Lockout Threat Complicates Draft Decision
In the next month or so, high-caliber underclassmen in college basketball will mull over in earnest whether to enter the NBA draft. For some, the decision will be riskier this year than in the past.
Contentious talks be-tween the NBA and the players union pose the threat of a lockout in 2011, and some collegians might want the immediate payday instead of waiting and earning nothing next year if the league shuts down.
"The likelihood is people will panic" and enter the draft prematurely, agent David Falk, who represented Michael Jordan during his NBA career, said this week. "You should come out when you're ready to make an impact."
Falk said underclassmen expected to be drafted outside the top 10 should go back to school unless they have dire financial needs.
"Most people look at the money for the next year," he said. "You have to look at what a player can earn over the course of a career."
Rookies receive two-year guaranteed contracts. A lockout would shorten their time frame to prove themselves for a much more lucrative second NBA contract, Falk said, adding, "It's more pressure on rookies to make an impression."
One player who might have to think twice is sophomore Devin Ebanks, a 6-9 forward from West Virginia. Coach Bob Huggins has said the chances are very good Ebanks will go pro, according to the Charleston Daily Mail, but at this point Ebanks is not viewed as a consensus high pick on mock drafts at NBAdraft.net and DraftExpress.com.
Players typically don't discuss their draft plans until after their seasons.
Players who enter the draft and don't have agents can withdraw and return to school, but a new NCAA rule means they must do so by May 8. In the past, they had until mid-June.
"They're not going to know by then (what to do)," said New Mexico associate head coach Craig Neal, a former NBA player, scout and assistant coach. "I don't know if kids can get the right information by then."