Jared Cunningham to test NBA Draft waters

JARED CUNNINGHAM

OREGON STATE GUARD Jared Cunningham is planning to test the NBA Draft process, ESPN.com's Andy Katz reported, citing unnamed sources. But Cunningham could still has about a month to decided if he wants to return to Oregon State for his senior season.

The ESPN report says Jared Cunningham will not hire an agent and intends not to declare himself eligible by the NCAA's April 10 deadline for underclassmen. But the 6-4 junior will work to gather information on his status and could then declare himself eligible by the NBA's April 29 deadline if he believes he will be a first-round pick.

Cunningham's situation highlights a loophole in the NCAA's new early deadline -- Players can keep themselves college-eligible beyond April 10 by declaring their intention to stay and not hiring an agent. But they still have the option of changing their minds and declaring by the NBA's deadline nineteen days later.

Unlike past years, when the NCAA deadline was after the NBA's deadline, players will not be able to work out with teams and then return to school. NBA teams are not allowed to work out underclassmen until they are given a list of draft-eligible players on May 2.

Cunningham was the Beavers' top scorer at 17.9 points per game, and he led the Pac-12 in steals.

Cunningham is reportedly not considered a likely first-round — or second-round — pick as of the moment. ESPN and Draft Express both list him as the 95th best NBA prospect.

At the same time, based on how declaring for the draft has worked out for some juniors, it's not out of the realm of possibility he could see his name shoot up the board now that he's testing the waters. Working against him, this year's NBA draft is considered to be one of the deeper in recent memory.

One Pac-12 beat writer, the Seattle Times' Percy, wondered if Cunningham is the 2012 version of Stanford's Jeremy Green, a first team All Pac-12 pick last year who surprised many by leaving early last but was not drafted. Green is now with the Erie BayHawks, in the NBA's D-League, (the NBA's official minor league basketball organization) after the Los Angeles D-Fenders waived him back on Jan. 27.

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