Two of the most influential basketball coaches in the Big 12 have differing opinions on the new, player-friendly NBA Draft rules announced by the NCAA last week.
“It is a great, great, great first step,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.
But West Virginia coach Bob Huggins disagree.
“Sometimes we make rules that are good for individuals that aren’t good for the whole,” he said. “I thought we should always do what is right for the whole team.”
Under the new rules, college basketball players will be allowed to test their draft stock multiple times as an early entrant and return to school if they remove their name from the NBA Draft before the NCAA’s return deadline. That deadline is being pushed back to 10 days after the conclusion of the draft combine.
Early entrants will be able to participate in the combine and work out for each NBA team once per year without jeopardizing their college eligibility, as long as they don’t sign with an agent.
In the past, players were allowed to enter the NBA Draft once as an early entrant and the NCAA withdrawal date was before the combine.
The changes were made, in large part, to help college basketball players make better decisions about when to begin their professional careers, as a rising number of early entrants have gone undrafted in recent years.
Self advises young players on their NBA hopes more than any other Big 12 coach, and approved of the changes.
“You are still going to have kids that go regardless of what everybody tells them,” Self said Monday on the Big 12 teleconference. “You are still going to have that, but hopefully not as many. Maybe after this is tested for a year or two and we find out how it is working, some advanced steps can be made by the NBA, if it is working for them, that will help the kids even further.
“I don’t see a negative with it at all. I think what we had before was broken.”
The new rules are certainly a positive change for college basketball players, but they might make life harder on coaches. Now they will need to plan for all contingencies and be ready to recruit late to make up for players that remain in the draft.
Huggins took the opposite stance for those reasons.
“I think it puts the other 12 guys at a disadvantage,” Huggins said, referring to each team’s 13 scholarship players. “It’s great if the guy comes back. If the guy doesn’t come back, it’s probably too late to fill that spot. Or do you fill it anticipating he leaves?”
Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said he understands both sides, but from a coach’s perspective, he wishes the NCAA created new recruiting rules to counter the uncertainty of NBA Draft hopefuls.
He suggested boosting the scholarship limit to 14 and allowing players to return to college after the draft, should they go unselected.
“It is very, very hard on the coach, especially if you go through it every year or several years in a row,” Weber said, “because you don’t know who your team is. Do you recruit a guy or do you not? Is he coming back? But I appreciate it for the kids’ sake, because so many kids make bad decisions and don’t listen to the right people. Hopefully, it will help there.”