College basketball players considering an early NBA departure don’t get much time to breathe after a deep NCAA tournament run anymore, thanks to tighter decision-making deadlines.
But the potentially departing Arizona Wildcat players are trying to take their time anyway. After four straight weeks of playing away from home, they enjoyed a return to normal last week.
One of Kaleb Tarczewski’s mentors, John Carroll, said the sophomore center “has fixed his attention on academics.” Aaron Gordon’s mom said her son is also focused on being a student again, while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s mother said last week that her son hadn’t even mentioned possibly leaving for the NBA draft.
That could all change soon for any of them. The Cats are expected to lose both Gordon and guard Nick Johnson to the NBA draft while Hollis-Jefferson and Tarczewski are potential picks who are considering the move.
Anyone seeking official NBA input on their draft status must request it by Wednesday, and will receive it on April 14. Players then must decide whether or not to enter the draft by April 27 as long as they keep their consideration process private (those who formally apply for the draft must withdraw by April 15 in order to retain collegiate eligibility under NCAA rules.)
Johnson made a head start toward that process by meeting last week with UA coach Sean Miller, who says he will help players get the information they need before making a decision.
“I’m talking to my family… I’m talking with (Miller) and have sat with him a few times throughout the week, talking about the pros and cons, getting feedback from the next level on my game,” Johnson told Phoenix’s 910 AM radio on Friday. “I been dreaming about this since I was a little kid. I’m just taking my time, not letting my emotions from losing to Wisconsin affect my decision.”
It may help that the UA players considering a jump also have people in their circles experienced in pro sports.
Johnson’s father, Joey, played pro basketball in places such as the Philippines, Sweden and Hong Kong, while Gordon’s father, Ed, once played for a Clippers summer-league team – and was invited to camp for the San Diego Chargers.
Hollis-Jefferson’s older brother, Rahlir, is playing professionally in Luxembourg, while Carroll is a former Boston Celtics coach who has been telling Tarczewski to take his time.
“That decision will run its course,” Carroll said. “You never want to make a decision when you’re tired and run down.”
Rylanda Hollis said her son may be speaking to some people in his family about the NBA but not her at this point, while Shelly Davis, Gordon’s mother, said his family intends to go through the full evaluation process.
Just not right away.
“Right now we’re not really doing much,” Davis said. “We won’t know more for the next couple of weeks.”
Click on for a look at how the four players’ prospects stack up as of now.