When the NCAA announced in January that it would allow underclassmen to test the waters of the NBA draft without automatically forfeiting their remaining years of NCAA eligibility, many underclassmen decided to take advantage of this new opportunity. This new rule was not designed for sure-fire lottery picks like LSU's Ben Simmons or Duke's Brandon Ingram, but rather for players whose name falls under the "late second round" or "undrafted" columns on most draft boards.
The new rule allows underclassmen the option to declare for the NBA draft, attend the NBA combine, and then return to school with no penalty as long as they do not hire an agent. This gives players the opportunity to talk with NBA scouts and gauge their draft stock before making the decision to return to school or not. Those wishing to withdraw their name from the draft must do so by next Wednesday, May 25th.
The list of 78 underclassmen that have declared for the draft but have not hired an agent includes the Atlantic Sun Conference player of the year, North Florida guard Dallas Moore.
Moore led the A-Sun in scoring and assists last season and led the Ospreys to their second consecutive regular season conference title. He now has less than a week to decide what his basketball future holds. There is a case to be made for both sides of the argument about whether or not he should return to school for his senior year.
Why Moore Should Leave North Florida for the NBA
The main reason Moore would forego his final year of NCAA eligibility would be if he feels he has a real chance of not only making an NBA roster, but playing a significant role and developing as a player. As Austin Rivers said when asked about his decision to leave Duke after his freshman year, "Obviously the NBA is going to make you better for the NBA." Nothing will prepare you for the speed and style of the NBA besides actually playing in the NBA.
Moore's game has been steadily developing over the past three seasons, as he has improved statistically in field goal percentage, three-point percentage, assists, and points each year. He shot almost 40% from three this season, which undoubtedly increases his value in a league where guards who can knock down threes consistently have become a hot commodity. He is more than likely not a guy that would come in and make an immediate impact on and NBA team next year, but he could be a valuable asset for a team in a few years if he keeps developing at the rate he has been in college.
Why Moore Should Return to North Florida
Simply, it's the logical move. Moore is buried at the bottom of most mock draft projections. CBS Sports does not even have him in their top 150 draft prospects. There are only a finite number of roster spots in the NBA, and Moore would be hard-pressed to earn one next season. Keep in mind that his numbers last season, while quite impressive, came in a conference that likely does not include one other future NBA player. Unless Moore is being told something by scouts that the rest of us are not hearing, his chances of hearing Adam Silver call his name on June 23rd are slim to none.
The new NCAA rule was put in place for the benefit of players like Moore, and he absolutely made the right decision to declare for the draft and attend the combine risk-free. He had nothing to lose by declaring for the draft, and he has been given the chance to see where he stacks up against other top prospects.
Returning to college would give him a chance to continue to develop as a player while hoping to carry his team to a third straight A-Sun title this upcoming season. Hopefully for Osprey Nation and his own sake, Moore has seen the writing on the wall and will make the right decision and return to North Florida for his senior year.