Friday, July 11, 2008


Andy Katz is the ESPN Insider for College Basketball. He had a great post about Bama Coach Mark Gottfried's plan to change the NBA Draft process. I don't know if the NBA will ever go for it, but I'd love to see it. Read Andy's insightful entry and Mark's plan below.
AKRON, Ohio -- Coaches from a number of high-profile conferences are wondering how they can shorten the time period from when a player declares for the NBA draft (in late April) to when he must decide if he wants to return to school (mid-June).
The problem is the NBA controls the timetable. The NBA has done a good job of shortening the workout window in early June (after the pre-draft camp) to the deadline to withdraw, making it about 10 days. That eliminated players bolting early from school in May to go through workouts and will help the NCAA schools with their APR numbers as long as the underclassmen finish the semester in good academic standing.
This past spring, the NCAA allowed NBA teams to pay for workouts around the country, and that, you would think, curtailed the suspicion about players paying for excessive travel without help from an agent.
But Alabama coach Mark Gottfried has a radical idea to take back control of the process from the NBA.
Gottfried proposed to the NCAA basketball issues committee this spring that the NCAA change its side of the early-entrant process. Gottfried's idea is to submit every Division I underclassman's name to the NBA draft, making everyone eligible to be selected.
In Gottfried's plan, players would lose their eligibility if they worked out for an NBA team. Gottfried and other college coaches figure that since NBA teams have spent countless dollars scouting college players, why should they need to work them out again on site?
Then, Gottfried said, everyone "would watch the draft and see where they were selected. If you don't like going No. 50 in the second round, then you would have 10 days after the draft to return to school."
Gottfried said the NBA wouldn't like his idea, but this would prevent bad decisions since a player wouldn't leave if he were picked too low or not at all.
Of course, if this were to occur, the NBA would have to decide if it retained rights on a player selected. There is also the question if the school can have control over submitting a player's name to the NBA on his behalf.
"I had some interesting looks in the room," Gottfried said. "Some people said they hadn't thought about it."
The chances this would occur are slim, but Gottfried is not alone in trying to change the system from the NCAA's side. Coaches are trying to find a way to avoid the uncertainty of the draft process and of which players will be available for the upcoming season. For some teams, like North Carolina and Gonzaga, everything worked out fine when their early-entrants returned to school in mid-June. For others, like Cal, the late decision of one player (Ryan Anderson) changed the direction of the team for next season at a time when there was no way to replace not just the talent, but sometimes even the roster spot for next season.

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