The following players have pulled their names out of consideration for the NBA Draft and will return to school for the 2018-19 season. In bold are players who we might classify as proven stars at the collegiate level.
|Esa Ahmad||West Virginia||Junior|
|Lamonte Bearden||Western Kentucky||Junior|
|Ky Bowman||Boston College||Sophomore|
|Barry Brown Jr.||Kansas State||Junior|
|Isaac Copeland Jr.||Nebraska||Junior|
|Mike Daum||South Dakota State||Junior|
|Jordan Davis||Northern Colorado||Junior|
|Torin Dorn||North Carolina State||Junior|
|Dextor Foster||ASA College (FL)||Junior|
|Robert Franks Jr.||Washington State||Junior|
|Eugene German||Northern Illinois||Sophomore|
|Admon Gilder||Texas A&M||Junior|
|Tyler Hall||Montana State||Junior|
|Zach Hankins||Ferris State||Junior|
|Tramaine Isabell Jr.||Drexel||Junior|
|Christian Keeling||Charleston Southern||Sophomore|
|Sagaba Konate||West Virginia||Sophomore|
|Kalob Ledoux||McNeese State||Sophomore|
|Victor Lewis II||West Texas A&M||Junior|
|Dominic Magee||Southern Mississippi||Junior|
|Malik Martin||South Florida||Junior|
|Luke Maye||North Carolina||Junior|
|Jalen McDaniels||San Diego State||Freshman|
|Markis McDuffie||Wichita State||Junior|
|Christian Mekowulu||Tennessee State||Junior|
|Jordan Murdock||Friends University||Junior|
|Ray Ona Embo||Tulane||Sophomore|
|James Palmer Jr.||Nebraska||Junior|
|Keanu Peters||Salt Lake CC (UT)||Sophomore|
|Lamar Peters||Mississippi State||Sophomore|
|Jalon Pipkins||Cal State-Northridge||Freshman|
|Shamorie Ponds||St. John’s||Sophomore|
|Kerwin Roach II||Texas||Junior|
|Ronshad Shabazz||Appalachian State||Junior|
|Chris Silva||South Carolina||Junior|
|Deshon Taylor||Fresno State||Junior|
|Jaylin Walker||Kent State||Junior|
|Nick Ward||Michigan State||Sophomore|
|Quinndary Weatherspoon||Mississippi State||Junior|
|Demajeo Wiggins||Bowling Green||Junior|
|Lindell Wigginton||Iowa State||Freshman|
Teams who Fared the Best
Returnees: PG) Jaylen Hands, SF) Kris Wilkes, PF) Cody Riley
When the process draft process first started the Bruins faced the prospect of losing five players. Thomas Welsh and Aaron Holiday will not be returning, but UCLA did get great news as Jaylen Hands, Kris Wilkes, and Cody Riley have all withdrawn their names and will be back for their sophomores seasons. Wilkes is the one Coach Steve Alford will be most happy to see back as the former five star recruit was the team’s second leading scorer this past season. Point guard, Jaylen Hands, also a former five star recruit, figures to play a much more prominent role as the Bruin’s lead guard now that Holiday is on his way out. Riley was another heralded 2017 recruit at power forward, although he didn’t feature during the season at all due to a suspension stemming from the infamous Chinese shoplifting incident. UCLA looks to be in very good shape next year in the PAC 12 with a number of key contributors returning, and a top five recruiting class on the way.
Returnees: PG) Bryce Brown, PG) Jared Harper, C) Austin Wiley
Auburn exploded onto the scene last year and surprised almost everyone on their way to winning the SEC regular season title. Unfortunately at season’s ends it looked like many of the program’s big names were headed to the NBA. However, after testing the NBA draft waters all of Auburn’s key figures announced their return to school. Leading scorer Bryce Brown will once again be a key component in Bruce Pearl’s offense after developing into the team’s second leading scorer this past year. The Tigers return another key guard in Jared Harper. The diminutive scorer averaged upwards of 13 PPG but likely found there would be little market for him in the draft due to his size. Perhaps the most intriguing return of the bunch is center Austin Wiley. Wiley was ruled ineligible last season to NCAA investigations but was still projected as a second round pick has he stayed in the draft. It be interesting to see how he figures into offense that last year relied heavily upon guard play. While the Tigers look primed for another strong season, they will lose leading Mustapha Heron after the rising junior announced a transfer to St. John’s to be closer to home.
Returnees: SG) Marcquise Reed, PG) Shelton Mitchell
Clemson’s stellar season in ACC came as somewhat of a surprise given the depth of the conference and the lack of a marquee star. However, it was Clemson’s own depth that powered them to a 25-10 record and a five seed in the NCAA tournament. The Tiger’s roster featured five players who averaged double figures in scoring. While they will lose seniors Gabe DeVoe and Donte Grantham, Clemson will surely be given a boost by news of Marcquise Reed and Shelton Mitchell’s decisions to return to school. Reed led the Tigers in scoring last year while Mitchell averaged 12 points of his own. This twosome’s return is huge for a program that finished ranked last season, and should keep them competitive in a conference that may perhaps be the toughest in the country.
Returnees: SF) Caleb Martin, SF) Cody Martin, PG) Jordan Caroline
The news of Caleb Martin, Cody Martin, and Jordan Caroline’s return to campus should have Nevada fans ecstatic. Of all the the programs who had players pull their names from this draft, this group may be of the most significance to their teams preseason rankings. Nevada doesn’t have the depth or recruiting capability of a power five conference team. Losing their three leading scorers would surely be a fatal blow to their 2018-19 season. However, their return means that the Wolfpack may be able to recapture some of the magic that spurred them to the sweet sixteen in this past tournament. Anyone who watched them play in March will be more than familiar with the Martin twins; specifically Caleb who averaged a team leading 18.9 PPG. However, Jordan Caroline’s return is also a big get for Nevada as the guard averaged 17.7 PPG and 8.6 RPG for the Wolfpack. Now a team that likely would have struggled all season without their three talismans will probably find themselves ranked somewhere around the top fifteen in the preseason.
Returnees: SG) Tyus Battle, SF) Oshae Brisset
It doesn’t take an expert to figure out that a sweet sixteen team who will return the two best players is in pretty good shape. Jim Boeheim will no doubt be pleased that team leader and leading scorer Tyus Battle will return for his senior season. Battle was far and away Syracuse’s best player this past year averaging over 19 PPG on the season. Additionally, Oshae Brisset is not featured on this withdrawal list but surprisingly decided not to test the waters at all after an impressive debut season resulted in many projecting him as a 2018 draft pick. The duo’s return means that Syracuse should be very compettitve in the ACC this upcoming year. What’s more, the fact that they are losing none of their starters means the Orange will likely be ranked (albeit it in the 15-25 range) in the preseason.
Returnees: C) Udoka Azubuike, SG) Lagerald Vick
Kansas is another program that will be very satisfied now that the NBA Draft withdrawal deadline has come and gone. The Jayhawks faced the possibility of losing five players in their starting rotation after Devonte ‘Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk, Malik Newman, Udoka Azubuike, Lagerald Vick all declared for the draft. Graham, Mykhailiuk, and Newman all remain in the draft, but Kansas will consider themelves fortunate that they were able to recoup Azubuike and Vick. The big man in particular is a crucial returnee for the Jayhawks as he represented the only real presence inside for the team last season. Lagerald Vick also should again be key feature for Kansas. Coach Bill Self is somewhat known for trusting upperclassmen over freshmen, so Vick should be a fixture at guard, despite the influx of five star recruits at the position coming to Lawrence next year. Speaking of recruits, Kansas’s 2018 class includes five stars Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson. The New look Kansas will also include coveted transfers Dedric and KJ Lawson. Including the aforementioned returnees and recruits, Kansas looks one of the top 3 most talented rosters in the country.
Returnees: SG) Quinndary Weatherspoon, PG) Lamar Peters
Mississippi State flew under the radar last year but quietly amassed a 25-12 record and managed a trip to the NIT semifinal. With all of their top four scorers returning, the Bulldogs are dark horse in the SEC who look primed to make some noise. The most important news Mississippi State basketball has received during the offseason is that of Quinndary Weatherspoons return. The older Weatherspoon lead the bulldogs in scoring while his younger brother Nick also averaged in double figures. Lamar Peters was another name Mississippi State was preparing to lose. Peters began the 2017-18 season as one top rated guards in this draft class. However, a tumultuous year saw his numbers dip, while others like the Weatherspoon brothers took center stage. Peters clearly expected to NBA prospect come season’s end and decided to throw his hat in the ring anyway. However, he likely found little market for himself and ultimately made the right decision to return to Starkville. Mississippi State’s triumvirate of scoring guards plus forward Aric Holdman give the Bulldogs the look of a tournament team. When you add incoming top 60 recruits Reggie Perry and Robert Woodard to the mix, this team has the makings of a unit that may begin the season ranked.
Returnees: PG) James Palmer Jr., SF) Isaac Copeland Jr.
Although 2017-18 was a down year for the Big Ten, Nebraska put together one of the better seasons in the conference. The Cornhuskers finished fourth on the Big Ten largely on the strength of James Palmer and Isaac Copeland’s performances. Naturally, the brass at Nebraska must have been worried when both of the teams top scorers made the decision to enter the draft. Fortunately for Coach Miles, both Palmer and Copeland elected to come back to school. Along with Palmer and Copeland, Glynn Watson Jr. will also be a key returner from last year’s offense. If Nebraska had any hopes of keeping up with the likes Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue etc. it had to have those three guys back. Still expectations should be tempered for this squad.
Returnees: PF) Sagaba Konate, SF) Esa Ahmad
West Virginia will have to soldier one without their leader Jevon Carter and ancilary scoring threat Daxter Miles , but they did some encouraging news in that Sagaba Konate and Esa Ahmad will both be back in Morgantown next season. Konate in particular will once again be an integral part of the Mountaineers defense as a rim protector after finishing third in the country in blocks per game. Konate isn’t the only frontcourt staple that Coach Huggins will be glad to have back as Esa Ahmad will also continue to a be a reliable scoring option for West Virginia. The Mountaineers also have two four star recruits incoming and should once again contend in the Big 12. However, with the roster Kansas is fielding, any shot of a regular season conference championship seems highly unlikely.
Returnees: PG) Shamorie Ponds, SG) Mustapha Heron
St. John’s quietly may have made out the best of anyone after the withdrawal deadline for two reasons. First and foremost, having their bonafide superstar (at the college level), Shamorie Ponds back is obviously tremendous news. Ponds’s is a name you should become familar with if you haven’t already. Despite the fact that the Red Storm put together an up and down season, Ponds averaged 21.6 PPG 5.0 RPG and 4.7 APG and almost singlehandedly toppled giants like Duke and Villanova. However, his size isn’t exactly ideal for an NBA guard and he percentage from three proves that he could yet use more seasoning at the collegiate level. As big as the news of Ponds’s return has been for St. John’s it is another player who has dominated headlines for the Red Storm as of late. This past year, Mustapha Heron lead SEC regular season champions, Auburn, in scoring. After testing the NBA draft waters Heron made the decision to return to college; albeit not with Auburn. Heron recently announced his intention to transfer to St. John’s after family issues sparked a desire to be closer to home. He is expected to be granted a family hardship waiver and be eligible to play this upcoming season. The transfer gives the Red Storms and dynamic duo at guard that should elevate the team to relevancy in the Big East. With many of the conference’s upper crust losing talent to the NBA, St. John’s just may be able to make some noise this year.
Biggest Individual Gets
PF) Luke Maye (North Carolina)
PF) Ethan Haap (Wisconsin)
PF) PJ Washington (Kentucky)
PF) Reid Travis (Transferring*)
PG) Tremont Waters (LSU)
C/PF) Nick Ward (Michigan State)
PG) Ky Bowman (Boston College)
PF) Admiral Schoefield (Tennessee)
SG) Charles Matthews (Michigan)
PF/C) Dewan Huell (Miami)
PG) Barry Brown (Kansas State)
C) Bruno Fernando (Maryland)
PG) Lindell Wigginton (Iowa State)
PG) Carsen Edwards (Purdue)
PF) Jontay Porter (Missouri)
SG) Jalen Hudson (Florida)