, and the Orange are still fine with an elite recruiting class (Fab Melo, Dion Waiters and C.J. Fair head the list) and a star in the making in Kris Joseph. Losing senior Andy Rautins is more of a concern, but that was known, as well.

Memphis lost Elliot Williams, but that's OK with a top-three recruiting class led by Will Barton and Joe Jackson.

Vanderbilt lost its major inside threat when A.J. Ogilvy declared. He can't be replaced easily.

Who could get hurt the most by a player staying in the draft?

Butler: If the Bulldogs don't get Gordon Hayward back, Butler won't be a national title contender. The core of Shelvin Mack, Matt Howard and Zach Hahn can still win the Horizon League and be a tourney team, but it won't contend for the title.

BYU: The Cougars have a shot to be the Mountain West Conference champs and a real threat to go deep in March if Jimmer Fredette returns. If he doesn't, the Cougars lose their star player and best threat with no one comparable.

Purdue: Robbie Hummel is recuperating from a torn ACL. If JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore stay in the draft, the Boilermakers won't win the Big Ten or compete for the title. If everyone is back, the Boilermakers can be preseason No. 1 or 2 in the nation.

West Virginia: Devin Ebanks could have been gone last season. Now he's likely out with senior Da'Sean Butler. That's two huge holes to fill offensively but more importantly a void on defense because of Ebanks' lengthy reach. But this is a Bob Huggins team, and I wouldn't fret the possibility that the Mountaineers won't be a pest in the Big East again.

Texas: If Avery Bradley stays in the draft, the Longhorns lose potentially their most productive scoring guard. But the Longhorns have always had depth on the wing. They won't have that breakout scorer with the return of Varez Ward, Dogus Balbay, J'Covan Brown and Jai Lucas. But at least they'll have numbers.

Xavier: If Jordan Crawford stays in the draft, the Musketeers drop from A-10 favorite status.

Ole Miss: Terrico White and Chris Warren give the Rebels the top backcourt in the SEC. If White is gone, the Rebels could be back in the NIT.

Florida: Alex Tyus can't seriously be thinking of staying in the draft, can he? If he returns, the Gators will have a quality team that can compete for the SEC title with guards Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton and forwards Chandler Parsons and Vernon Macklin returning to go along with recruits Patric Young and Casey Prather. The Gators would have a solid team with Tyus back. If he stays in the draft, it's just one less experienced player.

Illinois: Demetri McCamey shouldn't be considering staying in the draft. If he comes back, the Illini have a stable of guards led by McCamey, D.J. Richardson, Brandon Paul and newcomer Jereme Richmond.

New Mexico: Darington Hobson was Mr. Do Everything for the Lobos. If he leaves, UNM is clearly behind BYU and UNLV -- and likely behind San Diego State, as well -- next season. If he returns, the Lobos will be in the mix for the title again.

Virginia Tech: Malcolm Delaney is the difference between taking the Hokies seriously for the NCAAs. Of course, 96 might change everything even without Delaney.

The biggest winners so far have been Michigan State, which didn't take a hit with the draft, Pitt, which wasn't even close to losing anyone; Villanova, which lost only senior Scottie Reynolds; Kansas State, which lost senior Denis Clemente but didn't lose Jacob Pullen; and Gonzaga, which could have lost Elias Harris to the draft but didn't.

Andy Katz | email

ESPN Senior Writer




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