Indiana is waiting on Troy Williams’ decision and Maryland will find out about Melo Trimble as those players decide whether to return to school or enter the NBA Draft.
Check out our breakdown below for 10 programs that are waiting on key draft decisions:
- Player in limbo: Ben Bentil
- Why he’ll stay in draft: Bentil has improved as much as any player in America from last year at this time until now and that has put him in position to be a first-round pick. The 6-8 power forward averaged 21.1 points and 7.7 rebounds last season for Providence and made 52 3-point shots after nailing only six as a freshman. Built like an adonis, Bentil’s wingspan was 7-foot-1.5 in Chicago and his standing reach was measured at 8-9.
- Why he’ll go back to school: To be the man. It’s really that plain and simple. Sources have told CBS Sports that if Bentil can get a guarantee to be drafted at a reasonable spot on the board that he won’t return to Providence. The only reason why he’d return to school at this point is he becomes intrigued with the possibility of being the guy who could potentially lead the nation in both scoring and rebounding. With Kris Dunn no longer a part of the Friars’ program, that could be a real possibility for Bentil in 2016-17 if he returned for his junior season.
- Projected starting five for next season with Bentil: Kyron Cartwright, Isaiah Jackson, Jalen Lindsey, Rodney Bullock, Ben Bentil
- Projected starting five for next season without Bentil: Kyron Cartwright, Isaiah Jackson, Jalen Lindsey, Rodney Bullock, Emmitt Holt
- Player in limbo: Troy Williams
- Why he’ll stay in draft: Williams already has his degree and had a major hand in bringing Indiana back to respectability. The Hoosiers didn’t play in the NCAA Tournament when Williams was a freshman and he’ll be remembered in Bloomington for having a significant role in a Big Ten regular season title and an NCAA Tournament win over Kentucky. The 6-7 forward is a freak athlete that has an NBA body with gifts from God. There’s almost no chance he goes undrafted for that very reason.
- Why he’ll go back to school: Williams has lottery level athleticism and it would be a major disappointment if he wasn’t a first-round pick. If Williams returns to school for his senior season then Indiana immediately becomes a top-15 team and he becomes a preseason contender for Big Ten Player of the Year. Coming back to Bloomington would also allow Williams to refine his ball handling skills as he had 70 assists to 93 turnovers last year as a junior.
- Projected starting five for next season with Williams: Josh Newkirk, James Blackmon, Robert Johnson, Troy Williams, Thomas Bryant
- Projected starting five for next season without Williams: Josh Newkirk, James Blackmon, Robert Johnson, OG Anunoby, Thomas Bryant
- Player in limbo: Caleb Swanigan
- Why he’ll stay in draft: If you remember Swanigan’s recruiting process, you’ll understand why many people think he may actually stay in the 2016 NBA Draft. Swanigan was thought to be heading to Cal out of high school and then announced for Michigan State before ultimately winding up at Purdue. His whole mindset was about getting to the league as soon as possible, but as of now it doesn’t sound like that’s likely to happen via the draft.
- Why he’ll go back to school: Swanigan still needs to get his body in better condition if he wants to play in the NBA. He isn’t big enough (6-9) to be a five-man at the next level and has no chance of guarding NBA power forwards. Swanigan was the slowest player in the NBA Draft Combine last week in terms of “lane agility”. He’d be best served returning to Purdue and forming a lethal power forward/center combo with Isaac Haas.
- Projected starting five for next season with Swanigan: Spike Albrecht, Dakota Mathias, Vince Edwards, Caleb Swanigan, Isaac Haas
- Projected starting five for next season without Swanigan: Spike Albrecht, Ryan Cline, Dakota Mathias, Vince Edwards, Isaac Haas
- Player in limbo: Malik Newman
- Why he’ll stay in draft: Newman has always fancied himself as a one-and-done guy. The 6-3 guard didn’t have the freshman season that many people thought he’d have, but still could wind up getting drafted thanks to his long-term ability and ability to shoot the basketball.
- Why he’ll go back to school: A preseason toe injury in October really hampered Newman’s readiness to play and that was evidenced by his statistics (11.3 points, 39.1 percent shooting, 37.9 percent from 3-point range) last season at Mississippi State. The Jackson native isn’t a true point guard, doesn’t defend well, and needs to improve his shot selection. Newman could learn a lot by getting the chance to play for Ben Howland for another season.
- Projected starting five for next season with Newman: I.J. Ready, Malik Newman, Quinndary Weatherspoon, Mario Kegler, Schnider Herard
- Projected starting five for next season without Newman: I.J. Ready, Eli Wright, Quinndary Weatherspoon, Mario Kegler, Schnider Herard
- Player in limbo: Chinanu Onuaku
- Why he’ll stay in draft: Rick Pitino said publicly last week that he expects Onuaku to stay in the draft. Quality big men are a rare commodity in basketball and Onuaku won’t turn 20 years old until November. He’s still not guaranteed a spot in the first round, but that could change over the next month of individual workouts.
- Why he’ll go back to school: Pitino develops players as well as anybody in college basketball and Onuaku knows this as well as anyone. The 6-10 big man averaged 9.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks last year as a sophomore. If he goes back to Louisville, the Cards will be a top-15 team with he and Mangok Mathiang forming a potent power forward/center combo in the ACC.
- Projected starting five for next season with Onuaku: Quentin Snider, Donovan Mitchell, Deng Adel, Chinanu Onuaku, Mangok Mathiang
- Projected starting five for next season without Onuaku: Quentin Snider, Donovan Mitchell, Deng Adel, Jaylen Johnson, Mangok Mathiang
- Player in limbo: Melo Trimble
- Why he’ll stay in draft: Trimble has been a cult hero over the past two years in College Park and knows that the team he’ll play with next season at Maryland will be far less talented than the past two he was a part of. There’s no doubt that Trimble needs to refine certain areas of his game, but the Terps lost four starters from last season and are facing a bit of a rebuilding situation under Mark Turgeon. Trimble may decide he’s better suited to attempt to try and play his way into the top of the second round rather than return to school for his junior season.
- Why he’ll go back to school: This is a prideful player who wants to put his best foot forward in regards to his future. Trimble knows he’s not in position to be guaranteed a spot in the first round and would be Maryland’s alpha dog if he came back for his junior season. This guy is a potential first-team All-American if he opts to return to College Park.
- Projected starting five for next season with Trimble: Melo Trimble, Dion Wiley, Jared Nickens, LG Gill, Damonte Dodd
- Projected starting five for next season without Trimble: Anthony Cowan, Dion Wiley, Jared Nickens, LG Gill, Damonte Dodd
- Player in limbo: Nigel Hayes
- Why he’ll stay in draft: There isn’t much that this guy hasn’t done at the collegiate level. Hayes played in back-to-back Final Fours as a freshman and sophomore while advancing to the Sweet 16 last season as a junior. He may feel like it’s time to start a new chapter even though he’s not being projected by anyone as a first or second round pick.
- Why he’ll go back to school: Hayes doesn’t have a position yet in the NBA. The 6-7 wing isn’t quick enough to defend NBA small forwards and may not be big enough to guard NBA power forwards either. Hayes struggled at times last season as Wisconsin’s alpha dog and could use another year of being the Badgers’ primary option. His return would make Greg Gard’s squad the club to beat in the Big Ten next season.
- Projected starting five for next season with Hayes: Bronson Koenig, Zak Showalter, Nigel Hayes, Vitto Brown, Ethan Happ
- Projected starting five for next season without Hayes: Bronson Koenig, Zak Showalter, Jordan Hill, Vitto Brown, Ethan Happ
- Player in limbo: Jaron Blossomgame
- Why he’ll stay in draft: Blossomgame has an NBA small forward’s build and shot just under 45 percent from 3-point range last season. He’s far from being guaranteed a spot in the first round, but could be an intriguing prospect for somebody thanks to his ability to shoot the basketball and guard his position. With the NBA focusing more on spacing and shooting, Blossomgame’s potential could rise during individual workouts thanks to his athleticism and shot making ability.
- Why he’ll go back to school: Clemson won 10 ACC games last season without a true home court advantage and will be a sleeper pick to finish in the conference’s top third if Blossomgame returns. More wins means more exposure and that could be a major bonus for Blossomgame. With another year of seasoning, the 6-7 forward could develop into a top-15 pick a year from now while also leading the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament.
- Projected starting five for next season with Blossomgame: Avry Holmes, Marcquise Reed, Jaron Blossomgame, Donte Grantham, Elijah Thomas
- Projected starting five for next season without Blossomgame: Avry Holmes, Shelton Mitchell, Marcquise Reed, Donte Grantham, Elijah Thomas
- Player in limbo: Josh Hart
- Why he’ll stay in draft: Hart has done everything there is to do in college after helping the Wildcats win their first national title since 1985. The 6-6 wing brings a plethora of intangibles to the table and would fit right in with a franchise that already has a winning culture in place. Don’t be surprised if a team like San Antonio locks in on Hart towards the latter end of the first round if he decides to stay in the draft.
- Why he’ll go back to school: Buddy Hield showed the world how much difference can made from a player’s junior to senior season and don’t be surprised if Hart follows the same model. The Maryland native is known as an effort guy who’s always in the right spots, but another year on the Main Line could help get him the repetitions he needs to develop into a more reliable outside shooter. If Hart goes back to Villanova, the Cats will look like a team that could repeat as national champions.
- Projected starting five for next season with Hart: Jalen Brunson, Phil Booth, Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins, Omari Spellman
- Projected starting five for next season without Hart: Jalen Brunson, Phil Booth, Mikal Bridges, Kris Jenkins, Omari Spellman
- Player in limbo: Isaiah Whitehead
- Why he’ll stay in draft: Whitehead’s performance in the final month of last season illustrated just how talented he is. Armed with great size and strength at 6-4, the Coney Island native is built like a free safety and can get to the rim and finish against anybody. He’s also an improved outside shooter and made 81 3-point shots last year as a sophomore after only drilling 36 attempts from long distance as a freshman. This kid will shine during individual workouts and be considered by several NBA teams drafting between 20 and 30.
- Why he’ll go back to school: The Pirates became a national story when they beat Villanova to win the Big East Tournament and if Whitehead returned, Seton Hall would be a potential top-15 team. Does that usurp being a mid-to-late first-round pick? I don’t think so, but that’s the only reason why it would make sense for Whitehead to return for his junior season.
- Projected starting five for next season with Whitehead: Isaiah Whitehead, Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodgiruez, Ismael Sanogo, Angel Delgado
- Projected starting five for next season without Whitehead: Jevon Thomas, Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez, Ismael Sanogo, Angel Delgado