CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Two-hundred and five players have submitted their paperwork for early entry into the NBA Draft, which includes 163 from college.
As of 2016, players can test the waters without forfeiting their eligibility.
UVA rising senior Jay Huff is going that route, as is former Blue Ridge star Aamir Simms.
“That was my goal at the beginning of the year," says Simms, "to perform to a certain level, that I can have the opportunity to put my name in.”
Simms did that and more.
The rising senior at Clemson led his team in points (13.0), rebounds (7.2), assists (78), and blocks (23).
The 6-foot-8 forward also shot a team-high 40-percent from three-point range.
All the players who submit their name receive an evaluation from N-B-A teams.
“Everything I got back, I definitely expected," says Simms. "There were no surprises. It’s a lot tougher when you’re not already projected to go somewhere, and you got to work yourself in. So when I got mine back, I wasn’t surprised. It was more of a smile, than a frown. It was just something good, to know that they saw my name, they can now look me up, and know about my game more, and in detail.”
Simms has gotten a lot of details from his Blue Ridge connections.
“I met with coach Cade (Lemcke) at a gas station at Pantops," says Simms. "He talked to me about the NBA UAC (Undergraduate Advisory Committee), the option giving me a chance to get a feel, before I do anything. He kind of walked me through the process of what would probably go down, if I put my name in the draft.”
Former high school teammate, Mamadi Diakite, went through the same process last year.
Simms says, “I spoke to him on the side, momentarily, about things to look out for, what should I should be expecting, or what I should expect, going into workouts or interviews. It’s all about making the right decisions with who I choose, and how I go about things in the process.”
Clemson made it to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament in his freshman year, and Simms says the pull of the Big Dance could be a reason to return.
“Everyone’s goal is to make it to the tournament," says Simms. "You go 100-percent all season long, regular season, to get to that point. So definitely, if that decision is towards returning to school, that’s a very big part in my decision, just trying to get my team, and the culture of my team, and the culture of our team, and our school, and just get us back to that next level.”
Players have until June 3rd with withdraw their name from the NBA Draft.