International Early-Entry Rumor Mill, Rule Clarification

International Early-Entry Rumor Mill, Rule Clarification
Apr 15, 2008, 02:49 am
A number of intriguing international prospects have informed DraftExpress that they plan on entering this year's draft, including Alexis Ajinca, Nicolas Batum, Serge Ibaka, Ante Tomic and Rodrigue Beaubois. In addition, we've learned that Jeremy Pargo will be entering the draft as well. We also explore the topic of whether players can test the NBA draft waters twice...

Early-Entry Rumor Mill

Internationals Want In Too

Less we forget amongst this very talented group of NCAA draft prospects that basketball is a global sport these days, we did a little digging around to find out which international players will be submitting their name to the early-entry list on April 27th as well.

-7-1 French center Alexis Ajinca, fresh off a strong showing at the Nike Hoop Summit (which will be discussed in more depth tomorrow here on DX) this weekend, will be testing the waters for the first time this June, according to his agent Bouna Ndiyae-- “he is 100% going to be in the draft.” Ajinca has added 20 pounds to his lanky frame this year, bringing him to 240 pounds at the moment, and is getting impatient with the way he’s being developed in France. Ajinca has been seeing inconsistent minutes in Pro A with Hyeres-Toulon, even after coming up with strong outings, and at this point might be feeling that he’s better off taking a similar route to fellow Ndiaye client Ian Mahinmi, rather than sitting on the bench. Mahinmi was drafted in the late first round by the San Antonio Spurs and has spent much of the season with their affiliate (which they own) in the D-League—seeing significant playing time and looking terrific last we saw him at the D-League Showcase. Ajinca and Ndiaye will be searching for an optimal situation in terms of finding a team in the first round that will be willing to develop him. According to Ndiaye, he “has teams in the 20’s already that like him,” but thinks he could go even higher, possibly somewhere in the late lottery. Ajinca will reportedly be submitting his paperwork to officially enter the draft next week. We acquired a great deal of footage of his and will be breaking it down intently to report on his progress since the last time we evaluated him.

-Bouna Ndiaye also reconfirmed to us that his client Nicolas Batum will be in the draft this year, and sounded pretty emphatic about it. “Not only will he be in the draft, he will also be staying in the draft. He will be in the NBA next season.” Ndiaye reminded us that despite the criticism that Batum has received from NBA scouts at times this season for his inconsistency, he is still the “#1 guy on the top ranked team in France,” which according to him is something none of the French NBA players (Tony Parker, Mickael Pietrus, Boris Diaw, etc) could say before they were drafted.

-Fellow Nike Hoop Summit participant Serge Ibaka will also be testing the waters of the NBA draft, according to agent Justin Zanik of Ibaka’s American agency, ASM Sports. In contrast to Ajinca, Ibaka is regularly seeing significant playing time at a very high level of competition in the Spanish Second Division (LEB), and is averaging a solid 11 points, 8 rebounds and nearly 3 blocks per game. Only 18 years old, and not turning 19 until September, time is also clearly on Ibaka’s side. He clearly lacks great fundamentals or an advanced feel for the game at this point, but has only been playing basketball for a few years now. As we will explain below, Ibaka “can test the waters” one more time after this in 2009 if he pleases, and still make himself eligible one more time in 2010 when he’ll be in for good.

-If there weren’t enough big men on the NBA’s early-entry list already, it seems that one more is coming. Ante Tomic has told the Croatian media on more than one occasion this season that he surely plans on entering the draft again this year (he was forced to pull out in 2007), although he would prefer to spend another season or two in Europe. Tomic’s contract with KK Zagreb runs through 2012, without an NBA buyout clause, so getting out of Croatia may be a problem for him for the time being. It’s been rumored that the Philadelphia 76ers had promised to draft him with the #21 pick last year, but that he was talked out of the decision. Tomic's American agent, Marc Cornstein, told us via email that "the plan is for him to enter. We will officially enter his name in the draft later this week."

-French point guard Rodrigue Beaubois will also be entering his name in this year’s draft, according to an email sent to us by his American agent, Bill McCandless of Immortal Sports. McCandless also informed us that Beaubois will likely not be competing in the Reebok EuroCamp in Treviso, as he’s been invited to the French junior National Team, which will also be participating at the camp. Beaubois will come to the US to train and work out with NBA teams “as soon as the Pro A season is over…at least up to the underclassman withdrawal date.” This will be Beaubois’ second time in the draft, so he can still withdraw and be eligible one more time.

Rule Clarification: International Players Can Test Waters Twice

There seems to be quite a bit of confusion on the part of agents and even some NBA teams regarding how many times players can “test the waters” and withdraw their name from draft consideration. The confusion stems from the NCAA rule, which states that student-athletes can only enter the draft and withdraw once, while the current NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement allows all players to enter and withdraw twice.

[url= 8 of Article X of the CBA states that “An Early Entry player who is eligible to be selected in the next NBA Draft pursuant to Section 1(b)(ii)(F) or (b)(ii)(G)(3) above shall be entitled to withdraw from such Draft by providing written notice that is received by the NBA ten (10) days prior to such Draft. A player shall not be entitled to withdraw from more than two (2) NBA Drafts

The bolded part is obviously the key here, and just for good measure, the NBA Player’s Association sent out a memo on April 26th of 2006 that reiterated that “a player…may…enter this year’s Draft, withdraw, and will be allowed to withdraw from one additional Draft in the future.”

Jeremy Pargo Testing Waters

-Gonzaga point guard Jeremy Pargo will be entering his name in this year’s draft without hiring an agent, sources told DraftExpress. Pargo will be looking to attend the Orlando pre-draft camp, but will return to school if he does not like where he’s projected to be drafted.

Early-Entry List Updated

-Our unofficial Early-Entry List is now up to date, as we pack up and hit the road again, this time to New York City for the Jordan Brand Classic practices and games. We'll be watching both the top American high school players, as well as the extremely young International prospects assembled.

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