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NBA Draft early-entry withdrawal deadline set by NCAA

Arizona State's Remy Martin (1) looks for an open teammate as Oregon's Addison Patterson (22) defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

The NCAA announced Thursday that early-entry college players eligible for the NBA Draft will have until 10 days after the draft combine or Aug. 3, whichever comes first, to withdraw and return to school.

It is unclear if or when the NBA will hold a combine before the Oct. 25 draft, and draft hopefuls could be forced to make a decision on sticking in the field before having a chance to impress pro executives and scouts. Here it should be pointed out that NBA teams themselves won’t stage until June 21, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, and will begin with coronavirus testing protocols the next day.

All of that puts hopeful pros in a crunch.

At Arizona State, Remy Martin and Alonzo Verge Jr. are weighing whether to go pro or return for their senior years. They are not projected to be drafted.

Arizona early-entry candidates Nico Mannion, Josh Green and Zeke Nnaji have all declared for the NBA Draft after their freshman seasons ended prematurely, but most project each of them to be selected in the two-round event.

The original date to pull out of the draft was June 3, but the suspension of college and NBA basketball in mid-March due to the coronavirus led to uncertainty about the schedule for draft.

On Thursday, the NBA announced a return plan for the 2019-20 season and said it will hold the draft on Oct. 15. Shortly after, the NCAA announced its Aug. 3 deadline.

The firm withdrawal date is well ahead of the draft. Usually, they are less than a month apart; this year they would have been separated by 22 days.

Marking a hard date for players to pull out will help schools have clarity about what their rosters might look like by the time the fall semesters begin.

The official NCAA announcement stressed multiple times that student-athletes have been given ample time to make a decision.

“This provides the utmost flexibility to student-athletes testing the waters to make the most informed decision about their future during this uncertain time,” NCAA senior vice president for basketball Dan Gavitt said in a statement. “And by deciding before classes start for the fall semester, it also encourages student-athletes who choose to return to school to be fully engaged in their academic pursuits and the tremendous experience and opportunity to play college basketball.”

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