Nebraska coach Tim Miles encouraged James Palmer, Isaac Copeland to test NBA draft process

Nebraska coach Tim Miles encouraged James Palmer, Isaac Copeland to test NBA draft process
Tim Miles believes players should leave early for the NBA only if they expect to be a first-round draft pick. (World-Herald News Service)

LINCOLN — Coach Tim Miles encouraged seniors-to-be James Palmer and Isaac Copeland to go through the NBA draft process, and will call his pro contacts to get as much information as possible.

Twice before, with Terran Petteway and Andrew White, NU has sent players through the evaluation system, which includes working out for NBA teams and possibly earning an invitation to the NBA combine. As long as a player doesn’t sign with an agent and withdraws from the draft by May 30, college eligibility is retained.

In the cases of Petteway and White, the players returned for one more year of college, though White transferred in mid-summer to Syracuse.

“For me, it’s always been the same,” Miles said. “If you think you can be a first-round pick and if we feel like we’re getting that information, then you go. It’s all about what’s in the best interest of each kid.”

Written reports are compiled by about 20 NBA general managers and player personnel directors. Kiki Vandeweghe, a former first-round NBA pick, All-Pro and general manager, coordinates the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee as executive vice president of basketball operations.

After those reports are processed and the grades out, NBA teams can invite players for workouts.

“The test-the-waters thing is very productive,” Miles said. “It helped Andrew White. It didn’t help him stay here, but it helped him become a better player and make a roster (Atlanta Hawks).

“They get a true test of what they need to do. And it’s nice for them to hear that from somebody besides their coaches.”

Copeland will graduate from Nebraska this spring, Miles said.

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