The NCAA has made two big changes that apply to the Kentucky Wildcats and any school with potential NBA prospects are are underclassman.
For the past several years, the deadline for players to announce and withdraw their names from the NBA draft in order to return to college basketball the next season has come not long after the previous season ended. That often left players with little time to decide if entering the draft was a smart move or not, but now they'll have more time to evaluate what the best possible decision is.
DI Council pushes back date by which men's basketball players must remove name from NBA draft to 10 days after conclusion of draft combine.— NCAA (@NCAA) January 13, 2016
Students can also enter NBA draft multiple times without jeopardizing eligibility & participate in combine & 1 tryout per NBA team per year.— NCAA (@NCAA) January 13, 2016
The 2016 NBA Draft Combine is currently scheduled for May 11-15, which means the new declaration deadline should now be May 25. That gives players more than a full month to evaluate what the best decision regarding their future should be while also getting a better feel for NBA teams who may be willing to draft them.
While this doesn't mean much to sure-fire talents like Karl-Anthony Towns, it may have an effect on guys with far more uncertainty regarding their draft stock, like say Tyler Ulis, Marcus Lee or even Skal Labissiere.
Ulis and Lee are more likely to go in the second round of this year's draft if they come out, so getting to the combine and even try out for one NBA team will help them know if they'll be selected in the draft.
As for Skal, it will help him learn if an NBA team will still be willing to spend a high draft pick on him and allow him to develop for several years — something he clearly needs — or if he should stay in school for one more season.
In the end, these rule changes are a big win for college players everywhere, and it's good to see an example of the NCAA actually working for the players vs. the far-too-many examples of making the players work for them.