Wednesday night’s deadline for players to return to school has passed and there were a lot of big last-minute decisions made. This was one of the most exciting draft withdraw deadlines in recent memory with lots of late action.
Overall we saw a trend of players opting to return to school over enter the draft with a mid to late second round grade. This has a lot to do with the new NIL rules, allowing college players to get paid and also has to do with the 2024 draft looking fairly weak, giving these players a better chance at getting drafted higher.
The biggest news of all is Purdue’s massive 7-3 center Zach Edey returning to school for his senior season. This is great news for Boilermaker fans and for college basketball fans in general. He’s going to be the face of college basketball next season – and should work his way into first round consideration in a considerably weaker draft next year. He’ll also get a chance to exercise the demons of Purdue’s first round loss in the NCAA tournament, as a no.1 seed loosing to a no.16 seed.
A few potential first round talents are returning to school: Adem Bona going back to UCLA for year two and Trey Alexander returning to Creighton. The Blue Jays also get Ryan Kalkbrenner back – although Arthur Kaluma is returning but entering the transfer portal.
And Dillon Michell has decided to return to Texas for a second season and will have a chance to work his way into first round consideration. He’s one of the better athletes in college basketball and will now have a chance to further develop his skill set. The Longhorns really needed this after the recent de-commit of Ron Holland, who is now signed with the G League Ignite.
Illinois was also a big winner at the deadline with both Terrence Shannon Jr. and Coleman Hawkins both opting to return to school. The Fighting Illini will be a problem next year in the Big 10.
Syracuse got some great news with Judah Mintz coming back for year two. He’ll be joining JJ Starling in a talented backcourt next year.
Some other big names returning to school include Reece Beekman going back to Virginia for his senior year. Grant Nelson is returning to school and entering the transfer portal.
Daron Holmes II is heading back to Dayton for his junior season. The 6-10 center would have likely been drafted in the mid second round this year but instead will be getting that NIL money while trying to improve his draft stock.
Jalen Bridges is not entering the draft but might sign with the NBL – or go back to school.
Gonzaga gets Anton Watson back. He has a chance to develop into a second rounder.
Weber State’s Dillon Jones is back for his junior season after having a really strong showing in this year’s draft process. He might have been a second round this year but will look to solidify his draft stock for 2024. He’s one to watch for a big breakout season next year.
On the ‘staying in the draft’ side of things: Andre Jackson, Adama Sanogo, Julian Phillips, Jordan Walsh, Oscar Tshiebwe and Kobe Brown all made last minute decisions to stay in the draft.
Today college basketball gained a lot of returning talent – while the 2023 draft is still plenty strong and deep with talent all the way through the second round and beyond.