Friday, April 25, 2008

Testing the draft not a good thing

ESPN analyst Jay Bilas’ distaste for the NBA draft process for underclassmen was obvious Friday afternoon as he uttered three words – “testing the waters” – that he clearly despises.

Current rules allow underclassmen to declare for the draft and retain their college ability if they withdraw by June 16 – 10 days before the draft – and don’t hire an agent.

Those are the plans North Carolina sophomore guards Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington announced Friday. At least 39 underclassmen have declared for the draft with Sunday’s deadline looming.

Among those who joined Lawson and Ellington in declaring Friday were Missouri’s Leo Lyons and DeMarre Carroll. You ask: Leo Lyons and DeMarre Carroll?


“It’s stupid,” Bilas said of the system. “I think it needs to be redone. All these kids who are declaring without hiring an agent are essentially saying, ‘Hey, I’ll give it a shot and see what happens.’ ”

According to The Sporting News, 21 of the 55 underclassmen who entered last year’s draft later returned to school. Among them were Brandon Rush, who came back to help Kansas win an NCAA title after a pre-draft injury, and Georgetown center Roy Hibbert.

“If you’ve got a system where half of the guys declare and come back, then the system is screwed up,” said Bilas, who lives in Charlotte and scouts draft prospects for ESPN. “If you put some certainty into the process, it would be a lot smoother.”

Bilas isn’t the only critic of the process. Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton complained a while back that the rule gives players who should be concentrating on their academics a reason to get away from school.

Meanwhile, the NCAA’s fledgling Academic Progress Rate system withholds scholarships from teams whose players don’t make progress toward a degree. So the rules squeeze coaches from both directions.

At North Carolina’s basketball banquet on April 17, coach Roy Williams said he already consults enough NBA executives to get a clear picture of an underclassman’s draft prospects. He said Friday that he talked to more executives than ever to help Lawson, Ellington and Tyler Hansbrough – who’s staying in school – decide.

“If we do it the right way, we’re going to get a lot of information,” Williams said at the banquet. “I don’t really know that you can gain much more by ‘testing the waters.’ ”

But on Friday, Williams said he supports Lawson and Ellington. The rules encourage them to do what they’re doing.That’s why Bilas thinks the rules should be changed. – Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

Whats wrong with declaring to see where you stand? In the "regular" world, I would have loved the opportunity go out and be informed of my strengths, weaknesses, and "hire-ability" then given the chance to go correct some things and see if I could make myself a more attractive entity.

Anonymous said...

If the college game suffers because talented players are testing the waters, then people like Jay Bilas don't get paid.