NBA release list of early-entrant candidates for 2016 Draft

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The 2016 playoffs are in full swing but, for a number of teams, the focus is already on the upcoming draft. 

60 of the best college and European talents will be selected by NBA teams on June 23 as the latest batch of players enter the big league. 

Changes to the NCAA's rules meant a large number of early entrant candidates were expected and that has proved to be the case as the NBA released a list of 162 players who have declared. 

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The NCAA have altered their rules and are now allowing players to withdraw and return to school after the combine, on the stipulation that they have not signed with an agent. 

The ruling allows a number of college players to get a professional assessment from specialists and teams at the combine that takes place in Chicago from May 11 to 15.

In the list of players released by the NBA, 117 of those are underclassmen from college while the other 45 are from European teams. 

Players who have applied for early entry can withdraw their names from consideration for the draft by notifying the NBA in writing no later than Monday, June 13 at 10 p.m.

In accordance with NCAA rules, in order to retain their college eligibility, players must withdraw their application to enter the draft by Wednesday, May 25.

In the long list of players, there are some names that stand out more than others. While a number of youngsters will be using the opportunity to test their ability to compete in the NBA, some prospects are already sure of what their future holds.

LSU product Ben Simmons, who has been predicted by many media outlets as the number one pick, is one of the standout candidates. 

The center's intent to declare for the draft has been known for some time and his college career came to a premature end after the Los Angeles-based college failed to qualify for March Madness. 

Brandon Ingram, who is tipped to go top five and further increased his stock after his performances during college basketball's showpiece event, is also on the early entrants list. 

The young point guard averaged 23 points per outing and shot 45.1 percent from the field as Duke fell in the Sweet 16 to Oregon.

Malachi Richardson, who was a huge part of Syracuse's unexpected run to the Final Four, is also on the shortlist. 

The 6'5" shooting guard showed a deft touch throughout the tournament and dropped 25 points as the Orange won in the Midwest with a 68-62 victory over top seed Virginia.

Croatian prospect Dragan Bender from Maccabi Tel Aviv is also involved. The 18-year-old front court player is a projected top five pick and is a two-time Israeli League champion.

Other notable names include Jamal Murray, Domantas Sabonis, Jaylen Brown, Jakob Poeltl, Malik Beasley and Dejounte Murray.

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