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April 30, 2007

Freshmen head list of NBA Draft early entries

The NBA does not release the official list of early entries until later this week, but the midnight deadline for players to declare their intentions to enter the draft has passed.

One and done?
Six of the top seven players in the 2006 Rivals150 have entered the 2007 NBA Draft. The following is a look at the freshmen who've entered the draft early and where they were ranked by Rivals.com:
Name School Rank
Greg Oden Ohio State 1
Kevin Durant Texas 2
Brandan Wright North Carolina 3
Thaddeus Young Georgia Tech 5
Spencer Hawes Washington 6
Javaris Crittenton Georgia Tech 7
Daequan Cook Ohio State 13
Mike Conley Jr. Ohio State 18

Rivals.com's Early Entry Tracker lists 43 American college underclassmen have submitted their names, including seven of the 10 Rivals.com All-Americans who had eligibility remaining.

Headlining the list of early entries are a pair of freshmen consensus national player of the year Kevin Durant of Texas and Ohio State center Greg Oden, both of whom were on the Rivals' first team. They figure to go 1-2 in the NBA Draft on June 28, with Oden probably in the top spot.

Other notables include the four juniors (Corey Brewer, Taurean Green, Al Horford and Joakim Noah) who helped Florida win back-to-back national titles and the two big men (Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert) who propelled Georgetown to the Final Four.

The early-entry list is inundated with freshmen (see chart) a result of the NBA instituting a minimum age requirement of 19 before a player could enter the draft. That meant no one could come straight out of high school to the draft. It was a major boost for the college game with the likes of Oden, Durant and North Carolina's Brandan Wright stopping over for a year before moving onto the pros.

Complete list of underclassmen who have declared for the NBA Draft

Bob McClellan is the college basketball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at bmcclellan@rivals.com.

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