A spokesman for the NCAA confirmed Thursday that the deadline for withdrawing from the NBA Draft is April 10. NBA rules allow a player to wait until April 29 to enter the draft. But a decision made after April 10 really is a full commitment with no way to turn back.
It's possible Lamb or Drummond and others could publicly remain silent about their intentions and still enter the draft after April 10.
An underclassman can declare himself eligible for the draft prior to that date and still withdraw his name from consideration by 11:59 p.m. ET on April 10 – as long as the player has not hired an agent.
The NCAA's Board of Directors adopted a change last May that gave college basketball players less time to decide whether or not to stay in the draft. The new rule requires players to make that decision before the first day of the NCAA spring signing period (April 11-May 16 this year). In 2011, players had until May 8 to withdraw.
That legislation was not created to help players. Many coaches had complained that the late date did not allow them to find replacements for players headed to the pros. But now players won't have the benefit of individual workouts with NBA teams and may not be able to gather all the information they need.
After UConn's loss to Iowa State in the NCAA Tournament on March 15, Lamb and Drummond both indicated they did not know their future plans. A reporter for FoxCT's (Ch. 61) interviewed both outside Gampel Pavilion Thursday.
Lamb laughed when asked if he would return to UConn next season and said he was "weighing all the options." Drummond said, "Who knows? I'm here now and that's all that matters. I'm not thinking about that right now. I'm a Husky as of now."
Drummond has indicated he would like to return to UConn but draft projections have him among the top four or five players available. Lamb, who almost entered the draft after his freshman season, is projected as a lottery pick and he seems serious about gathering all the information he can to facilitate his decision.
The decisions of Lamb and Drummond received more attention Thursday after reports Wednesday that junior forward Alex Oriakhi had decided to transfer from UConn for his final season of eligibility.
The Connecticut Post first reported that Oriakhi, a key component to UConn's 2011 national championship team, will "finish his college career somewhere other than Storrs." The newspaper's source for the story was Oriakhi's father, Alex Oriakhi Sr., who said his son "informed the coaching staff and athletic director of his decision Wednesday afternoon."
"Alex will transfer because of the NCAA tournament next year," Alex Oriakhi Sr. said, referring to the fact that UConn currently is banned from playing in the 2013 NCAA Tournament because of its poor academic performance and failure to meet NCAA graduation requirements.
Even though Oriakhi reportedly confirmed that decision to CBSSports.com, he would not discuss the matter with the FoxCT reporter in Storrs Thursday, saying he would "talk about that when the time is right."
UConn coach Jim Calhoun told the New Haven Register that he met with Oriakhi Wednesday morning and the junior forward told Calhoun "he was exploring his options."
"I know what other people have said in the papers, but beyond that, that's the only conversation we've had," Calhoun told The Register's Dave Borges.
Oriakhi is an outstanding student, on target to graduate after one more year in school. His early departure would actually be another mark against UConn's Academic Progress Rate.
If the 2013 postseason ban for the Huskies is not reversed, Oriakhi could transfer and not have to sit out one season. There is little optimism that reversal will happen but UConn had expected it would find out after the Committee on Academic Progress meets April 23-25.
Erik Christianson, director of public and media relations for the NCAA, said Thursday that the CAP committee may not be able to address the issue of changing data collection periods – the best chance of UConn regaining its eligibility.
"Because of the committee's schedule in April, it is unlikely it will discuss policy related issues," Christianson said in an email to UConnPlaybook.com
CAP committee chariman Walter Harrison told The Associated Press he doesn't know if the committee can resolve the academic reporting issue this spring.
"We don't know yet how many [penalty] hearings we will need to hold in April," Harrison said via email to the AP. "That will determine how much time we can spend on the matter of the timing of penalties. So, I'm not comfortable with the word 'likely.' All I can say now is that we hope to have concluded our review of this policy question in either April or July."
Calhoun told The Register that he has been told a resolution will "be given some time in May."
But again, that won't help many of the UConn players trying to make their future plans.
Calhoun also told The Register he should be ready to announce whether he will return to coach the Huskies shortly after the Final Four in New Orleans. Calhoun, who turns 70 in May, hasn't given any indication he is leaning toward retirement.
"We need to, for recruiting purposes and other things, keep the program stable, and I don't think this can be a long-term situation, nor will it be," Calhoun told The Register. "By the time the college basketball season is over, word will be coming out of Storrs about our future. I don't think there's any way we can leave ourselves out there."