The basketball spring signing period begins next Wednesday. Not so coincidentally, the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft is next Tuesday.
Well, sort of.
The NCAA's deadline is April 10; the NBA's deadline, though, is April 29.
The disparity in dates has led at least one prominent college coach to point out that the NBA's date is the important one. That coach is Kentucky's John Calipari, who is awaiting word from five of his underclassmen on whether they're heading to the NBA.
Under the current system, a player could tell his school by April 10 that he is returning. He then could change his mind on April 28 and turn pro. The NCAA rule deals only with college eligibility, it has nothing to do with the NBA's deadline. The one sure thing: If a player is positive he wants to play college ball next season, he has to make his decision by April 10.
Calipari told reporters recently that the NBA's date is "the only one we're going to think about. So if [players] want to wait to make a decision by the [29th] when they have to by the NBA, that's when they'll make it. … I don't even know the other date, nor do I care."
This is the first year of the new rule; the NCAA Division I Legislative Council adopted it last April. Last year, underclassmen had until May 8 to withdraw with their eligibility intact. One problem: NBA teams are prohibited from working out players before the league's official release of draft-eligible underclassmen.
Critics of the new rule point out that it's extremely difficult for players to get any real feedback from NBA teams: There is a draft advisory committee, but because of the lack of workouts, those recommendations are guesswork.
Here's a look at the underclassmen who have declared for the draft, are still considering it or have decided to remain in school.