Monday, April 20th
BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Monday morning, it was announced that UVM junior guard Stef Smith has delcared as an early entrant for the 2020 NBA Draft. This makes him the third Vermont player in the last four years to do so, joining Anthony Lamb, who declared last year, and Trae Bell-Haynes, who did so three years ago.
An early entrant is a player declaring for the draft before their senior year in college. Smith, like Lamb and Bell-Haynes before him, has not signed with an agent, which means he retains his eligibilty to return to UVM. Under normal circumstances, this move would allow Smith to attend pre-draft workouts and meet with NBA coaches and executives. However, these are anything but normal circumstances.
The NBA draft is scheduled for June 25th, and Smith would have until ten days prior remove his name from the draft and still be able to return to Vermont, but with the NBA season suspended, no one knows when the draft will actually take place, and there are no workouts being held where players like Smith could test themselves against other draft hopefuls.
While it is likely that Smith will eventually return to UVM, dozens of other Catamount student-athletes lost their senior seasons when spring sports were canceled last month. The NCAA granted spring athletes an extra year of eligibility, but it's up to individual schools to determine how that plan will work.
UVM Director of Athletics Jeff Schulman recently told Channel Three Sports that the vast majority of seniors in the University's spring offerings, men's and women's lacrosse and track and field, have decided not to return for one more season.
However for the ones that do, extra scholarships and extra scholarship money beyond what is in each of those program's current budgets won't be available.
"I do anticipate that some will be coming back.", said Schulman. "We have said to our coaches that, to be responsible financially, we are not in a position to increase the scholarship allocation on a sport by sport basis. So if student athletes do come back on scholarship, it's going to have to be factored into the overall budgets of those programs."