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Early Entry Players Running Out Of Time To Make Final Decision

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Gordon Hayward is leaving Butler for the big bright lights of the NBA. Other early-entrant players have until Saturday to make their final decisions about whether to stay in school or rake in millions of dollars. Tough call.
Gordon Hayward is leaving Butler for the big bright lights of the NBA. Other early-entrant players have until Saturday to make their final decisions about whether to stay in school or rake in millions of dollars. Tough call.

The time is ticking to Saturday's deadline when many of the 103 early entry candidates for the NBA Draft must decide whether they want to stick around by signing an agent or start their next summer semester of college.

The next few days should be full of players committing and dropping from the draft. Of course, simple math dictates that many of the candidates should head back to school as the draft consists of only 60 picks. But that isn't stopping many players including Butler's Gordon Hayward, who is reportedly hitting the draft with an announcement Friday, or the plethora of other candidates who are making news at their respective campuses this week. The early entry list isn't losing too many players who are wanting to go back to school, at least not yet. As of last night, ESPN's list has only three players listed as "officially" backing out of the draft. Many players are utilizing the full amount of time by waiting until the last second to sign an agent or to opt out.

This year's very, very early deadline to sign an agent is causing some concern for NBA teams as the draft becomes more congested and there is less time to evaluate players. In the past, players had until 10 days before the draft to make a decision, but the NCAA developed the new deadline as college teams found the indecision-making troublesome for coaches trying to recruit. International players still have until June 14 to make a decision.

Sports Illustrated reported that "of the 74 players who came out early last April, 35 returned to school for another year" during the 2009-10 season. "With the new rules, people have to adjust a little bit because your exposure is less and it may be put more weight on the overall body of work," an Eastern Conference executive told SI. Add to that the threat of a lockout and less money, and this year's draft could be a free-for-all. Now would be a good time for the Pacers to just win the lottery and not even mess with this thing. Let's make it happen Mr. Stern.

Lots of links after the jump.