College basketball underclassmen have been marching in line to declare themselves for the NBA Draft — 22 (and counting) so far.
Still no word from Stillwater, where Marcus Smart, Markel Brown and Le’Bryan Nash have all considered making the leap.
In reality, Brown and Nash aren’t drawing any first round love — and in most cases, no second round love, either, in the mock drafts – so their returns to Oklahoma State seem pretty secure. And both have things they can work on.
For Brown, sources say, NBA executives recognize the improvements he’s made and can see him playing in the league in the future, but they’d like to see him build strength and stamina to handle the grind of the pro game, after he appeared to wear down late in his junior season.
For Nash, it’s a familiar to-do list, revolving around more consistent intensity and production. Nash made great strides as a sophomore, particularly late in the season, accepting who he is as a player and his role. Now it’s on him to do it over the course of a full season.
That brings us to Smart, who is being projected for a top-five pick in this draft, yet has been rumored to be wrestling with a very difficult decision on whether to stay or go. And his delay in making an announcement would only seem to confirm such reports.
We’ve examined the factors that make this a difficult decision for Smart, and you can read my story on it here. How long could this drag out? It could get very interesting Monday, when Smart is due in Oklahoma City to accept the Wayman Tisdale. If he hasn’t announced by then, he’ll surely be peppered with questions.
Dates to know:
April 10 was the deadline for players to apply for an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee. The committee gives underclassmen an indication of their draft stock. Smart, Brown and Nash all applied.
Monday, players who did apply will receive their evaluations.
Tuesday, players who did apply face an NCAA deadline on whether they intend to remove themselves for draft consideration and remain eligible at their schools. This appears to be a bit of a false date, as players who declare to enter the draft, then change their minds, are typically allowed to return to school as long as they have not hired an agent.
April 28 is the NBA deadline for underclassmen to declare they will enter the draft.
May 21 is the date of the Draft lottery, when the order of the non-playoff teams draft position will be determined.
June 17 is the NBA deadline for those early entry players to withdraw from the draft.
June 27 is the NBA Draft.