Huskies guard C.J. Wilcox has until April 28 to decide if he wants to enter the NBA draft or return to Washington for his senior season.
The NCAA says C.J. Wilcox must make a decision Tuesday on whether he’s going to return to school next season at Washington or apply for the NBA draft.
However, he’s not ready to choose.
The standout junior sharpshooter is going to buy himself a little more time and take advantage of a loophole in the rules that govern the NCAA and the NBA.
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Wilcox will notify the NCAA he’s going to come back to UW in a move that maintains his college eligibility.
It also gives him 12 days to mull his options before the NBA’s April 28 deadline that requires college underclassmen to apply for early entry eligibility for the draft.
“I’m sure they’re going to wait,” UW coach Lorenzo Romar said of Wilcox and his family. “They are not — I repeat not — drama queens. They’re not going out trying to generate as much publicity as possible. They’re not doing that.
“They’re really trying to see what’s available. And to do that, it may take them a little longer than even they would like.”
The Huskies have been down this road before.
Last year, Terrence Ross left after his sophomore season and Tony Wroten Jr. bolted to the NBA after one year.
Ross’ decision was made easier when draft analysts projected him to be a first-round pick. He was taken eighth overall by the Toronto Raptors and given a two-year, $5.4 million contract.
Meanwhile, Wroten made a calculated risk.
He ignored the naysayers, and the Memphis Grizzlies selected him at No. 25 in the first round. Wroten’s decision netted him a two-year, $2.3 million deal.
During Romar’s 11 years at Washington, he has had five players (Spencer Hawes, Isaiah Thomas, Nate Robinson, Ross and Wroten) leave school early and be taken in the NBA draft.
“C.J.’s situation is more like Brandon Roy, Quincy Pondexter and Jon Brockman,” Romar said. “All of those guys were juniors and had a chance to get drafted, but they decided they would prefer putting themselves in a position to come through the front door as opposed to going through the back door and having to scrap to make a team. They decided to come back for their senior year.
“Isaiah was in that situation like Brandon, Quincy and Jon and he decided he was going to scrap to make a team and it worked for him.”
The NBA’s collective-bargaining agreement guarantees a two-year contract for first-round picks. However, a few second-round picks are able to secure a guaranteed deal.
“Whether C.J. is ready or not is not what determines if he should stay or go,” Romar said. “It’s all about if the experts, not your barber or your friends, but the NBA people doing the picking, are willing to take him.”
Wilcox, a 6-foot-5, 185-pound shooting guard, is an intriguing prospect.
He redshirted as a freshman and had been a reserve for two years before moving into a starring role last season, when he averaged 16.8 points, sixth-best in the Pac-12.
Wilcox carried the Huskies for most of the season, but tailed off the final two months after experiencing pain in his left foot that was described as early stages of a stress fracture.
Despite being unable to practice since February, he led Washington in points, minutes (34.8 per game) and steals (37). He was second with 35 blocks and third with 65 assists.
Wilcox ranked second in the conference with 75 three-pointers and was named second team all-Pac-12.
DraftExpress.com president Jonathan Givony projects the Milwaukee Bucks will take Wilcox 15th in the second round (No. 45 overall) if he declares for the draft.
“He would have to work his way into the first round,” Givony said. “As far as I know he’s not there at this stage. Different teams might feel differently about him. He was pretty good up until a certain stage where he kind of fell off that maybe coincided with his injury. I’m sure that hurt him a little bit.
“He doesn’t have great buzz. Part of that is due to Washington didn’t make the tournament or didn’t have the best year.”
Wilcox received a draft analysis from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee, which consists of general managers and player personnel executives.
The report essentially said he projects as a second-round pick.
“It’s about what I expected,” said Craig Wilcox, C.J.’s father. “Nothing terrible in that information. … The thing I didn’t want to see is a lot of a late second to not drafted. There was very, very little of that.”
After the season, Wilcox underwent a second examination on his foot and received a clean bill of health, said Craig Wilcox.
When the NBA regular season ends Wednesday, Wilcox plans to work out with NBA players and train with basketball specialists.
Romar described the next 12 days as a “fact-finding mission.” Still, it’s unlikely Wilcox will receive any definitive information before April 28. Draft prospects begin working out for NBA executives in May and most teams wait until then before getting serious about the June 27 draft.
“He’s going to have to rely on … whatever information he’s able to gather with the (Washington) coaching staff,” Givony said. “He has to be prepared for the fact that he might be in Europe next year.
“As long as he’s OK with that, then he can go forward. Then maybe he’ll be in the NBA. You never know.”