Chances are, Doug McDermott won't share the same fate as Dominique Ferguson, Richard Townsend-Gant or Terrell Stoglin should he decide to leave Creighton a year early to play professional basketball.
But could he wind up like Jared Cunningham, Perry Jones III, Jeremy Lamb, Fab Melo or Arnett Moultrie?
That's a question facing McDermott and his family as he ponders whether to return for his senior season or declare for the NBA draft. He has until April 28, the deadline for submitting paperwork to the NBA.
Bluejay coach Greg McDermott said he and his son are still in evaluation mode.
“It's about trying to get as much information as you can,” the coach said.
Already, 25 underclassmen have declared for the draft, and that number is expected to swell in the coming weeks. Players who have already declared have until Tuesday to withdraw their names and retain their collegiate eligibility as long as they have not hired an agent.
Players who have not declared by Tuesday can still enter the June 27 draft if they meet the NBA's April 28 deadline. The McDermotts said they probably won't decide until close to that date.
“In my opinion, it's foolish to declare for the draft,” Greg McDermott said. “If you declare now and you blow your knee out on April 20th, you can't come back to school. Plus, by waiting until the 28th, it gives you 12 extra days to evaluate the process as far as who's in and who's out.”
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Last year, 48 underclassmen declared for the draft, but 19 did not hear their names called on draft day. That group includes Ferguson, Townsend-Gant and Stoglin.
Of the 30 players selected in the first round, 24 were underclassmen who had decided to leave school early. Many in that group, including McDermott's former high school teammate Harrison Barnes, have enjoyed productive rookie seasons.
For others, such as Lamb, the No. 12 pick last June, or Terrence Jones, the No. 18 selection, playing time as rookies has been hard to come by. They, like Melo (No. 22 pick) and Moultrie (No. 27 pick), have spent time playing in the NBA's Development League at outposts such as Fort Wayne, Ind., and Bakersfield, Calif.
Of course, they're doing it with a lot of spending money in their pocket. Under the terms of the latest collective bargaining agreement between the players and the owners, players selected in the first round of the draft receive two-year guaranteed contracts.
A player's salary is determined by a scale tied to the spot where he lands in the draft. For next season, that scale ranges from $4,436,900 for the first overall pick to $880,600 for the No. 30 pick. A player's actual salary can be negotiated from a low of 80 percent to a high of 120 percent of the scale figure.
Teams also have the option of retaining a player for two additional seasons.
It is generally believed that Doug McDermott might decide to turn professional if he is projected as a first-round pick. McDermott shows up as a late first-round selection in mock drafts by NBADraft.net (23rd pick) and CBSSports.com (30th pick).
ESPN.com, DraftExpress.com and Hoopsworld.com have McDermott going early in the second round.
Based on the NBA's rookie scale, the salary figure for the 23rd pick would be $1,003,800 for the first season, $1,049,000 for the second and $1,094,100 should the club exercise a third-season option.
The salary for the draft's 30th pick is $920,200 for the second and $959,800 for a third.
The McDermotts have filed paperwork with the NBA's Draft Advisory Committee, which attempts to provide players with some gauge of their draft stock. The committee is made up of league executives representing 20 teams and is chaired by Stu Jackson, the NBA's vice president of basketball operations.
The group produces formal evaluations for potential early entrants. The confidential reports will be handed out Monday.
“It gives you a little clearer picture of where you stand,” Greg McDermott said.
The committee's evaluation is only an educated assessment and is not binding in any way. The evaluations generally tend to be conservative to avoid misleading players.
Greg McDermott went through the process at Iowa State when Craig Brackins was considering leaving that school early. As McDermott did then, he will supplement the committee's evaluation of his son's draft stock with other observations.
“I'm having a lot of conversations with teams myself,” Greg McDermott said. “You start with people you have a relationship with and you trust. Some are general managers, others are in personnel or college scouting. You gather all that and then you make a decision.”
A pleasant sidelight to those conversations, the coach said, is the attention given to Creighton senior Gregory Echenique.
“There haven't been many conversations in which his name hasn't come up,” the coach said. “I think he helped himself with his play in the NCAA tournament and the Valley tournament.”
Echenique also played in last week's National Association of Basketball Coaches' Division I All-Star game in Atlanta.
“The coaches I've talked to from that game were very impressed with how he practiced and how he played,” McDermott said. “He got busted in the mouth a couple times during that game but kept competing.
“And when the ball was thrown inside, no one scored on him. It didn't matter who it was. I think he's shown his ability to defend and run the floor, and I'll be very surprised if he isn't invited to be a part of the (NBA) summer league somewhere.”
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