Every year, we get to the period where it's time for non-senior college basketball players to make a critical decision. They must decide if they want to try to take the next step in their basketball careers by declaring for the NBA Draft, or if they'd prefer to stay in school to further pursue their education and hone their basketball skills in the process.
And every year, there's always a player or two that makes a seemingly head-scratching decision. A player that isn't ready to take the leap to the NBA may declare -- like Grant Jerrett after his freshman season at Arizona -- while a player that is ready -- like Marcus Smart after his freshman season at Oklahoma State -- decides to stay in school for another year.
For that reason, the process can often be unpredictable. Sean Miller, for example, mentioned after the loss to Wichita State that he expected Kaleb Tarczewski to leave after his junior season, but the center ultimately decided to return for his senior season. And, because it's such a significant decision, it's easy to see why it is that way.
But, this year more than any other, players should have an easier time deciding. Any underclassman that has even the slightest chance of making an NBA roster should initially declare for the NBA Draft.
Why? Because of the new early-entry rules. This winter, the NCAA approved a proposal that has effectively pushed back the early-entry deadline. The new date is May 25. Before that, the early-entry deadline was in late April. The change is extremely noteworthy because May 25 is exactly 10 days after the NBA Combine.
That means those who declare early can attend the NBA Combine plus workout for individual teams before officially deciding between going pro or returning to school. For someone like Allonzo Trier, who legitimately has the physical tools and skill to one day be an NBA-caliber player, it's a no-brainer to initially declare for the NBA Draft.
Trier can gather feedback from NBA teams and coaches and then make his final decision from there. He may get positive feedback and decide to remain in the draft, or he could get unfavorable feedback and decide to return to Arizona. But, however it turns out, Trier would be able to make a highly-informed decision about his future, and that's what is most important.
It's truly a win-win situation and he should take advantage of it. And he likely will.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @RKelapireUA