10 college basketball stars with looming NBA draft deadline – fitnessnacks

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    The 2024 NBA draft is just over one month away, and the deadline to opt out of the draft process and return to college basketball penalty free is coming up on May 29 at 11:59 PM ET.

    Many high level programs are waiting to find out if some of their biggest stars will be back on the squad next year or if they are going to pursue their dream of playing professional basketball. For some teams, a returning player might push them into the conversation as the top ranked team in the sport – while for others it’s desperately needed to avoid a potentially disastrous campaign.

    Additionally, a handful of draft candidates are also in the transfer portal, which means an opt out of the draft process will lead to another wave of big time players getting pursued in what is effectively college basketball’s free agency period.

    Below is a look at ten players who have yet to announce their decision, and how it could impact each program and college hoops as a whole:

    Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

    Alabama added reinforcements in the backcourt in case Sears does opt to stay in the draft process – including Pepperdine guard Houston Mallette, UCF’s Chris Youngblood and Auburn’s Aden Holloway – but if the superstar guard is back in Tuscaloosa next year it’s hard not to pick the Crimson Tide as the potential No. 1 team in the country after the Final 4 run in March.

    Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

    UConn is on the quest to do the unthinkable in college basketball – win the national title three years in a row. However they’ll have to do it without at least four starters from last year’s team, and it would make five if Karaban stays in the draft process.

    He looked great at the combine, and while returning and going for a threepeat is no doubt alluring it is tough to pass up a chance to get drafted this year.

    Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports

    Arizona already lost guard Kylan Boswell to Illinois as well as starters Oumar Ballo (Indiana), Keshad Johnson (NBA) and Pelle Larsson (NBA), so losing Love would be a tough blow for Tommy Lloyd and the Wildcats.

    Even with Jaden Bradley and KJ Lewis back in the mix, and a quality portal guard addition in Anthony Dell’Orso, Love is such a high level scorer that not having him would change the dynamic in Tucson quite a bit as the program moves into the Big 12.

    Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

    Kansas had depth issues last year that Bill Self very clearly wanted to rectify, going out and adding Rylen Griffin (Alabama), AJ Storr (Wisconsin) and Zeke Mayo (South Dakota State) via the portal while retaining key contributors Hunter Dickinson, KJ Adams, Dajuan Harris, and Elmarko Jackson.

    Furphy would be icing on the cake, giving Kansas perhaps the deepest team in all of college basketball, but Self is clearly prepared in case he does decide to stay in the draft process.

    Syndication: Lansing State Journal

    Hawkins entered the transfer portal after four great years at Illinois, while also keeping his name in the draft process. If he does decide to return to college, basically any team with an open scholarship will give him a call. Where he lands will have a seismic impact on the sport, which could include a return to Brad Underwood’s club.

    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Sallis left Gonzaga to play for Steve Forbes at Wake Forest and became another huge success story for the Demon Deacons, earning All-ACC honors. He’s likely going to stay in the draft process, but if he returns he helps boost Wake Forest after they lost Andrew Carr and Kevin Miller in the transfer portal to Kentucky and SMU, respectively.

    Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

    Villanova is in a bad, bad place. Max Shulga – the team’s star transfer portal addition – opted to return to VCU, leaving Kyle Neptune’s team with very little in the way of premier talent.

    For that reason, Dixon’s decision may be the single most impactful for his team, as a ‘Nova squad without him could be among the worst in the Big East – a far cry from where this program was under coach Jay Wright.

    Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

    Robinson is a prolific, lights out three point shooter who is being pursued by his former coach Mark Pope at Kentucky. Should he opt out of the NBA draft, a spot in Lexington starting for the ‘Cats in a high-octane, three point barrage style offense makes a ton of sense and could make him among the most intriguing players to watch next season in college basketball.

    Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

    Brazile has battled significant injury issues during his Arkansas career, and now he sits in the transfer portal looking for a new home following Eric Musselman’s departure for USC and the hiring of John Calipari.

    If he proves he is healthy, Brazile’s return to college hoops could create a huge bidding war in the portal – and whoever lands him will have a versatile, dynamic wing with NBA athleticism.

    Syndication: The Topeka Capital-Journal

    Kaluma starred at Creighton before landing with Jerome Tang and the Kansas State Wildcats last season. He’s back in the portal and in the draft process, with most believing he will be back in school. Where he lands will be a big storyline as he has the ability to dramatically impact any team in college hoops with his length and scoring ability on the wing.

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