Complete NBA Draft List: After NCAA Deadline, Who’s Staying and Who’s Going?Posted by EJacoby on April 10th, 2012
Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter.
In a rule that makes absolutely no sense, today (April 10) marks the new official date that college players had to withdraw their names from the NBA Draft pool if they wanted to return back to school with eligibility and had previously declared for draft entry. It’s the NCAA’s deadline. That means that all of the guys who declared since the end of the season (Kendall Marshall, Jared Sullinger, and Meyers Leonard to name a few) had to decide by today whether to forgo their NCAA eligibilities. But the NBA’s own deadline isn’t until April 29, meaning that players can still declare for the draft, but just can’t withdraw anymore and retain college eligibility. Essentially, it just means that “testing the waters” is now done, so if a player enters the draft from here then he is gone for good. Yes, it’s confusing and makes zero sense, but that’s an issue for another day. Today, we wrap up all of the players who are officially sticking in the NBA Draft, those who decided to return to school, and those that are still undecided until April 29. Here’s the status of all the top non-senior players of college basketball:
DECLARED - These players have entered their names into the NBA Draft and no longer have college eligibility.
- Harrison Barnes, North Carolina (Sophomore) – The super-hyped prospect had a strong two seasons but perhaps underachieved in the eyes of many UNC fans. He is a surefire lottery pick and could go in the top five so it’s a smart decision to leave.
- Jared Sullinger, Ohio State (Sophomore) – Dominant as a Buckeye from day one as a freshman, Sullinger’s NBA stock has slowly dropped over the course of two seasons. It’s his time to go now, but he may be slipping out of the top 10. Everyone seems torn on him, but Sully is too talented of a player to fall out of the lottery.
- Thomas Robinson, Kansas (Junior) – No-brainer. Robinson was a NPOY candidate, accomplished great things in three years at Kansas and will be a top-five draft pick.
- Kendall Marshall, North Carolina (Sophomore) – Despite being a stacked draft, this year’s pool severely lacks point guards. Marshall lacks athleticism at the position but is a solid height (6’4”) and has elite passing skills and floor awareness that will translate at the NBA level. Could be a surprise top ten pick, and will probably go in the lottery.
- Austin Rivers, Duke (Freshman) – Another player that scouts are torn on, many believe that Rivers could have used another year of seasoning at Duke. But his scoring prowess is undeniable and someone will grab his talents likely between picks 10 and 20.
- Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut (Sophomore) – With prototypical shooting guard size and skills, Lamb oozes with potential, but lacked aggressiveness throughout much of this past season. He is a borderline top-10 pick that will be an interesting decision for GMs.
- John Henson, North Carolina (Junior) – Has improved dramatically over three years into a defensive force and hard-working offensive player. Still lacks strength and offensive skills that make him a question mark. But it’s time for him to leave Carolina, as well, and Henson is another likely lottery pick.
- Perry Jones III, Baylor (Sophomore) – Another incredibly talented prospect that has struggled to put it all together. He gave it two full years but has consistently demonstrated a frustrating lack of assertiveness. His combo of size (6’11”) and skills will leave someone drafting him in the lottery.
- Meyers Leonard, Illinois (Sophomore) – With the turmoil and coaching change at Illinois, it’s no surprise to see Leonard bounce from school early. He’s a legit seven-footer that vastly improved last year, but he remains much more of a long-term project than those above him on this list. He is a borderline lottery pick but will more likely go between picks 15 and 25.
- Damian Lillard, Weber State (Junior) – Lillard was not only a mid-major superstar and Cousy Award finalist for the country’s best point guard, but he is in the discussion as the best point guard in the draft. The small school bias could hurt him a bit, but none of that matters much once workouts begin. He’s a borderline lottery pick and could even be a top ten pick if he is the first point guard off the board.
- Moe Harkless, St. John’s (Freshman) – It’s frankly disappointing to see Harkless leave as he was such a hard-working and productive freshman player for a team that struggled but should be vastly improved next season. However, you can’t fault Harkless’ decision as he flashed big-time NBA moves all season with prototypical small forward size and skills. He should fall in the mid-to-late first round.
- Dion Waiters, Syracuse (Sophomore) – Flashed tons of NBA-level skills last year at Syracuse after being a non-factor in year one. We are not surprised to see him go now that Waiters will likely make the cut as a first-round pick. But he’s far from a sure thing and could have been a star next year while improving his stock. Nonetheless, expect to see him in the mid-to-late first round.
- Royce White, Iowa State (Sophomore) – One of the best all-around players in the country, White showed off an incredibly versatile game that most would think would make him a coveted NBA player. But he won’t be dominating the ball on an NBA team like he did in college, plus White comes with question marks surrounding his off-court behavior (later explained by a medical condition) that got him kicked off of the Minnesota team two years ago. A true wildcard, White is projected as a late first- or early second-round pick.
- Fab Melo, Syracuse (Sophomore) – He had no choice as Melo was likely being kicked off the Syracuse team anyway. That remains a red flag issue, along with his questionable attitude, but Melo was perhaps the nation’s most improved player last season. He is a legit seven-footer and elite shot-blocker that works hard and will likely get picked in the first round.
- Will Barton, Memphis (Sophomore) – He had a fantastic all-around season for the Tigers, but Barton is only a borderline first-round pick in this stacked draft. Not surprised to see him leave after doing it all for Memphis as a sophomore.
- John Jenkins, Vanderbilt (Junior) – Jenkins is the best shooter in college basketball, which will surely land him on an NBA roster. But he’s very limited in other aspects of the game including defensively, which makes him more likely to fall in the second round rather than the first.
- Tony Wroten, Jr., Washington (Freshman) - His talented team struggled to the NIT this year and Wroten could have developed into a polished star next year. Nonetheless, he’s a combo guard with tremendous ability that could be viewed as one of the top PG’s in this draft. He will likely make it into the late first round, so how can we really fault his decision?
- Terrence Ross, Washington (Sophomore) – Another talented Washington player is bolting early. How did a team with Wroten and Ross only end up in the NIT? Ross has prototypical size and skills for a scoring NBA shooting guard, which will likely make him a late first-round pick. But he also struggled with consistency last year that limits his stock.
- Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State (Junior) – After an incredibly productive season (16.5 PPG, 10.5 RPG), the athletic forward Moultrie certainly has first-round talent. But he displayed a really poor attitude during Mississippi State’s collapse last season, and he showed similar issues that made him transfer from UTEP. He is a borderline first-round pick.
- Maalik Wayns, Villanova (Junior) – He has great quickness and scoring ability for a point guard that will likely land him on an NBA roster, but Wayns is undersized and hasn’t improved his decision-making all that much. In a rough transition at Villanova, it’s not a shock to see him go, but Wayns will fall in the second round if he gets drafted at all.
- Hollis Thompson, Georgetown (Junior) – It’s a bit of a surprise to see him leave the Hoyas, as Thompson seemed like the prototypical four-year, improving player. Instead, he’s gone after three years and will be a second-rounder at best. A great shooter with good size, Thompson hasn’t flashed a whole lot of other NBA skills.
- Khris Middleton, Texas A&M (Junior) – Very surprising entry, as Middleton struggled with injury all season for a disappointing Aggies team. He could have rebounded his stock next season, but he instead is a borderline second-round pick that could go undrafted.
- Jared Cunningham, Oregon State (Junior) – Another surprise, Cunningham showcased a versatile game as an athletic guard but he still comes off as a raw player that could have used another season to improve his skills. Instead he’s a borderline second-rounder in this draft.
- J’Covan Brown, Texas (Junior) – A great scorer for the Longhorns (20.1 PPG last year), but Brown is vastly undersized for a shooting guard (6’1”) and is the classic NBA ‘tweener’ that may go undrafted or late in the second round.
- Renardo Sidney, Mississippi State (Junior) – Look up the word ‘enigma’ in the dictionary and you will find Sidney’s picture. He has great size and strength, but Sidney never came close to putting it together to be productive at Mississippi State, and it will be a surprise if he gets drafted.
UNDECIDED – These players never “tested the waters” and now have until April 29 to decide if they’re going to stay in school or hit the draft.
- Anthony Davis, Kentucky (Freshman) – Simply delaying the inevitable. Will be the #1 overall pick this year.
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky (Freshman) – A top-three pick when he declares.
- Bradley Beal, Florida (Freshman) – Likely a top-seven pick, and he’s a near-lock to declare as well.
- Andre Drummond, Connecticut (Freshman) – Struggled with consistency last year but he has Amare Stoudemire- and Dwight Howard-like explosiveness for a big that will make him a top-seven pick when he declares. Given the mess at UConn, he is surely gone.
- Marquis Teague, Kentucky (Freshman) – It seems like a no-brainer that he’s gone, as a top PG prospect in a weak PG draft after winning the National Title. Would be a first-round pick, but he has yet to declare.
- Terrence Jones, Kentucky (Sophomore) – The same goes for this Kentucky Wildcat, as well. Jones is a borderline lottery pick that seems like a lock to declare after the National Championship run.
- Doron Lamb, Kentucky (Sophomore) – Oh, yeah. Another Kentucky prospect. Lamb was phenomenal in the NCAA Tournament and has been a consistent shooter and scorer throughout two strong seasons. Despite being the least-heralded NBA prospect of this year’s starting five, he is a borderline first-rounder and could go early now as well.
- C.J. Leslie, NC State (Sophomore) – The Wolfpack desperately want him back and would be an elite team with him next year. But Leslie is a borderline first-round pick that could go.
- Quincy Miller, Baylor (Freshman) – Compared to Kevin Durant early last season, Miller had a terribly disappointing final two months of his season. He never looked 100% healthy coming off of an ACL tear during his senior year of high school. Miller needs another year to improve and he could be an off-the-charts prospect next year. If he declares now, he’s a wildcard that will likely fall in the late first round.
- Le’Bryan Nash, Oklahoma State (Freshman) – Displayed great talent with prototypical SF size and skills, but Nash struggled with injury down the stretch and could use another year of development as the man at Oklahoma State. If he jumps into this stacked draft, he’d still likely make it into the late first round.
- P.J. Hairston, North Carolina (Freshman) – UNC needs him just as much as he needs the extra minutes to develop his game. Should be returning to school despite being a borderline first-round talent this year.
RETURNING – They’re back! (We think). Here’s a list of the top talent returning to school next season. These players could still actually change their minds and enter the NBA Draft deadline by April 29, but the guys on this list have made it known their intentions of returning to school.
- Cody Zeller, Indiana (Freshman) – Will be a star next season and lead the hype for the likely preseason top-five-ranked Hoosiers. Top-10 NBA talent whenever he declares.
- James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina (Freshman) – Would have been a lottery pick but McAdoo instead gets to be the man next year at UNC, where he could very likely produce a dominant season.
- Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State (Sophomore) – Great decision to forgo this stacked NBA draft, as Thomas will display his emerging versatile game next year as a star.
- C.J. McCollum, Lehigh (Junior) – How crazy is it that a player from Lehigh is this high on our mentions list? That’s what happens when you beat Duke in the NCAA Tournament as the best player on the floor. He was also one of the top PG prospects in this draft class so he could have declared, but instead he’ll look to lead Lehigh to more NCAA Tourney success next year as a top PG in the country.
- Doug McDermott, Creighton (Sophomore) – Hardly got recruited coming out of high school, but McDermott is a college star now. An All-American last year, Dougie is back to lead Creighton to an even better season, as well as improve his so-so draft stock.
- Jeff Withey, Kansas (Junior) – Nobody knew who this guy was before last season. He became one of the most dominant shot-blockers in the country last year, and there’s not an NBA team that couldn’t use Withey’s defensive skills as a seven-footer. He’ll be back at Kansas where he will look to show even more improvement on the offensive end before being a potential first-round pick.
- Trey Burke, Michigan (Freshman) – He originally declared for the NBA Draft as one of the top PG available, but he made the right decision to return to the Wolverines to have an even better year next season as one of the top lead guards in the land.
- Tim Hardaway, Jr., Michigan (Sophomore) – Hardaway is also back for Michigan, which will have one of the best backcourts in the country. He needs to be a more consistent and aggressive scorer next year to become a star.
- Patric Young, Florida (Sophomore) – He already has an NBA body and could have been a first-round pick, but Young has much room for improvement next year on the offensive end. Gators fans are thrilled to have him back.
- Kenny Boynton, Florida (Junior) – Him, too. The Gators will be a force once again now that Boynton is returning as well. He doesn’t have as much NBA upside so it’s a smart idea for Boynton to return as a senior.
- Mason Plumlee, Duke (Junior) – He continues to improve and should have a huge year next season as a senior. Duke really needed him, as well. Plumlee passed on a potential first-round selection but has a better chance of being there next season in a less loaded draft.
- Mike Moser, UNLV (Sophomore) – Jumped onto the scene and dominated in the Mountain West Conference last year. Moser has a versatile game for his size, yet is also a dominant rebounder, so he should have a big year next season and improve his draft stock.
- Isaiah Canaan, Murray State (Junior) – Everyone’s favorite mid-major star is back for next year, so Murray State should stay on the national radar. Canaan is vastly undersized but is such a tough lead guard with great scoring skills that he could have NBA first-round aspirations next year.
- Myck Kabongo, Texas (Freshman) – Great decision for him to return. He has much room for improvement and could end up being a star at Texas while also a top PG in the country next year. His draft stock should definitely improve.
- Tony Mitchell, North Texas (Sophomore) – Don’t know him? You will get to know Mitchell’s name next season as a stud mid-major forward with NBA lottery potential next year.
- Victor Rudd, South Florida (Sophomore) – We have no idea what he was doing by putting his name in the draft to begin with, but Rudd made the right decision to withdraw. He could have a breakout season at USF now as an elite wing athlete.
- Adonis Thomas, Memphis (Freshman) – Don’t sleep on Thomas as a potential star next season for Memphis. Injuries limited him as a freshman, but he has versatile skills on the wing and can fill it up with big minutes next season. He is already on NBA radars, as well.
- B.J. Young, Arkansas (Freshman) – He was great as a freshman for the Razorbacks, yet nobody really noticed. That should change next year. Young is on NBA radars and will look to lead Arkansas to a nice season in the SEC.
- Christian Watford, Indiana (Junior) – His NBA stock is limited so it’s great that Watford is back with the Hoosiers. They could have a special year next season.
- Andre Roberson, Colorado (Sophomore) – There’s quite a bit of talent returning to the Pac-12 next season. Don’t sleep on Roberson and Colorado, which won the conference’s only NCAA Tournament game last year. Roberson is a great rebounder and defensive forward.
The 2012 NBA Draft is stacked, but there’s also plenty of talent returning to school next year. Any non-seniors that you don’t see on these lists are also players that are returning to school, as well. Use this page as reference, and we will update the “Undecided” list after the April 29 deadline.