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NCAA's irrelevant draft deadline will mostly be ignored

By Jeff Goodman | College Basketball Insider

Tuesday is the early withdrawal deadline for college players to retain their eligibility. No one knows -- or cares -- because it's completely ridiculous.

The date was moved up in an effort to satisfy all those college coaches complaining about their kids being in limbo land for a couple of months while they bolted campus to prepare with so-called workouts gurus and zig-zagged the country, doing NBA workouts.

I understand the issues from the coaches perspective. Players were vulnerable to agents and runners once they opted to test the NBA waters. How else were some guys able to pay for the NBA workouts that were necessary in an attempt to boost their draft stock? The coaches were also whining that they could still sign players in the late period, but let's face it: How many guys are out there that Tom Izzo, Roy Williams, Scott Drew or Mark Few are going to be able to get at the 11th-hour. There is just one player left on the board among the Top 50 prospects -- and that's top-rated Andrew Wiggins, who has already narrowed his choices to Florida State, Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina.

That's why we now have this NCAA date of April 16. It's for the coaches, but even they realize it's a phantom, meaningless deadline.

"In terms of a young man deciding to go pro, the only date that matters is April 28," Louisville coach Rick Pitino told CBSSports.com.

That's the NBA's deadline to declare for the June 27 Draft.

There's little to no benefit for any player to announce Tuesday or anytime before April 16 that he is declaring for the NBA. If a player does make it known officially, it means he cannot return to the college ranks. If he stays quiet, he still has another 12 days to gather more information -- and protect himself in case of injury.

"I've been on the other side of it," said Creighton coach Greg McDermott, who is now dealing with the decision of his son, Doug, projected as a fringe first-rounder. "Kids in these situations can make very poor decisions simply because they don't have enough information. It's just the way the system is set up."

McDermott told CBSSports.com that unless his son comes to him in the next week or so with a steadfast decision, he'll obtain as much information as possible and then make an announcement just before April 28.

"There's no reason in my opinion to do anything today," Greg McDermott said. "I don't see the advantage."

"There's really no benefit," added another parent of a player who will make a decision in the next 12 days. "We're going to wait until the end of the month and that way we can get all the information. It doesn't really benefit you to do anything now."

The lone benefit is that a player who does declare for the NBA Draft can drop out of classes and immediately focus on preparing for the NBA Draft instead of waiting a couple more weeks.

Vander Blue announced he was leaving Marquette on Tuesday morning. Maybe he's content with being a second-rounder or going undrafted, but why not get as much information as possible over the next couple weeks and then make an informed decision? It's logical -- and that's likely what McDermott will do, what Russ Smith will do and also, according to Drew, the deadline that Baylor's Isaiah Austin will almost certainly utilize.

The NCAA and the NBA are separate entities. I understand that, but this is a difficult enough process for college kids to navigate. Let's make it easier and come up with one deadline, one that gives the players enough time to gather the necessary information and also satisfies the coaches needs.

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