Meeks, other NBA hopefuls face 5 p.m. Monday deadline

Kentucky guard Jodie Meeks and other underclassmen face a deadline of 5 p.m. EDT Monday to withdraw from this year’s NBA Draft.

As of this posting at 6 p.m. EDT Sunday, there was no word of Meeks withdrawing his name.

If Meeks waits until Monday afternoon to decide, he would fit the typical profile of a NBA prospect who waits until the final few hours.

NBA consultant Chris Ekstrand said Sunday that the league typically receives notice of about half the withdrawals on the day of the deadline.

This year saw 105 underclassmen enter the draft, Ekstrand said. Of those early entries, Ekstrand said the NBA would expect about 50 to withdraw. Only about 25 had withdrawn as of Sunday afternoon.

Ekstrand said that a handful of the last-minute withdrawals come players harboring a fantasy wish that, say, the Lakers will belatedly come begging for their services. Another 20 simply hold out a realistic hope that late word will come of being projected as a first rounder.

Meeks is seen as a possible selection in the second half of the first round.

“Some guys wouldn’t get drafted in a 10-round draft,” Ekstrand said. “They haven’t withdrawn yet.”

Meeks, who would be a senior next season, was named to the all-Southeastern Conference team last season. He led UK in scoring. On more than one occasion, he almost single-handedly either won games or kept Kentucky competitive.

At Tennessee, he broke UK’s 39-year-old school record for points in a game by scoring 54.

That 5 p.m. EDT Monday deadline to withdraw is a “hard” and fixed time, Ekstrand said. The league must receive written notification of a withdrawal by that time. The notification can come via fax if the NBA has been notified that a withdrawal will come from that particular fax number.