The rule’s impact might be strongest on the borderline players who in previous years could benefit from feedback from NBA teams before making decisions.
The past two years, the NCAA allowed early entrants until the second week in May to decide to return to school. That still gave them some time to explore their options: They could work out for pro teams, find out where they must improve and then come back to college.
Pittsburgh guard Tray Woodall says that’s something he might have tried this spring, after a disappointing junior year in which he averaged 11.5 points but missed 11 games with a groin and abdominal injury while his team struggled. Because the rule change essentially removes that option, he says he’s definitely returning to the Panthers next year.
“Since the time period has been shortened, I’m not able to get the evaluation to see what I could possibly work on,” Woodall said. “Especially playing in a tournament like (the CBI) because it ends so late and guys in the Final Four, they probably only got a couple days now. It’s tough. You’ve just got to know if you’re going or not now.”
For those determined to enter the draft, the new rule isn’t that big of a deal, Baylor coach Scott Drew said.
“I think for people coming out early, I mean, if you’re not sure where you’re going to go, why are you coming out?” Drew said. “Our philosophy is, when we know you’re going to be a first-rounder and you have an idea where you’re going to go, that’s much different than somebody hoping to be a first-round pick.”
North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall is pegged as the top point guard in the draft. His father, Dennis Marshall, said his son knew he had to be “100 percent sure” of his choice.
“If you want to go to the NBA, I think you have to know that and have to be confident in that,” Dennis Marshall said. “I don’t like the idea of `testing the waters’ or guys taking a month to figure it out. I think it’s something if you’re going to do it, you have to know. You have to be confident, believe you can be good enough and handle it mentally.”
And there’s possible workaround for the undecided: There’s nothing to stop someone from saying next week that he’s coming back to school _ and then going pro two weeks later.
That’s one reason Kentucky coach John Calipari _ who won his first national championship with a roster full of early-entry candidates _ says he’s only paying attention to one of the deadlines.
“We’re not going to worry about the (NCAA) date. Our guys will tell me when they want to tell me,” Calipari said. “They have until … whenever the date is, to make a decision by the NBA standards. That’s the only one we’re going to think about.
“So if they want to wait to make a decision by the 27th when they have to by the NBA, that’s when they’ll make it. We’re not even _ I don’t even know the other date, nor do I care.”
AP Basketball Writers Aaron Beard in Chapel Hill, N.C.; Dan Gelston in Philadelphia and Stephen Hawkins in Waco, Texas; and AP Sports Writers Colin Fly in Lexington, Ky.; Bob Baum in Phoenix and Will Graves in Pittsburgh contributed to this report.