Now that the deadline has passed for college basketball players to make their NBA Draft intentions known, here are five teams that came out as winners and five that came out losers:
▪ Kansas: Just one Jayhawk placed his name into the draft pool without signing with an agent, but that was a big Jayhawk both figuratively and literally. That 7-foot center Udoka Azubuike decided to withdraw and return to Lawrence means Bill Self's team could well be preseason No. 1 come November. Keeping Azubuike on a roster that includes Devon Dotson, Quentin Grimes, Dedric Lawson and K.J. Lawson is huge.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
▪ Auburn: Yes, Bruce Pearl lost key guard Mustapha Heron, who withdrew from the draft but announced plans to exit school as a graduate transfer to play closer to his ailing mother in Connecticut. But Auburn returns talented 6-foot-11 center Austin Wiley, who withdrew from the draft with the happy news he will be eligible in 2018-19 after sitting out last season thanks to the FBI probe. Bryce Brown, the Tigers' best perimeter shooter, also took his name out of draft consideration. Auburn could be a top-five team next season. In basketball.
▪ Nevada: The late, late news that twins Caleb and Cody Martin decided to withdraw from the draft immediately stamped the Wolf Pack as Final Four contenders for 2018-19. Ridiculously athletic, the twins helped Eric Musselman's team upset Cincinnati and reach the Sweet 16 this past year before losing to destiny's darlings from Loyola-Chicago. Five of Musselman's top seven players are now back for the defending Mountain West champs.
▪ Purdue: After such lousy luck in the NCAA Tournament, losing 7-foot center Isaac Haas to a broken elbow, the Boilermakers celebrated good news Wednesday when star guard Carsen Edwards and promising sophomore-to-be Nojel Eastern announced their returns to West Lafayette. After averaging 18.5 points per game last season, Edwards is a prime Big Ten Player of the Year candidate.
▪ Gonzaga: The Zags were actually a winner well before Wednesday. That's because Rui Hachimura, Killian Tillie and Zach Norvell cemented their intentions to return for Mark Few by not even putting their names on the NBA Draft list. All three could be first-round picks in 2019. Before that, however, they hope to take Gonzaga to its second Final Four in three seasons.
▪ Villanova: Jay Wright is in full reboot mode now that the defending national champions have lost Donte DiVincenzo and Omari Spellman, as well as Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges. Brunson and Bridges signed with agents early. DiVincenzo, the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player, and Spellman each announced their intentions Wednesday. DiVincenzo, a sophomore last season, started all of 12 college games.
▪ Maryland: Mark Turgeon has had a tough go of it in College Park and his job just got tougher after star swingman Kevin Huerter announced he will sign with an agent. The 6-7 Huerter showed off his versatility at the NBA Draft Combine, where he impressed scouts with his passing ability and heady play. Losing forward Justin Jackson, who signed with an agent early in the process, was tough to take, as well.
▪ Texas A&M: Billy Kennedy knew he was losing Robert Williams, the 6-11 forward who surprised many by staying in College Station after his freshman season. Losing both Tyler Davis and D.J. Hogg, however, considerably weakens the Aggies in what appears to be shaping up as another strong basketball year for the SEC.
▪ Wichita State: Gregg Marshall did the right thing in allowing freshman signee Alex Lomax out of his letter of intent so the Memphis product could play for Penny Hardaway. Forgive Marshall if he's thinking twice about the decision, however, now that Landry Shamet has kept his name in the draft. Shamet averaged 14.9 points and 5.2 rebounds last season and would have been a national Player of the Year candidate this winter.
▪ South Carolina: Actually, the Gamecocks aren't losers. Coach Frank Martin welcomes back his best player in forward Chris Silva, who withdrew from the draft. The real loser is Brian Bowen, the former Louisville signee who left U of L after being identified in the FBI probe into college hoops corruption. Bowen transferred to South Carolina hoping to be eligible for 2018-19. When told that was unlikely, Bowen kept his name in the draft though most scouts feel he is nowhere near ready to make the jump.