CBSSports.com Senior Writer

Prospects find testing waters isn't working out

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Dozens of underclassmen wanted to "test the waters."

But what do you do when there's no water?

"Only a handful of [NBA] teams are working guys out this week," said Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy, whose top prospect, Terrico White, declared for the NBA Draft but has not yet hired an agent. "The whole process has not been as 'educational' as was hoped."

Pudue teammates E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson are struggling to get workouts. (Getty Images)  
Pudue teammates E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson are struggling to get workouts. (Getty Images)  
CBSSports.com spent the past 24 hours reaching out to various sources from programs with underclassmen who can still withdraw from the draft by Saturday's deadline (provided their amateur status remains intact), and the theme of those conversations was common: Testing the waters isn't really a reality anymore, thanks in large part to the NCAA's decision to move the deadline to withdraw from June 15 last year to May 8 this year in an attempt to eliminate nearly two months of uncertainty about who will and won't return to school.

Kennedy said White -- a borderline first-rounder who will, according to sources, likely remain in the draft barring a change of plans -- only has two workouts scheduled, and a source told CBSSports.com that Purdue juniors E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson are similarly struggling to secure workouts, as are Illinois teammates Mike Davis and Demetri McCamey, and Mississippi State teammates Ravern Johnson and Dee Bost. Some combination of A) the moved-up deadline to withdraw, B) the economy, and C) common sense on the part of NBA franchises is the reason most regularly given.

"The workouts are in large part for the coaches, and many coaches don't have time or don't want to make time for that now, particularly the coaches in the playoffs," said Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com. "Then some teams don't want to spend money to work out idiots who have already broadcasted the fact that they're going back to school. Why would you spend time and money working all these guys out when they're going back to school? It's not a charity service, and these NBA teams are now trying to save money like never before."

In other words, prospect after prospect declares for the draft while claiming he's merely doing it to get feedback from NBA teams, most of which have decided they're not, in this economy, going to offer free flights, hotels, meals and counseling to every Tom, Dick and Lavoy (Allen) who wants it, especially not in early May. We are, after all, still seven weeks from commissioner David Stern announcing, presumably, Kentucky's John Wall as the No. 1 overall pick on June 24. That's 50 days from now.

"The first week of May is too early for [NBA franchises] to make any definitive decisions," Kennedy said. "Therefore, they are in no hurry."

Consequently, this 10-day window (from April 29 to May 8) during which underclassmen are supposed to be getting feedback will mostly come and go with little feedback of note. Prospects will, with rare exception, be projected next week pretty much where they were projected last week, and no borderline guys will work out against legitimate first-round picks because few, if any, legitimate first-round picks will work out in the first week of May. Even Butler's Gordon Hayward, who is still technically undecided but seems likely to remain in the draft, won't do a single workout before Saturday's deadline.

To him, it seems pointless to work out this early.

NBA franchises apparently feel the same way.

Which is why there's little water to test.


Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for CBSSports.com and frequent contributor to the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts the highest-rated sports talk radio show -- The Gary Parrish Show -- in the history of Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two children and a dog.
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