Top 10 College Basketball Returnees Who Ditched NBA Draft

Written By Eli Hershkovich on August 5, 2022
NBA Draft Odds

Although the full catalog of NBA draft odds are still TBA, let’s break down the biggest names who are back in the NIL-driven college basketball landscape. For the sake of parity, no teams will be repeated. Click on the national title odds below to place a bet, and reference my college basketball rankings as well.

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Top 10 Players To Bypass NBA Draft

1. Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky ()

John Calipari’s bunch isn’t No. 1 my rankings, but Tshiebwe deserves the top nod as the first Wooden Award winner to return to college basketball since Tyler Hansbrough (2008). The 6-foot-9, 255-pound center represented the premier rebounder across Division I, and the Wildcats have reloaded around him via top-10 freshmen Carson Wallace and Chris Livingston. They also added Illinois State transfer Antonio Reeves, who gifts them another perimeter gunner alongside a healthy CJ Fredrick (hamstring).

2. Drew Timme, Gonzaga ()

Timme removed himself from the NBA draft to return for year No. 27 in college basketball. Only kidding, that’s meant for Brad Davison and Perry Ellis. His low-post presence allows provides Mark Few with plenty of lineup flexibility, though, especially after the 6-foot-7 Julian Strawther reinstated himself within the program. The Zags are once again a contender to cut down in the nets in April 2023.

3. Armando Bacot, North Carolina ()

What could’ve been for our Most Outstanding Player wager if the floorboard didn’t pop up underneath Bacot’s already-injured ankle in the title game. I’m still high on the Tar Heels — and Bacot’s untapped offensive growth in particular — arguably the highest-rated team from late February onwards. UNC may have a difficult time replacing Brady Manek’s contested jumpers, but Northwestern transfer Pete Nance would add his fair share of floor-spacing if he winds up in Chapel Hill.

4. Kevin McCullar, Kansas ()

After losing Ochai Agbaji, Christian Braun and Remy Martin, Texas Tech transfer Kevin McCullar provides much-needed playmaking as a three-level scorer. Frankly, Bill Self couldn’t have reeled in a finer piece in regards to what the Jayhawks lacked. Combine that with Jalen Wilson’s return, a trio of 2021 four-stars primed for expanded roles and a loaded 2022 recruiting class, and Rock Chalk could very well repeat next season. Kansas sits behind Baylor in my ranks, though.

5. Mike Miles, TCU ()

The Horned Frogs haven’t received enough recognition after developing into a real threat down the stretch. Keep in mind, Jamie Dixon’s squad would’ve upended Arizona in the Round of 32 if the refs didn’t swallow their whistles in the final seconds of regulation. Despite only adding Oklahoma State transfer Rondel Walker, TCU possesses a Wooden Award darkhorse in Miles, who’s set to break out alongside 6-foot-11 sophomore Eddie Lampkin.

6. Marcus Sasser, Houston ()

Following the departure of Fabian White, Kyler Edwards, Taze Moore and Josh Carlton, Kelvin Sampson received a major lift in the form of Sasser, who missed much of the 2021-22 campaign with a toe injury. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder finds himself among the top backcourt pieces in the sport, and he, Tramon Mark (shoulder) and Jamal Shead form one of the deadliest guard combinations overall.

7. Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana ()

The Hoosiers’ late-season push was slightly defamed by a blowout loss to Saint Mary’s in the Round 64 — their second game a three-day span. If Jackson-Davis develops any sort of mid-range game, Mike Woodson’s crew will likely reap the benefits atop the Big Ten. Remember, the soon-to-be junior also supplies Indiana with one of the top defensive bigs in college basketball, accruing the 47th-highest block rate a season ago.

8. Tyrese Hunter, Texas ()

Hunter likely would have opened NBA draft odds lined somewhere in the second round. Now, he’s back for another round of college basketball, shifting from Ames, Iowa to Austin, Texas. The Big 12 newcomer of the year will need to clean up his perimeter shooting to give Chris Beard a well-rounded backcourt alongside Marcus Carr. However, Hunter is an ideal fit for Beard’s pressure-driven defense, and the Longhorns will showcase a renewed sense of comradery (outside of Hunter and Sir’Jabari Rice) after last season’s transfer-filled roster.

9. Colin Castleton, Florida ()

I’m higher on the 2022-23 Gators than most, as Todd Golden’s team represents my lone futures bet for now. Castleton played through a torn up shoulder in his “senior” campaign yet still embodied an elite two-way presence. Ex-Florida coach Mike White illogically toyed with a five-out offense, which best suits Castleton — especially if he begins to deliver from behind the arc. Golden won’t make the same mistake, considering Castleton returned to strengthen his 2023 outlook. Perhaps next year he’ll have NBA draft odds that project him in the first round.

10. Baylor Scheierman, Creighton ()

Admittedly, I’m somewhat low on the Bluejays. If not for San Diego State’s collapse in the Round of 64, where are the analysts ranking Creighton? Nevertheless, the South Dakota State transfer is a perfect fit for Greg McDermott’s uptempo, floor-spacing attack. The question remains whether his mid-major game will translate to a physical Big East, as he struggled in half-court sets against a lengthy Providence team in March Madness.

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