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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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My thoughts on Marcus Sasser -- and any underclassmen -- who declares for the NBA Draft

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UPDATED: April 10, 2022 -- 1:50 p.m. CT

POSTED: April 10, 2022 -- 12:25 p.m. CT

Thursday, April 7, Houston Cougars guard Marcus Sasser announced on social media his intentions to enter the 2022 NBA Draft but also maintain his college eligibility.

Friday, April 8, Marcus spoke with members of the Houston sports media to discuss his decision.

"I feel like I can go explore my options for the NBA a little bit," Sasser said to begin the media session. "Get feedback from different teams and just work out at the biggest level; and, then, I'll make my decision by that."

Marcus was asked if he had a range in mind in the Draft which would help him determine his decision.

"Probably guaranteed first round; and, then, that'll decide if I stay or come back."

Marcus' answer about being a first-round pick is the answer I like other college players to consider when deciding to go to the NBA or stay in college: if you're projected to be a first-round pick, go to the NBA. If not, consider other options. Being drafted in the first round is guaranteed money for the first 2 years of the deal which team options on the third and fourth year.

Later in the media session, Marcus was asked if he were mentally leaning one way or the other.

"No, I'm really fifty-fifty right now," Marcus answered.

Salaries for rookie contracts are slotted based on where the player is drafted. Salaries range from $8 million plus for the top overall pick to $1 million plus for the 30th (final) pick in the first round.

Naturally, first-round contracts pay more than second-round contracts; and, second-round contracts rarely have guaranteed salaries beyond the first year.

I write that info to say this: if Marcus Sasser gets a guarantee from the NBA's Undergraduate Advisory Committee that he is a first-round prospect, he should keep his name in the Draft. Period.

However, I doubt he will receive a first-round grade from the UAC. Sasser's 2021-22 season was cut short due to season-ending surgery to repair the fifth metatarsal in his left foot. Prior to the surgery, Sasser, 6'2", 195, played in Houston's first 11 games this season and averaged 18.3 points per game and shot 44.5% from the floor (65 for 146) including 43.8 3pt% (42 for 96). He averaged 2.9 rebounds per game with 29 assists, 22 turnovers, and 22 steals.

Sasser's announcement to declare for the 2022 NBA Draft didn't move the needle with NBA Draft experts. His name is not yet listed on NBA Draft Big Boards. Perhaps that will change.

During Friday's media session, Sasser mentioned to the media he's about 85 percent since the foot surgery; and, he believes he can be at 100 percent within two weeks.

June 1 of last year, Sasser was among hundreds of players listed as early-entry candidates for the 2021 NBA Draft.

June 10, 2021, Sasser decided to return to Houston.

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Players who have applied for early entry have the right to withdraw their names from consideration for the Draft by notifying the NBA of their decision in writing no later than 4 p.m. CT on Monday, June 13. Under NCAA rules, in order to retain college basketball eligibility, college players who have entered the 2022 NBA Draft must withdraw by Wednesday, June 1.

Any college underclassman who seeks information from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee must apply in writing for an evaluation after the conclusion of his team's college season (including all tournament games) but not later than 10 days prior to the NBA's early entry deadline (i.e., the NBA's early entry deadline is 60 days prior to the NBA Draft).

The feedback from the Undergraduate Advisory Committee will be provided in writing and it will be delivered to the student-athlete and his head college coach via email. Feedback will be based on the professional judgment of the Undergraduate Advisory Committee and highlight whether the student-athlete is likely to be:

The NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee is composed of NBA team executives who will provide a confidential projection of a potential draftee's likely draft position.

The NBA began providing the initial round of written feedback to UAC applicants on April 1, 2022.

A student-athlete who wishes to remove his name from the NBA Draft AND maintain NCAA eligibility must submit a letter to the NBA no later than 10 days after the conclusion of the 2022 NBA Draft Combine which is scheduled for May 16 to May 22, 2022; therefore, June 1, 2022, the NCAA Early Entry Withdrawal deadline.

The 2022 NBA Draft is set to take place June 23, 2022.

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