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Just 30 players get guaranteed contracts . . . the rest could be out in the cold

By Staff | Apr 29, 2016

Bob Madison

Chronicle Sports

Some college players delude themselves. Some simply get tired of going to class and doing the required school work. Others see the millions the NBA players are being paid. Then there are those from tattered backgrounds whose pasts has been spent in the projects and with little stability in their lives.

The college basketball season is over. The most deluded and the worst of the students can’t wait to “declare” for the NBA. If they are 19-years-old and have been in college for one season they are eligible to make themselves available to the NBA.

Day after day, week after week the list of those leaving college behind grows longer and more puzzling.

Some of those making themselves available are junior college players, Division II and even Division III athletes. They weren’t even difference-makers at those levels of play.

Those types give away their amateur status and any remaining college eligibility and will never play a minute in the NBA.

The NBA has 30 teams and conducts a draft of players that lasts only two rounds.

Here’s the kicker. Only those 30 players from all over the world that are selected in the first round will receive guaranteed contracts.

Nothing monetary is guaranteed to a second round draftee . . . or anybody else not taken in the first round.

There is one saving grace these athletes have.

If they don’t hire an agent and find out their “talents” are not as highly prized by NBA types as they are by themselves and their entourage then they can return to school and continue with their amateur status.

Those that hire an agent are considered professional and can’t return to their schools.

That’s 30 players from all over the world that get the few guaranteed contracts.

Few people outside the NBA circle know these foreign players but the general consensus of services in-the-know believe Dragan Bender (Croatia), Furken Korkmaz (Turkey), Timothe Luwawu (France), Guerschon Yabusele (France) and Ivica Zubic (Croatia) will be first-round selections.

If they are, that leaves only 25 slots left in the first round.

These 10 players have hired agents, therefore they can’t return to school — Ben Simmons (LSU), Demantos Sabonis (Gonzaga), Jamal Murray (Kentucky), Brandon Ingram (Duke), Kris Dunn (Providence), Cat Barber (N.C. State), De’Andre Bembry (St. Josephs), Demetrius Jackson (Notre Dame), Tyler Ulis (Kentucky) and Skal Labissiere (Kentucky).

Some seniors from this past season include Denzel Valentine (Michigan State), Buddy Hield (Oklahoma), Perry Ellis (Kansas), and Malcolm Brogdan (Virginia). Some quality underclassman who so far have not hired agents are Ben Bentil (Providence), Brice Johnson (North Carolina), Ivan Rabb (California), Jaylen Brown (California), Jacob Poetli (Utah), Marquese Chriss (Washington), Gary Payton II (Oregon State), Deyonta Davis (Michigan State), Taurean Prince (Baylor), Jaron Blossomgame (Clemson), Michael Gbinjie (Syracuse), Caris LeVert (Michigan), Makai Mason (Yale), Malachi Richardson (Syracuse), AJ Hammons (Purdue), Damian Jones (Vanderbilt) and Stephen Zimmerman (UNLV).

There is a list of nine more foreign players who are projected as second-round selections.

And joining that over-crowded field is West Virginia’s Devin Williams, an undersized post player, when last seen had five turnovers in a four-minute span in a lopsided NCAA Tournament loss to Stephen F. Austin.

Williams scored 13.9 points a game for the Mountaineers. At times his foul troubles made him seem to almost disappear from games. His passing, rebounding, ball handling and man-to-man defense were not what a first-round selection in an NBA draft usually brings with him.

Williams has not hired an agent. If Bob Huggins were willing, the 6-foot-9 center could return to the relative safety of West Virginia.

Second round draft selections are not guaranteed any money . . . and not guaranteed places on any team’s roster.

Does Williams believe he is going to be taken in the first round? Where is his information coming from?