True stories of new draft deadline
For non-seniors testing the NBA draft waters, 2010 was the Year of the Scramble -- to declare for the draft by April 25, gather information about their stock, try to schedule workouts between April 29 and May 7, and then make a major life decision by May 8. This mad rush was the result of the NCAA pushing up the draft deadline from its traditional spot in mid-June, in hopes of solidifying the college landscape just one month after the season's conclusion.
The accelerated deadline might have been good for college coaches, who pushed for it in the first place, but it did a disservice to the draft prospects.
SI.com tracked down six players who navigated the process -- four who came back to school and two who turned pro -- and asked them to share their experiences. And what did we learn?
Few players were able to participate in extensive workouts. BYU's
Nearly all the players felt hurried. Purdue's
The following are edited narrations of each player's draft-deadline retrospective:
"The main reason I put my name in [the draft] was because I found out I'd be able to get a decent amount of workouts during that window. If I wasn't going to get any workouts, then it probably wouldn't have been worth it. And we're fortunate here at BYU -- we had all of our winter semester finals done before the draft window.
"I was able to go to Oklahoma City on Monday [May 3], Boston on Wednesday, then the Nets on Thursday, the Knicks on Friday, and I came home [to Glens Falls, N.Y.] that night. My dad came down on Thursday to meet me, and we stayed in a hotel near the Knicks facility; I had no idea until afterward that my dad ended up having to pay for our hotel room that night, though. Everything else on all the trips was great -- teams covered airfare, hotel, drivers. They'd drop me off at the hotel, tell me to order whatever I wanted from room service, and pick me up in the morning to go to the workout.
"In Oklahoma City, I went against
"As for feedback, it was weird --
"If I had been working out for teams in June, when the draft isn't too far away, someone might have been able to give a guarantee at that point. In this setup, I had to go through four workouts in five days, which was grueling, and then make up my mind."
"The first thing I did was get that report about my stock back from
"I didn't do a single workout for an NBA team during the deadline window, though, because to stay on track to graduate [he's three-fourths done], I needed to finish up everything I had to do in school. And when I put my name in, I was pretty sure I was staying in, so I didn't feel like I had to rush into workouts right away on [April] 29th. But if I was really considering the possibility of going back to school? It would have been hard for me to work out at all during that week -- because with the new rules, that Thursday and Friday [May 6-7] would have been the only time I had available.
"Now that I am in the draft, I have a bunch of workouts scheduled. I'll be with the Pistons on Friday, the Rockets on Saturday, then the Chicago combine, and a big group workout in Minnesota after that. Those are the four main ones, and the goal there is to answer whatever questions, or doubts, people have about me -- mainly, whether I have a consistent jump shot or can guard the wing at the NBA level."
"I didn't have finals during that second week, so I was lucky enough to be available for workouts -- because I was told that if I missed any classes or finals for workouts, I could get suspended for games. Coach [
"I got invited by two teams: Boston, on Wednesday, and then Houston, on Friday. Jimmer Fredette and [Xavier's] Jordan Crawford were in Boston, and [Michigan's]
"Before I even went to Houston, I had to start thinking about what I wanted to decide, because I had to make up my mind by the next day. I was already leaning at that point [towards coming back]. So I flew home Friday night and talked to my parents about it. The information I got from teams in the individual meetings -- where they reviewed your game, and told you how you could improve -- was pretty consistent with what coach Painter had told me, but it was good to hear it myself from the source.
"I think the whole process was too short, though. I really only had a week to try to get information, work out and decide before the deadline. For someone like me, who had a shot at getting into the end of the first round, I would have liked to get looks from more teams.
"In the end, the deciding factor was that we had a lot of pieces coming back to Purdue, and I figured our team could have a pretty successful year if everyone stayed together. By Friday night I already started letting my teammates know I was coming back.
"I was so strong about coming out for the draft that the new deadline didn't really affect me as much as it did other guys. After the season was over, I knew what I wanted to do. I sat down with coach [
"I went to Boston and New Jersey for workouts and the feedback I got from them pushed me to come into the draft even more. I was told that I was one of the most prolific scorers in this year's draft and a lot of teams liked that. [The Celtics and Nets] said we can't see you going into the second round, either, but anything can happen. In Boston,
"I thought about coming back to Xavier because of how much fun I had with my teammates and how much fun March was. And I think a longer deadline would've made things easier -- we wouldn't have been pressing every day to get information -- but regardless of what the date was, I was probably going to stay in, because that's what I wanted to do from the start."
"My coach [
"But the [new draft deadline] made it kind of depressing, or frustrating, because I couldn't get feedback from workouts. With all the classes I had to finish, there were only two days where I could really travel to be seen by NBA teams. I had to do it on the one weekend [during the window], so I went to Oklahoma City that Saturday and Sunday. I can't say how it went from their side, but I think it went well. They just told me that they couldn't tell me anything for sure right then, and said I should follow my heart and do what I think is right. The Pacers also came to my school to see me the next Tuesday. They said that I might be better off waiting a year, because there are so many power forwards who could go in the first round of this draft.
"The [short time window] left me not 100 percent sure about what I wanted to do, so my gut feeling was that the best thing would be to come back. Everything happens for a reason -- and next year, I'll be 100 percent in because I have no choice; it's my senior year. I'll try to improve my stock maybe become a first-rounder, and make sure that my rebounding is still No .1 in the country.
"After I made up my mind, though, I went online and saw the ESPN mock draft where they had me in the first round [at No. 22 to Portland]. And I was just
"After I declared, my coaches contacted the NBA [Stu Jackson's committee] to get information, and what I was told was that teams didn't have me on their draft boards. They said they talked to 16 teams, and none had me on their draft boards. I also had a phone conversation with [Bobcats coach]
"It was tough to do anything beyond that, because of the new situation this year. I was looking forward to going around the country and trying to impress multiple teams, but I was only able to do one workout -- for Portland, and it was on the last day before you could pull yourself out of the draft. So it was almost pointless [to have declared], to be honest with you. I think it would be better to go back to the old system [in which the deadline was mid-June].
"Most of the guys who were out in Portland with me, it was their only workout too, so they weren't able to get a real feeling about whether they could stay in the draft or not.