Smith, Durham file for early entry to NBA Draft

Four Hoosiers are among the 175 college players to file for early entry to the 2019 NBA Draft, the league announced on Tuesday.

Rising juniors Justin Smith and Al Durham join rising sophomore Romeo Langford and rising senior Devonte Green in the pool of draft-eligible players, taking the initial step toward gathering feedback from NBA decision makers.

Smith, Durham and Green are all expected to return to school, but first they’re taking advantage of a player-friendly rule that allows for direct advisement from power brokers at the next level. Declaring for early entry is the only way for players to work out for and receive those direct reports, and in recent years, a series of rule changes have encouraged college prospects to seek those interactions.

Underclassmen who declare for early entry can work out for teams and meet with team representatives, all while retaining their NCAA eligibility so long as they withdraw from the draft pool by Wednesday, May 29. It’s the same process a handful of Hoosiers have tried to use to their advantage in recent years, including former IU forward Juwan Morgan, who went through pre-draft proceedings last spring before returning to IU for his senior season.

This year, the NCAA has adopted additional rules for the process, including the ability for players to retain the services of an NCAA-certified agent during the evaluation proceedings. Agents can arrange for workouts with teams, and pay for travel and meals. As long as players terminate their agent relationship prior to the May 29 deadline, they will be allowed to retain their eligibility.

Of the four Hoosiers to declare for early entry, only Langford earned All-Big Ten honors last season. Langford, a potential lottery pick in this year’s draft, revealed his plans to declare for the draft on April 4.

Last week, The Herald-Times confirmed that Green planned to declare for early entry in order to gain feedback on his skill set and NBA potential. Smith and Durham also entered their names in the draft pool prior to Sunday’s deadline.

Smith turned in a sophomore season of high and low points, appearing in all 35 games and finishing fifth on the team with 8.2 points per game. Durham ranked fourth on the team with 8.3 points per contest and finished second with a 3-point shooting percentage of .348.

In total, 233 players are draft eligible this spring, including 58 international prospects.

There are only 60 picks in the NBA Draft.


  1. How many players from other schools are doing this? Is this the IU trademark now? Is there any control? Where is the threshold of this being negative distractions in so many different ways? Does IU have left any respect at all? Is it let’s hear and listen from pro talent scouts what I (each individual player) has to do to improve to make it to NBA instead of listening to their college coaches (lack of focus on college/IU)?
    It sounds like special education students in case conference stating their goals; as I am going to be the quarterback at Notre Dame but has never played high school or junior high football in his life.

    1. It’s basically a free training camp. Everyone knows these guys aren’t getting drafted this year.

    2. Yeah t,
      There are a ton of players doing this, the article showed almost 300 eligible for only 60 slots. The ncaa rule changes make it much easier for college players to get the feedback from the nba about their game but retain college eligibility. This might actually be a very good thing which can benefit the player and their college game.

    3. t there is no downside at all! If you are a college student and you wanted to be a doctor wouldn’t you want to talk to the admissions people at the finest medical schools? It is the same concept!

  2. I understand what it is. May or may not benefit player and there college game? However, is definitely possible it does not benefit the team and creates a negative atmosphere in many different ways.

    1. Oh please.

      Hundreds of players are applying to get this free clinic. I doubt you will find more than a tiny handful of major programs with no players doing this.

      I guess all those programs have a negative atmosphere.

    2. It shows that your team has players with high level goals and aspirations. Never a negative atmosphere! Welcome to the 21st century!

  3. As long as the “1 and Dones” drive around $300,000 automobiles financed on a loan from a bank that was already PROMISED when they went to UK; knowing full well they were jumping to NBA after 1 year; then College will get a lot of these players “testing the waters”

  4. If I’m not mistaken, Yogi did the same thing and came back for his senior season. That worked out pretty good for him.

  5. A difference is what status a player is currently in on his team. (grade level and quality of play). In theory it may sound good. However, do you really think the nba (walking and jogging freak money show) really cares or is going to spend any time that positively gives any more accurate info to a player than I could give them regarding players like Smith and Durham who has not been that good at IU. NBA are interested in possible draft picks, sports brainwashing, and money. Disagree…oh it is an nba scout. Players like Durham and Smith need to focus on college rather than possibly creating a team cancer unless or until they raise level and consistency of play and or entering senior year. Yes, it’s different with elites from the likes of KY and Duke or the super star smaller unknowns. Elite and super star unknowns IU is not.

    1. “…do you really think the nba (walking and jogging freak money show) really cares or is going to spend any time that positively gives any more accurate info to a player than I could give them?”


      So, you claim to know as much about assessing basketball skills as NBA coaches and scouts. That is quite an opinion you have of yourself.

    2. No one would trust your “accurate info”. Why do you think that your info might be useful? Out of date…yes. I would say that Durham has raised his status from # 250ish to top 100. Smith has undeniable top athletic abilities. Devonte is a true “game-er”. Let them pursue their dreams. “Cancer” is a totally unnecessary “scare”word!

    1. It is the option of evaluation the young ballers have. They’d be less than stupid to not take advantage.

  6. Wrong. Nba in reality has no interest with Smith and Durham current levels. Fraudulently nice.

  7. Sure, the NBA has no interest in helping college players develop their skills in order to one day possess the skill set necessary to play in the NBA.

    Of course. Why would they want more skilled players entering the league?

    That makes perfect sense.

    1. Chet,
      I agree with your assessment, but I am wondering if t’s concerns are based on the damage the nba is doing to college BB. The lure of the big dollars is proving irresistible to 17, 18, and 19 year old kids. We also know there are a limited number of slots in the nba available for an endless supply of aspirants for those slots. How many of them actually have the financial acumen handle the short term riches properly, should they fail at the professional level? We always say they can take their earnings and go back to school, but do these kids have anything left? A lot of tragic stories out there.

      1. Sure, the NBA rules are not beneficial to college ball but the courts have generally supported the players’ right to employment. The one and done rule was added so that players could be evaluated against a higher level of competition than high school. Many of those one and dones would have otherwise never seen a college campus. I’m guessing that, without it, you’d see more players headed to Europe,
        not more players with college degrees. That was a component of the UNC academic fraud case. They were trying to make it easier to keep marginal students in college (and make money for UNC).

        The NFL only gets to keep players in college for three years of development because they determined it was an undue risk to let them play against professional competition any sooner. That was the Maurice Clarett finding.

        I don’t know how MLB came up with their somewhat unusual approach but it seems to work.

        Outside of player safety the courts have time and again ruled that players have the right to gainful employment in their chosen field. You can’t force them to stay in college.

        Bill Gates left Harvard before he graduated, too. Pretty sure he made the right call.

        Does it always work out? Nope. I don’t even know if it usually works out. The demographics of many players set them up for financial mismanagement and a host of other problems. To their credit, it is my understanding that the major sports do have a system in place to help players with their new found riches. I imagine that is also considered part of the job of qualified agents. I saw plenty of yuppies from good homes put their new found financial scam riches up their noses until they had a heart attack or stroke back in the 80s.

        If you want to look at tragic stories that begin with leaving college before graduation without the skills necessary for success you don’t need to just look at the athletic departments.

        Every kid on campus is living with that threat.

        The hand wringing over players turning pro (or transferring) is directly proportional to the importance of said player to the home team’s success. If Tom Priller had decided to turn pro or transfer no one would have cared.

  8. Jay Edwards. Yes, I know JE brought his personal problems on himself. However, does nba guide him with some authority with (goals in mind) back to Knight and IU with a counseling therapist program. No! Come on in Jay. And that example was many years ago. Nba cares less now about those that matter less.

    1. Actually, one of the main points of the new rule allowing players to get input on their skill set was designed EXACTLY to send players like Jay Edward’s back to their school. Had it been in place Jay might have returned (or headed to Europe).

      The NBA doesn’t want players to leave college early and fail. They want them to have the requisite skills to play in the League.

  9. Pointless, for players like Durham and Smith. Rather, they need to be laser focused on IU/college, AM and coaching staff expectations, team/teammates and current situation/expectations/college when they play at their current levels. These players are not even close to the same as was Edwards.

    1. Ridiculous!
      It hurts nothing to go through the process. Neither player nor the program. They get matched up against some of the best round ball competition in the country. Also any areas needing improvement guided by the evaluation of NBA personnel just supports what is being given to the individual player from his own coaching staff. Doesn’t cost a dime. Win/Win.

  10. Sorry t, but on this topic you’re in a hole and you should stop digging. Your arguments don’t make sense and I don’t think anyone agrees with you. I can see no harm or risk to a player entering a process that provides feedback from a variety of experts who are in the business that they want to get into. And I agree that the process put in place was designed to help college players, not harm them. Jay Edwards’ career might have had a profoundly different outcome if this evaluation “service” had been in place when he was considering leaving IU early for the NBA. If you’re considering becoming a lawyer, you might want to speak with a variety of people practicing law, interning for them or at least shadowing them for a short period of time. You might want to then ask a few lawyers, “do you think I have the attributes necessary to be successful practicing law?” Honest feedback is almost always valuable.

  11. Like you make sense…. You are talking about career exploration. I am talking about college players and coaches relationships. Nba laissez-faire. Nba has already done enough damage to college game.

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