7 Players That Will Regret Returning to College
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When most top-collegiate players are projected to be high selections in the NBA Draft, they often throw their name in the pool as soon as possible. In the last five years, only seven seniors have been picked in the top 20 while 18 freshmen have been selected in the top 10.
While this strategy has been portrayed to be very risky, staying a year longer in college is also a gamble. We've seen this issue with Harrison Barnes and Jared Sullinger. If they entered the 2011 NBA Draft, they probably would have been higher selections as opposed to the more loaded draft this year.
These are the seven players who will not benefit from the decision of choosing to attend college for another season.
7. Tony Mitchell
2011-2012 Stats: 14.7 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 3.0 BPG, 56.7 FG%
Freshman Tony Mitchell was a force on both sides of the ball for the mid-major North Texas. His versatility for such a big body is very impressive as he was the only freshman in the NCAA to average a double-double. No, this is not the Tony Mitchell from Alabama that was suspended for the remainder of the 2012 season. This is the Tony Mitchell who analysts believed was a one-and-done phenom ready to take his talents to the NBA.
He is the type of athlete that will impress teams in the individual workouts. This would have allowed him to increase his stock after putting in his name for the draft; staying another year will give scouts more opportunities to pick apart his game that many felt was flawless.
Staying for his sophomore season won't expand his game nor shift his draft stock; however, it will deprive him of a year's experience playing professional basketball.
6. Isaiah Canaan
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2011-2012 Stats: 19.0 PPG, 3.6 APG, 1.4 SPG
Isaiah Canaan absolutely erupted during his junior campaign at Murray State. As the team completely went on a tear out of nowhere, so did Canaan. The national exposure benefited him following a season that included 36, 35, 32 and 31 point outbursts.
Canaan has decided to play his senior season at Murray State and graduate. Even though he would have been a late first-round pick, he would have thrived for a playoff team this season. I doubt Murray State will repeat their outrageous record from last season. Hence, Canaan will not be in the spotlight as much.
Isaiah Cannan's draft stock may improve, but he'll likely be the same player in the pros as he was this season.
5. Patric Young
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University of Florida
2011-2012 Stats: 10.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 0.8 BPG, 61.8 FG%
Clearly those stats above are not lottery pick numbers. However, scouts saw Young as a late lottery-pick; the man from Gainesville drew raves for his size and freak athleticism. It would have been ideal for Young to enter this year because his stock would have only grown during the process of individual workouts and combines.
Do not expect improvement regarding the numbers he puts up. Yes, Brad Beal and Erving Walker will not be there which can definitely allow Young to get more shot attempts, but Florida will not be as successful of a squad. Young will need guards that will give him the ball so he can improve on creating his own shot.
Expect Young to be a mid-first round selection. He will not nearly be the pro he would have been had he entered the draft as a sophomore.
4. Adonis Thomas
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University of Memphis
2011-2012 Stats: 8.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 48.6 FG%
The highly recruited freshman, Adonis Thomas, demonstrated to Memphis fans his abilities in the 17 games he played last season. A severe ankle injury prevented Adonis from his full potential, but scouts were pleased with the potential he demonstrated. He is an athletic small forward with a great ability to finish.
While Will Barton decided to put his name into the draft, Thomas thought it would be better for him to stay in college.
Staying in college will leave more scouts skeptical about his ankle. He will need to put up bigger numbers and carry the Memphis offense to prove he is a legitimate player.
3. Tim Hardaway Jr.
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University of Michigan
2011-2012 Stats: 14.6 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.1 APG, 41.7FG%
The 6'6" guard, Tim Hardaway Jr., had two productive seasons at Michigan. He showed positive signs of progression and has the body of a true NBA shooting guard. He is a natural playmaker on offense with various ways to score, and has proven to be one of the most dangerous attackers going to the hole, as demonstrated here.
However, even with his great potential, Tim Hardaway Jr. decided to stay at Ann Arbor for another season. This will be better for the team, but it will hurt Hardaway's production. With Trey Burke returning alongside top recruits Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson, expect Hardaway to force up more poor shots.
Hardaway's disappointing junior campaign will make him regret returning to Michigan. His father definitely will not be proud
2. C.J. McCollum
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2011-2012 Stats: 21.9 PPG, 6.5 RPG
McCollum was one of the most lethal scorers in the NCAA last season, finishing fifth in the nation and first in the Patriot League in points per game. Many fans, including myself, was unaware of him until his 30-point performance stunned Duke in the Round of 64. When you watch him play, he catches your eye with his excellent shooting and slashing ability.
After March Madness concluded, his draft stock was at an all-time high. It's doubtful he will be able to maintain it at that level while playing another full season at Lehigh. Unless he knocks off another No. 2 seed in the tournament, McCollum probably lost his opportunity of becoming a first round selection.
1. Cody Zeller
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2011-2012 Stats: 15.6 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 62.3FG%
Indiana's Cody Zeller had a better season than his ACC POY brother, Tyler. He's a smart, tough and gritty basketball player which allows him to get the job done. Cody was ahead of his brother Tyler in most draft boards. It would have been a shame if he wasn't a top 10 pick if he left as a freshman.
However, Zeller has decided to play another season at Indiana. Many people view it as an opportunity to be selected first in the 2013 draft (Nerlens Noel, Shabazz Muhammad and Steven Adams (all freshmen next season) should be higher selections).
This reminds me of Jared Sullinger's situation. Sullinger was also a power foward who put up excellent numbers as a freshman in the Big 10; however, he did not make the jump everyone expected from him as a sophomore and has dropped down the draft boards as a result.
I'm not saying Zeller is going undrafted, I just can't see Zeller as a top five pick in next year's draft. He's just wasting another season in college.