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Rule change to help underclassmen get NBA evaluations

SAN ANTONIO (AP) College basketball underclassmen could work out with one NBA team per year and still return to college without jeopardizing their eligibility under new rules approved Wednesday at the NCAA annual convention.

Players will be allowed to enter the draft multiple times and participate in the combine and one NBA team tryout per year. They also will be allowed up to 10 days to withdraw from the draft after the combine.

The changes, which take effect immediately, were designed to help players make better decisions on their future and keep those who find out they’re not ready for the NBA on track for graduation.

NCAA officials said the rule changes were offered after collaboration between the NCAA, NBA and that National Association of Basketball Coaches.

”It’s really significant for guys who are going to get a better idea on where they stand,” Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. ”(Some) come out early and it doesn’t work out for them. All of a sudden, they’re 25 or 26 years old with no career.”

The changes could impact college recruiting if college coaches must wait longer each year to evaluate their future rosters.

Since 2009, players have been required to remove their name from the draft the day before the spring signing period in April. Now coaches will have to wait until late May to know what a player is going to do.

Kansas coach Bill Self said the change was needed to help the athletes.

”This legislation, with help from the NBA, will allow student-athletes the opportunity to make informed decisions on their true status as a draft prospect” before forfeiting their collegiate eligibility,” Self said in a statement released by the NCAA.

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