[Ed. Note: This article originally ran on April 9, but with EJ Montgomery declaring for the draft this morning, now seemed like a good time to repost it.]
With NBA Draft decisions rolling out, now’s a good time to go over the rules and deadlines for early entrants. Let’s start with the rules, which have changed in the wake of the FBI college hoops scandal.
Certified agents are now allowed
After the FBI’s report into bribery in college hoops went public last year, the NCAA voted to change the rules to allow players to be represented by NCAA-certified agents after the season as long as they request an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee (UAC). Agents will be allowed to pay for meals, transportation, and lodging for players and their families during the agent selection process and meetings with teams; however, players must end that relationship if they decide to return to school.
Players who request an evaluation from the UAC will receive written feedback throughout the process, including where NBA executives believe they will be drafted, if at all. Here are the five categories they will use:
- Drafted in the Lottery (i.e., pick Nos. 1-14);
- Drafted in the First Round but outside the Lottery (i.e., pick Nos. 15-30);
- Drafted in the first half of the Second Round; (i.e., pick Nos. 31-45);
- Drafted in the second half of the Second Round (i.e., pick Nos. 46-60); or
- Not drafted
The feedback will start rolling in to players and their coaches around April 1 and continue through the early-entry deadline of April 21. Players who decide to stay in the draft through the Combine will continue to receive feedback through May 29, the NCAA’s deadline to withdraw.
G-League Elite Camp
A new addition to the evaluation process is the G-League Elite Camp, a three-day scouting event in Chicago for the top 40 prospects not invited to the Combine. The top performers from the G-League Elite Camp will also be invited to the Combine.
One Rule That Hasn’t Changed Yet
Still TBD: Undrafted players may return to school
In the fall, the NCAA proposed allowing undrafted underclassmen to return to school as long as they requested an evaluation from the UAC and participated in the Combine. Many outlets have reported that as a new rule change; however, after speaking with an NCAA spokesperson, I found out the proposal is contingent on the NBA and NBA Players Association changing their rules to make players who return to college after the draft ineligible until the end of the following season. I’ve reached out to the NBA for clarification on the matter but have yet to hear back. The rule change is a great idea, but for now, it’s still on the shelf.
End of Season: NBA UAC evaluation requests due
Once a player’s season is over, they can request an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee. Once the evaluation is requested, they can sign an agreement with an NCAA-certified agent.
April 11, 11:59 p.m.: Deadline to request an evaluation from the NBA UAC
April 17-20: Portsmouth Invitational Tournament
Derek Willis participated in this seniors-only event a few years ago; I’d say the odds are high that Reid Travis will do the same.
**April 21, 11:59 p.m.: Early Entry Eligibility Deadline**
By this date, we will know everyone who has declared for the draft.
April 22 – May 29: Early-entry players may participate in NBA workouts
April 26 – May 3: NBA Draft Combine and G-League Elite Camp invitations sent out
The top 60 draft prospects (as voted on by NBA teams) will be invited to the Combine. The next 40 prospects will be invited to the G-League Elite Camp.
May 12-14: G-League Elite Camp, Chicago
The top performers from this camp will receive invites to the Combine. Separately, 40 of the best current G-League players will also work out and scrimmage in hopes of finding a place on an NBA roster.
May 14: NBA Draft Lottery, Chicago
The full draft order will officially be set on May 14, giving the top players a clearer picture on where they may go.
May 14-19: NBA Draft Combine, Chicago
PJ Washington turned heads at last year’s Combine but was told his stock could improve if he returned to school to work on his shooting and conditioning. Now, he’s a projected lottery pick. If any of his teammates receive similar feedback, will they follow his path?
**May 29, 11:59 p.m.: NCAA’s withdrawal deadline**
This is the big one. Ten days after the combine, underclassmen who wish to retain their eligibility must withdraw their names from the draft. Underclassmen can withdraw from the draft twice before exhausting their college eligibility. For example, EJ Montgomery can test the waters this year and next, but if he declares for the draft after his junior season, he must stay in.
June 20: NBA Draft, New York City
Or, as John Calipari puts it, Graduation Day.