With the NBA Draft Combine behind us and the June 1 withdrawal deadline for early entrants looming, some college basketball players are mulling tough decisions about whether to stay in the draft or return to school. A few notable names have already made their call, with Louisiana Tech big man Kenneth Lofton Jr. staying in the draft and other college stars such as Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis returning to school.
Dozens more are taking their time, processing all the information they’ve received from NBA executives and trying to make the right decision. For players who stay in the draft but aren’t regarded as lottery picks, there is some risk involved, because those who slip to the second round are not assured to receive guaranteed contracts. Those who are not drafted at all will end up having to slog it out in hopes of earning two-way contracts as undrafted free agents with the possibility of ending up in the G League or overseas.
Given that many players now have opportunities to make money while playing college basketball, returning to school can be increasingly more attractive than a life on the fringes of pro basketball. However, some are simply ready to begin the next chapter of their lives and are willing to leave some collegiate eligibility on the table to capitalize on their youth and start their professional careers.
So as the June 1 withdrawal deadline approaches, who would benefit the most from withdrawing from the draft and returning for another college season? Our writers make their picks for this week’s dribble handoff.
Drew Timme (Gonzaga)
Timme is the obvious answer because I genuinely believe he can have more fun and make more money in college next season than he would have or make playing professional basketball once you consider the most likely scenario has him playing professionally somewhere other than the NBA. The G League is great for guys without better options. But Timme clearly has a better option — specifically to return to Gonzaga as a First Team All-American for a top-five team and make significant money via NIL opportunities. How much money could Timme make? Not sure. But if Nijel Pack is worth $400,000 to somebody, Drew Timme should get at least three times as much while playing every game on national television and in packed arenas while trying to become a forever-legend as the player who leads the Zags to their first national championship in school history. As I always say about this stuff, ultimately it’s up to Timme, and I’ll respect any decision he makes because it’s his life to live. But, that said, if I were him, I’m pretty sure this would be an easy decision for me for all of the reasons previously stated. …….