With the new NBA Draft rules, there were a number of underclassmen who declared early for the draft without signing with an agent. Players were able to go through the pre-draft process, and 70 players were invited to the NBA Draft Combine.
Depending on the feedback players heard, projections, and how the players felt in general, they were able to return to school if they so chose. The deadline to either sign with an agent or return to school was May 25th.
As the deadline came and went, several key players opted to return to school for another kick at the can in the NCAA. Some are back to improve their game with the hopes of becoming a lock for a first-round selection in future years, while others simply went through the process to get noticed and the experience.
After the decisions came, several teams were considered ‘winners’. Three teams stood out from the rest, as the decisions for key players to return to school will give each team a better shot at not only a conference title, but possibly a national title.
Last season, the Ducks finished atop the Pac-12 standings, earned a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and made a run to the Elite 8. With several key players having eligibility left, fans were excited about the 2016-17 season, and were wondering if bigger and better things were on the horizon for the program.
Both Tyler Dorsey and Dillon Brooks opted for the NBA Draft early, but didn’t sign with an agent. They went through the pre-draft process, gaining feedback on their respective games and draft projections. Before the May 25th deadline to either sign with an agent or return to school, Ducks fans got the news they were looking for.
Both players opted to return to school for another season in Eugene.
With Brooks (16.7 ppg) and Dorsey (13.4 ppg) back in the mix for next season, the Ducks will look to build off their successes from 2015-16. They will be the favourite to win the Pac-12 title once more, and will be a team to watch come NCAA Tournament time.
The reigning champions will be without a pair of familiar faces in 2016-17, as both Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu have graduated from Villanova. With that said, Jay Wright will have plenty of talent at his disposal as he looks to lead the Wildcats to a second straight NCAA Championship.
Villanova had the potential to be a great team next season, but that status hinged on the draft decision of arguably their best player, Josh Hart. Leading up to the deadline, Hart’s decision could have gone either way. In the end, he chose the destination most wanted to hear.
With Hart’s return, the Wildcats are one of the nation’s top teams once again. They are the front-runner in the Big East, and will be a legitimate title threat come March. Add in Kris Jenkins, Jalen Brunson, and Mikal Bridges, and Villanova could be the first repeat champion since the Florida Gators back in 2006 and 2007.
The guard issues for the Boilermakers last season were well-documented. So, to solidify that area, they hit the transfer market and landed a commitment from graduate transfer Spike Albrecht, who Purdue knows all too well after his time with the Michigan Wolverines.
With the back court issue addressed, the team was preparing for life without two of their top forwards. Vince Edwards announced his plans to return to school, but the jury was still out on freshman big man Caleb Swanigan. NBA scouts and executives felt that he should return to school to work on his body and defense, but it was heavily rumoured that he was leaning towards leaving.
The decision came down to the wire, but Swanigan made the best choice for himself at the current time.
With Swanigan’s return, he will be a part of one of the nation’s best front courts, with Edwards and Isaac Haas also in the mix. Purdue could be a team that creeps into contention in the Big Ten this season.