O.K., here's the deal with the news of Ater Majok making himself eligible for the 2009 NBA draft -- don't worry about it. He will almost certainly be suiting up for the Huskies starting in December.
By declaring for the draft, Majok will be able to attend pre-draft workouts with NBA teams. It will allow him to go up against some of the best players in the country and assess just how far along he is as a player. But Majok didn't hire an agent, which means he can elect to return to school by June 15 – 10 days before the draft – if it doesn't appear he's going to be selected by a team. And that appears to be exactly what he plans on doing
One of the main reasons Majok declared is because, essentially, he has nothing to lose by doing so. Starting next year, college players must decide by May 8 whether they are staying in the draft. That gives players a much shorter window to work out for teams than the current mid-June deadline.
With that in mind, it behooves players to test the waters this year, and many are doing just that – Villanova's Scottie Reynolds, UCLA's Jrue Holiday, St. Mary's Patty Mills and Maryland's Greivis Vasquez are among other high-profile players who have made themselves available for the draft without hiring an agent. It's not known whether Hasheem Thabeet, a UConn junior, has hired an agent yet, but as a likely top-five draft pick, he has no intention of returning to school.
Players only have one opportunity to test the waters, however, so the next time Majok declares for the draft he won't have the chance to return to school.
Although Majok is a skilled power forward who looked good in practice with UConn this season, it's highly doubtful an NBA team would risk a draft pick on him. Instead, he'll almost certainly decide over the next month or so that he'll stay at UConn. As long as he earns a certain amount of college credits by the end of next fall's semester (and assuming there are no further issues with the NCAA, in light of potential recruiting violations uncovered last month by Yahoo!), Majok should be sporting No. 5 for UConn next December.