A year ago, Melo Trimble didn't have much time to decide if he wanted to enter the NBA draft.
Trimble knew that pro scouts wanted to see him show more point guard skills as a sophomore than he did as a freshman. And he figured he'd get the chance to do that on a team that was adding inside scoring punch from transfer Robert Carter Jr. and freshman Diamond Stone.
At the time, it was believed Trimble's stock as a marginal first-round draft prospect would improve and the decision to come out this year would be much easier.
After a season in which neither he nor the Terps lived up to expectations, it has been a lot harder. Especially with the amount of voices on the Internet offering various opinions on prospects.
Trimble, who reportedly has worked out for four NBA teams entering Tuesday, is expected to be in Philadelphia for a session with the 76ers on Wednesday before deciding that day whether or not to pull his name out of the draft. He said after the recent NBA combine in Chicago that he was "50-50" about his decision.
"[The NBA workouts] give me a chance to know where I'm at," Trimble told Bucks.com after a workout last week in Milwaukee. Just to put my name in the draft and see if I'm ready for the next level and if I'm not, I'll go back."
While ESPN analysts at the NBA combine seemed in agreement Trimble should stay in college, the public debate that has continued to play out on social media and on the steady stream of mock drafts has put pressure on Trimble and other prospects.
Hall of Fame coach Gary Williams, who said on a Washington radio show that Trimble should "get his butt back to school," believes the pressure began last spring when Trimble opted to return to College Park.
"As soon as he made this decision last year, there were people probably telling him, 'You should have gone, you should have done this,'" the former Maryland coach said in an interview last week. "Maybe that puts more pressure on a player than he should feel. In the United States, you become scrutinized more each year you stay in school."
ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, who was part of the two-day telecast from the combine, blames a lot of the indecision on the mock drafts.
"Everybody and their brother has a draft blog and that's why getting really good information from teams at the combine or after at the workouts is imperative," Fraschila said, "because, quite frankly, a lot of these kids are swayed by what a draft blog has and these blogs are so widely inaccurate."
Fraschilla said that the mock drafts also make it more difficult for college coaches to be honest with players about their NBA future.
"A college coach has to fight the perception the kid has of himself," said Fraschilla, a former Division I coach. "The kid might say, 'Wait a minute, I'm a first-round pick, this draft blog says so.'"
Said Williams, "If you tell a player to stay..you're doing it because you believe that guy needs more experience at the college level. The problem is that once you say that, all the outside people a lot of times will say, 'He only cares about himself, he's making a lot of money, he just wants to have the best possible team next year.' They throw all the negatives at the kid."
Based on various Internet mock drafts, it is hard to tell exactly where any of the four Maryland players who participated in the combine will wind up in the June 23 draft and whether three of them – Trimble, Carter and forward Jake Layman – will get drafted at all.
Stone has been mentioned by most as a mid-to-late first-round pick, but a couple of prominent mock drafts have the 6-11, 250-pound center dropping into the second round. Several mock drafts have Trimble going undrafted, but NBA.com listed him as the 29th overall pick, going to the San Antonio Spurs, for whom he worked out Saturday.
Most blogs have Layman and Carter as mid-to-late second-round selections.
Because second-round draft choices don't receive guaranteed contracts, Trimble might have to gamble a bit on his future.
At the NBA combine, Trimble told Sny.com that he would also consider leaving if he were a second-round pick based on the success others taken outside the first round have had in recent years.
"You look at players in the league like Isaiah Thomas and Draymond Green, they were in the second round," Trimble said. "Isaiah was the last pick and you see what hard work gets you. And the other things don't matter, it's just how hard you keep working."
Trimble also conceded that the Maryland team he would be returning to — he would be the only starter coming back after a 27-9 season that ended with a loss to Kansas in the Sweet 16 — makes his decision "a lot harder."
"For me to be the only starter coming back, it's going to be something difficult…so it's tough to think how they're not coming back," Trimble said.
Williams has faced the issue of telling players they should go into the draft before their eligibility was up, as he did with Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox after their sophomore years, and has also told players needed another year, as he did with Jordan Williams after his sophomore year.
While Smith was the No. 1 pick overall in 1995 and Wilcox went No. 8 in 2002, Jordan Williams went 36th overall by the New Jersey Nets in 2010 and was traded to the Atlanta Hawks after a mostly unproductive rookie year. He was cut by the Hawks before the season began and played briefly in Europe.
A new rule allows players who didn't sign with an agent to have until May 25, rather than the middle of April, to make their stay-or-go decision.
Gary Williams said that the old deadline "probably benefited the college coaches, because you could still go out and recruit somebody" to replace the player who was leaving. The new deadline benefits the player.
As a result of the new rule, more players than usual were invited to Chicago for the combine and more players have also participated in individual workouts. Even if Trimble decides to return for his junior year, NBA teams will have more information on him, should he opt to leave after next season.