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April 16th is NBA Draft’s withdrawal deadline, underclassmen still have 12 days to declare

Apr 16, 2013, 11:17 AM EDT

Marcus Smart AP

Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart is the nation’s most highly-regarded NBA Draft prospect that has yet to announce where he’ll play his basketball next season.

“I have not made a decision yet,” Smart told NewsOK.com on Monday evening about whether or not he will enter the NBA Draft. “I’m still talking with my parents, the team, Coach Ford, just trying to get some things situated and get more information to make my decision.”

He went on to say that his decision will be “soon, but not that soon”, which is fine, because he’s got time.

The deadline to enter the NBA Draft is April 28th. That’s a rule that was put in place by the NBA and has nothing to do with the NCAA.

(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)

The NCAA’s rule is that any player that has entered the NBA Draft with eligibility remaining and that hasn’t signed with an agent must withdraw their name from consideration by April 16th — which is today — or lose their collegiate eligibility.

That rule can confuse people.

Essentially, what happened was that coaches at the college level were fed up with having to wait until mid-June to find out what their roster would look like for the following season. It created problems for them projecting how many scholarships they would have available and made it difficult to recruit pieces to replace the players that would be leaving. If, hypothetically, Adreian Payne entered the draft without hiring an agent back in those days, Tom Izzo would be left hanging. He could try to find a recruit to sign to fill the front court void that Payne would be leaving, but it would be difficult to convince that player to enroll without knowing just how much playing time would be available.

So the coaches moved to reduce the amount of time that a player could test the waters. At first, they pushed the date the withdraw from the draft up to May 8th, giving players all of a week and a half to make the most important decision of their lives. Last year, the withdrawal date was move up further, to coincide with the first day of the spring signing period. That eliminates any possibility of testing the waters for these athletes.

Which means that the NBA’s April 28th deadline is now the most important day on the calendar. That’s when college teams will find out whether or not they are getting their best players back.

So don’t celebrate yet, Cowboy fans. There’s no guarantee that Smart is going to be back in Stillwater next season. Just like there’s no guarantee that Kelly Olynyk is returning to Gonzaga or Isaiah Austin is returning to Baylor or Trey Burke’s supporting cast — Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr. — is returning to Michigan.

You still have 12 days to sweat it out.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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