The NBA early-entry deadline ended on Sunday. The overwhelmingly large number of young players who declared for the 2018 NBA shattered records from previous years. 236 players tossed their names in the hat before the deadline expired. That’s a considerable bump from 182 in 2017.
The early-entry declaration gives young players (before age 22), especially underclassmen to test the waters and see if the media and team scouts pick up on their potential. Due to the disparity in contracts handed out to first-round and second-round picks, some college students may opt to pull out and stay in school for another year if they do not project to be selected in the first-round. Most of these underclassmen who have declared have not yet signed with an agent. Players’ last day to withdraw from the draft and retain their eligibility to play for their school is on May 30th. That’s 10 days after the NBA Draft Combine which will take place from May 16-20.
Some big names from the college ranks who have declared for the NBA draft include Duke’s Marvin Bagley III, Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton, Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr., and Texas’ Mohamed Bamba, to name a few.
Aside from the NCAA, there is also a big influx of players coming in from Europe. 55 players had listed their names on the early-entry list. While most of them are expected to withdraw their names and stay in Europe, several have already gotten the spotlight shown on them. Real Madrid’s Slovenian superstar, Luka Doncic headlines the European crop this 2018. He’s expected to be a top-5 pick in the draft. His uncharted potential and already-mature game have him penciled high on the draft boards of many NBA teams. LiAngelo Ball, who was pulled out of UCLA by his father, and signed with Lithuanian club Vytautas Prienu earlier this year, has also declared for the draft. He has a shot to be taken in the top-20 of the draft.
Playing in the NBA has been a dream for a lot of these young players. For many, the dream has been with them since early childhood. However, getting into the top basketball league of the World is no easy task. For most of these youngsters, the dream will remain a dream, and only a handful will get to see it become a reality.