The NCAA unveiled new rule changes regarding agents and NBA eligibility on Wednesday, and the new regulations were met with a variety of reviews.
Initially it seemed as though the new rules, some of which would allow high school and college players to hire agents, would be well-received. However, USA Basketball and the NBA were reportedly "blindsided" by the announcement, as their organizations were prominently featured in the rule changes, which can be read in full here.
Some of the rules have already gone into effect, while others will go into effect a year from now. With the jury still out on whether or not these rule changes will be beneficial for college basketball, we decided to take a look at which three Buckeyes – present or future – could benefit from the new NCAA rules.
Luther Muhammad, Freshman, Guard
Muhammad was the highest-rated recruit in Chris Holtmann's first recruiting class at Ohio State, the No. 76 overall prospect in the 2018 cycle. He has yet to play his first game with the Buckeyes (not counting the Spain trip, of course), yet with a solid freshman season, could apply for agent representation in 2019.
According to the NCAA's new rule, college players may request an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee following any basketball season. If a player is deemed an "elite" prospect, they may be represented by an agent moving forward in their career.
Already an above-average defender and a more than capable scorer, Muhammad figures to be Ohio State's most likely NBA prospect on the current roster. With a good first year, he could apply for agent representation or even turn pro. He could even return to school for a sophomore year if he were to declare and go undrafted, in accordance with another rule passed by the NCAA on Wednesday.
NBA draft flexibility
College basketball players who request an Undergraduate Advisory Committee evaluation, participate in the NBA combine and aren’t drafted can return to school as long as they notify their athletics director of their intent by 5 p.m. the Monday after the draft.
This change is effective if/when the NBA and NBPA make an expected rule change, which would make undrafted student-athletes who return to college after the draft ineligible for the NBA until the end of the next college basketball season.
Muhammad figures to be the Buckeye on the current roster that benefits the most from these rule changes, but isn't the only one that could take advantage.
Kaleb Wesson, Sophomore, Center
Wesson has been preparing all offseason to expand his game in multiple ways in an effort to play at the next level at some point in his career and if he has the kind of season most think he is capable of in 2018-19, the younger Wesson could have a chance to enter the NBA sooner rather than later.
Much like Muhammad, an "elite" season could be enough to apply for and receive agent representation and perhaps even enter his name into the NBA Draft. His current game as it stands might not be enough to get him selected, but should he prove to be able to hit a consistent jumper and improve his conditioning from last season, he would at least earn a combine workout.
From there, Wesson could enter his name into the draft and if he would not be selected, could choose to return to Ohio State for a junior season. He still has a lot to work on, but Wesson's upside puts him right behind Muhammad as the Buckeyes' next best chance to send a player to the NBA from its current roster.
Alonzo Gaffney/DJ Carton, 2019 Commits, Forward/Guard
Gaffney and Carton are both top-35 players in their class, according to 247Sports, and could both be considered "elite" prospects by USA Basketball. If so, they would be allowed to hire agents prior to their senior seasons, but only if the NBA were to get rid of the "one-and-done" rule and once again allow high school students to enter the draft.
This would be a detriment to Ohio State, especially if either player opted to make the jump directly from high school to the professional ranks. Lucky for the Buckeyes, while each player is a great college prospect, neither appear ready for the NBA just yet.
Both are slated to arrive on campus in 2019 and could join a roster that looks, at least on paper, capable of contending for a Big Ten if not a national title. With the new rules the NCAA announced on Wednesday, however, that could potentially be their only season on campus.