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NCAA rule changes likely to affect Maryland basketball players

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Diamond Stone, Melo Trimble and Robert Carter should all benefit from the change.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA announced a few rule chances Wednesday that will make things easier for players thinking about entering the NBA Draft. This could affect Maryland more than most other schools in the nation, as all three of the team's top scorers have eligibility remaining after this season.

The NCAA voted to push back the date necessary for players to remove their name for the NBA Draft to 10 days following May's NBA Draft Combine. Previously, players were forced to declare for the draft prior to National Signing Day in April. Also new: players can participate in one tryout per NBA team without losing their remaining years of eligibility.

Underclassmen can now go through the combine's tests and scrimmages in mid-May and allow hundreds of scouts and executives to assess their worth for more than a week before they need to officially decide to enter the following month's draft. The NCAA is giving its teenagers and 20-somethings ample time to make arguably the biggest decision in their young lives.

These changes will almost certainly affect Maryland's prospect-heavy lineup.

Maryland's biggest question marks lie in freshman Diamond Stone, sophomore Melo Trimble and junior Robert Carter Jr. All three are off to tremendous starts in the first half of the season, and will only gain more national attention as the 15-2 Terps head deeper into the winter.

Stone and Trimble have flirted with the lottery in mock drafts, and Carter will see his name on the big boards soon enough. These three will now enjoy the benefit of participating in the combine if they so choose to determine if they're comfortable with their expected draft positions, which in the first round, directly correlates to rookie-year salaries. Teams have full control over a first round pick's contract for their first four years.

Jake Layman and Rasheed Sulaimon are each in their final year of eligibility and will enter this year's draft at their own leisure. Layman has already been projected to land in the back-end of the first round, or beginning of the second round in most mock drafts.

The NBA Draft Combine will take place from May 11-15 in Chicago. Players will have until May 25 to decide whether to enter the draft, which takes place on June 23 at the Barclays Center in New York.