Busting early entry myths

Updated: June 2, 2010, 1:38 AM ET
By David Thorpe

Very few people ever have to make the kinds of choices that college basketball players must make when they are considering the NBA draft. No matter what they decide, they are, in many cases, putting their future career and millions of dollars at risk. Unfortunately, despite the best intentions of many of the people advising them, there is no formula they can look to for comfort, one that helps them see what their future will be. Instead, there are only possibilities, chapters of a book that can feature misery or jubilation.

These players are told many things by many people, and because of my experiences as a coach to draftable players each spring (six of my students were drafted last season), I get to witness firsthand much of what goes on among the player, his coaches, his family, agents who are recruiting him and the teams that can help make their dreams come true. In this process, which is so well covered by the media because fans love the promise of the next draft, many phrases are spoken by "experts" and reported by the media as official guidelines to help the player navigate the muddy draft waters. But how accurate are those guidelines? And what helps a player make up his mind? We'll break down these questions over the next few weeks, leading up to the May 8 deadline when players have to decide to stay in the draft or head back to college.