For a couple of days, there have been unofficial reports listing notable players who are declaring early for the 2017 NBA Draft. Today, the NBA itself released the official list of what it terms “early entry candidates” — that is, underclassmen and international players who have applied to the NBA for consideration.
Among the record 182 players on that list, to the surprise of nearly everyone, is K-State guard Kamau Stokes.
This is likely just a barometer test for Stokes, who’s really not an NBA-ready player. Provided he does not hire an agent to represent him, Stokes has until May 24 to withdraw himself from consideration. By that time, he will certainly have received whatever feedback he’ll require to make his position clear.
For perspective, bear in mind that the NBA Draft itself only consists of two rounds, and only 60 players are selected. Some portion of those 60 players will of course be graduating seniors (possibly including Wesley Iwundu), although in this day and age that number is dwindling. Last year, 15 drafted players were traditional draft entrants, while 45 were underclassmen or internationals.
Of the 162 players who applied last year, 57 collegians opted to return to school before the deadline, and 33 of the 46 international applicants also withdrew themselves. That left 72 players for only 60 draft spots. If that holds to form this year, 81 underclassmen and internationals will remain draft-eligible after May 24 — nearly three players for every available draft slot, without even considering eligible seniors and previously-eligible internationals.
In short, while this is a surprising bit of news, we probably should expect an announcement in the next month that Stokes has withdrawn his name from consideration.