The 2017 NBA Draft pool features an incredible amount of underclassmen.
137 undergraduate college basketball players have filed the paperwork necessary to become early-entry candidates for this year’s draft. Potential draftees have until May 24 to decide whether they will officially enter the draft or return to the collegiate ranks next season.
It’s a sign of the times in college sports. At some point, the players will need to be paid, or the NCAA and NBA will see this list continue to grow.
The number could jump from 137 to 182 when factoring in international free agents. There are only 60 picks in the NBA draft. That means that roughly 122 players will have forfeited their opportunity to continue to play in college to become an undrafted free agent basketball player fighting to be the fifteenth man on a struggling team looking for depth.
Something has to give, one way or another. The numbers for players declaring are increasing ever year, and some programs have made it their modus operandi to restock players who will likely only play one season in college.
The issue is complex, you can’t blame players for wanting to be paid for their outstanding abilities, but it appears that the grass can’t be greener for every player who looks to take the next step early.