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NBA Draft Dates

April 28, 2003 Columns No Comments

NBA Draft: Dates to Remember

by Jed Tai

Now that the NCAA Tournament is over, the second season starts. The questions start… who will stay and who will go? That will be answered over the next couple of months as talented underclassmen ponder whether or not to continue their (basketball) educations or make the leap to play with the big boys in the professional ranks. Meanwhile, college seniors who have played their last game will start preparing for the life of trying to earn money playing the game they love.

With that in mind, here are some key dates to remember that relate to the 2003 NBA Draft.

April 9-12 – Portsmouth Invitational Tournament

It’s already taken place, but it’s worth noting the event where college seniors can first make a post-season impression on NBA scouts. The grand-daddy of all pre-draft camps, Portsmouth (or the PIT as it’s commonly known) is where stars such as Scottie Pippen, John Stockton, and many others have been discovered thanks to the sage, NBA Director of Scouting Marty Blake.

This year’s uncovered gem may very well be Jerome Beasley out of North Dakota. The Division II Player of the Year fared well against his contemporaries from bigger schools. He was named MVP of the Tournament. Now more than ever the PIT is important for potential draftees as it is the only senior-only, sanctioned event left on the schedule (the old Desert Classic in Phoenix was cancelled years ago). Many of the top performers here will get an invitation to the pre-draft camp in Chicago in June.

May 12 – NBA Early Entry Eligibility Deadline

11:59 pm EST. That’s the time in which a players’ intention to declare himself eligible for the NBA Draft if he is an underclassman has to be postmarked and in writing on its way to the NBA’s offices. Once all the names that have been submitted have been processed, an official list of all underclassmen eligible for the draft will be released by the league about a week to two weeks later. This is the initial list of players who will be eligible to be evaluated for the 2003 NBA Draft.

May 22 – NBA Draft Lottery

Held this year at the NBAE Studios in Secaucus, NJ, this year’s teams in the “lottery” will find out their fate in where they will select in the 2003 NBA Draft. The teams with the poorer records will have the most chance at landing one of the top three spots in the draft order. As usual, only a select few will actually get to witness the drawing of the ping-pong balls. But everyone will see the results revealed on ABC that evening – in prime-time.

June 3-6 – NBA Pre-Draft Camp

Held at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, this is the final chance for players to make an impression to as many NBA scouts as possible. An invitation-only event, 65 seniors, underclassmen (Chicago is the only camp where declared underclassmen can participate), and even some international players will be in attendance for a number of drills and games for evaluation purposes. Most of the players projected as high picks will choose not to participate, but will make an appearance on the camp’s final day to talk with the media and conduct a press conference.

The Pre-Draft Camp will have a large audience, as not only scouts and media (such as myself) will be on hand, but coaches (pro and college), general managers, and some of the great names in the NBA’s history will be on hand to take in action. While player evaluation will be the main focus of the camp, many trades, coaching hires, and other miscellaneous transactions have taken place in this environment where everybody who is anybody in the sport will be present (only agents are shut out of the festivities).

June 19 – NBA Draft Early Entry Entrant withdrawal deadline

Last chance for those underclassmen who were “testing the waters” and did not sacrifice their college eligibility to pull their name out of this year’s NBA Draft. This year, considering recent NCAA legislation to allow underclassmen to participate in the Chicago camp without penalty (in previous years, players were suspended for each game they participated in during the camp if they chose to return to school), the list of withdrawals could be larger than it has been in past years.

June 26 – 2003 NBA Draft

This is it. Fancy suits, ugly team caps, the “Green Room” — the whole nine yards live from Madison Square Garden. Some dreams are fulfilled, others dashed. Easily a night full of drama and excitement.

Be sure to keep checking with Hoopville this off-season as we will give you comprehensive coverage of this year’s NBA Draft.


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