C.L. Brown, the Louisville beat writer for the Courier-Journal caught up with Rick Pitino following the Cardinal’s championship celebration at the KFC Yum! Center to get an update on the future of three members of this year’s team.
At this point, Pitino says Russ Smith and Gorgui Dieng will stay in the draft, while Chane Behanan will return to school. Midway through the season, Pitino said that he was encouraging all three to test the waters before making a decision. He also said that their return would depend on if they were going to be first round draft picks or not. As of right now, Gorgui Dieng is the only one who is projected to be taken in the first round.
Dieng and Smith could both end up returning unless they sign with an agent. Here is a little more information on how exactly the process works for players who declare for the draft, but then decide to return to school.
April 10: NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee Application Deadline
April 15: NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee Response Deadline
April 16: NCAA Early Entry “Withdrawal” Deadline
April 28: NBA Draft Early Entry Eligibility Deadline (11:59 pm ET)
May 2: NBA Draft Early Entry Candidates Released
Unfortunately the “testing the waters” process isn’t allowed anymore. According to NCAA Proposal No. 2010-24, “student-athletes interested in ‘testing the waters’ of the NBA draft [are required] to remove their name from consideration before the first day of the spring National Letter of Intent signing period.”
I think it’s safe to say that Russ Smith is as good as gone. Gorgui Dieng is likely gone as well, but it really wouldn’t be a surprise if he decided to come back for his senior season. Dieng has said many times in recent weeks that the NBA isn’t going anywhere and he enjoys college. However, Rick Pitino has been saying for months now that Gorgui Dieng will not be back.