NCAA pushes back NBA Draft withdrawal deadline

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

Michigan State’s Xavier Tillman and Aaron Henry and Michigan’s Isaiah Livers will be getting more time to make a decision about their future.

The NCAA announced Wednesday its deadline for underclassmen to decide whether to keep their names in the NBA Draft has been extended indefinitely. The original date for college basketball players to withdraw and retain their eligibility was June 3.

A strong junior season and a growing family might be enough to push Michigan State center Xavier Tillman to the NBA.

A new withdrawal date won’t be set until the NBA determines an updated timeline for its pre-draft process.

“This modification is being made with the health and well-being of our student-athletes in mind, along with their ability to make the most informed decisions during this uncertain time, and is based on the recent announcement by the NBA to postpone the 2020 NBA Draft Combine,” Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s senior vice president of basketball, said in a statement.

The NBA announced on May 1 it was postponing the draft lottery and combine, which was set to take place in Chicago from May 21-24, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The traditional deadline for underclassmen to withdraw from the draft and return to school is 10 days after the conclusion of the combine.

The pandemic has severely impacted the normal pre-draft process. NBA teams have been allowed to conduct virtual meetings with prospects but have been prohibited from holding any in-person workouts.

The NBA Draft is slated for June 25 and hasn't been delayed yet, but it’s unlikely it will take place on its scheduled date.

While Wednesday’s announcement means Michigan State and Michigan may have to wait a while to find out if Tillman, Henry or Livers are coming back, Gavitt noted delaying the withdrawal date is intended to give college players enough time to make a choice.

“Working in collaboration with National Association of Basketball Coaches Executive Director Jim Haney and the rest of the coaches’ leadership, the NCAA membership will ensure that any change supports a player’s decision-making process related to professional opportunities while also protecting their academic pursuits and the opportunity to play college basketball,” Gavitt said.

The NBA suspended its season on March 11 and is still working on a plan to possibly resume play.

Twitter: @jamesbhawkins