Jared Butler Withdraws from 2020 NBA Draft to Return to Baylor

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 3, 2020

Baylor guard Jared Butler (12) brings the ball down court against TCU during an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020 in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)
Richard Rodriguez/Associated Press

Baylor guard Jared Butler announced Monday that he will return to school for his junior season after withdrawing from the 2020 NBA draft.

Butler was named first-team All-Big 12 last season after leading the Bears with 16.0 points per game, adding 3.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He helped lead Baylor to a 26-4 record, and the team ranked inside the top five for much of the season.

Though the squad could have been a No. 1 seed in the NCAA men's basketball tournament, the event was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

With Butler returning, Baylor is among the favorites for the national championship in 2021.

Jeff Goodman of Stadium listed the squad as the No. 1 team in the country going into next year, with Butler, MaCio Teague and Mark Vital anchoring an impressive rotation that can succeed on both ends of the court.

If he continues to improve, Butler has a chance to contend for the Wooden Award as the best player in college basketball.

He was arguably irreplaceable for this team:

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The 6'3" guard could have also had success at the next level if he remained in the draft. Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman listed him as the No. 28 overall player in the 2020 class, indicating he could have been a first-round pick in October.

Butler can create shots for himself and was dangerous from the outside while shooting 38.1 percent of his three-point attempts. He is also known for his defensive ability as a key part of the unit that ranked fourth in defensive efficiency last season, per KenPom.

If he can develop more point guard skills during his junior season, Butler could shoot up draft boards in 2021.