Last year, Georgetown's Hollis Thompson and George Washington's Tony Taylor each had until May 8 to investigate their potential NBA Draft stock before deciding to return to school. This year, that window closed a month earlier on April? 10, the NCAA deadline for underclassmen to withdraw from the NBA Draft.
In due course, Indiana freshman Cody Zeller announced Tuesday that he was headed back to school, as did Duke junior Mason Plumlee. Meanwhile, Connecticut sophomore Jeremy Lamb announced he's leaving to go pro.
But there was no official word from Lamb's teammate, freshman center Andre Drummond, who many project to be a top-five pick. Reports say there's an announcement imminent later in the week. There have been no announcements in Lexington, Ky., where the focus this week is on whether Shabazz Muhammad and Nerlens Noel will make for another stratospheric Kentucky recruiting class for coach John Calipari, not on the departure of possible top two picks Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
For those players, there's only one date that matters -- April 29, when the NBA says underclassmen have to declare themselves eligible for the draft. They just can't have any official contact with NBA teams until the league releases its list of those who have declared.
But thanks to the NCAA, the chance for less heralded players to see what NBA teams think of them has all but disappeared while college coaches, to no one's surprise, have fortified their ruling position.
- Craig Stouffer