The NBA Draft is quickly approaching and by now most college basketball prospects have elected to enter the draft or return to school. As many expected, the four big freshmen–Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Julius Randle–all entered their names into the draft. However, there are some big names that have returned to school to develop their game and improve their draft stock for next year.
Players like Le’Bryan Nash have yet to announce their decision, therefore they are left off the list below. The list below consists of ten college basketball players that have elected to return to school and have the best chance to develop and become first-round picks in next year’s NBA Draft.
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10. Terran Petteway
Terran Petteway carried the Nebraska Cornhuskers down the stretch of the regular season and earned them a NCAA tournament bid. Petteway is a versatile guard that can attack the rim as well as shoot the ball consistently from deep.
Petteway was a transfer from Texas Tech, where he averaged just 13 minutes a game his freshman season. After sitting out the 2012-13 season, he dominated last year for the Cornhuskers, averaging 18.1 points per game and shot 42.6 percent from the field. Another year at college for Petteway to become a better all-around guard will help improve his draft stock next year. His 6-6, 209-pound frame gives him very good size for a shooting guard in the NBA.
Petteway will have to learn how to be a better defender and also improve his ballhandling. Coming back to school is the best decision for Petteway to avoid the D-League and improve his game for the NBA. [Eds. note: We had Mitch McGary here before reports surfaced indicating his predicament, so… yeah, dude lost himself a lot of money over the last year.]
9. Rasheed Sulaimon
Sulaimon took a big step this season at Duke. Although he was benched earlier in the season, Sulaimon showed he is more than just a spot-up shooter. His ballhandling ability proved he can be a 1 or a 2 in the NBA. This season he established that he can beat just about anyone off the dribble by getting to the basket time after time and finishing strong at the rim. His statistics may have decreased since his freshman season but he went from being the top scoring option to being third last season behind Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood. He shot 41 percent from three-point range, four percent better than his freshman season.
Sulaimon should be a big part of Duke’s offense this season and I expect him to continue to develop as a good all-around guard.
8. Juwan Staten
Guard, West Virginia
Staten may be the best player you have never heard of. He played for a bad West Virginia basketball team the past two seasons, but Staten has been the one bright spot for head coach Bobby Huggins. Staten averaged 18.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game this past season. He stands at only 6-1 but plays a lot bigger. His ability to score in the paint is very impressive. He shot 49 percent from the field this season while only attempting 15 three-pointers all year.
Staten is fantastic off the dribble and can pull up and knock down his midrange jumper or get to the basket and finish strong. If Staten can develop his shot from three-point range, he has the ability to be a lottery pick this time next year.
7. Jordan Adams
Adams is a very skilled scorer. He averaged 17.4 points a night for UCLA and didn’t shy away against top competition. In the Bruins’ first matchup against Arizona, he had 12 points and 11 rebounds. In their second meeting with the Wildcats, he had 19 points. Adams scored in double-figures in every single game this season except for five!
Adams decision to return will allow him to work on becoming a better three-point shooter (only shot 35 percent this season) and allow him to learn how to do the other small things as a guard. He must learn how to handle the ball better and become a better defender to play at the next level.
6. Frank Kaminsky
Kaminsky was dominant for Wisconsin this season and is a huge reason they made a run to the Final Four.
At 7-0, Kaminsky has the ability to spread the floor and shoot from the outside, making him a lethal big man. He averaged 13.9 points and 6.3 rebounds a game for the Badgers. He shot career-highs in field goal percentage (52.8 percent) and three-point percentage (37.8 percent).
Kaminsky opted to come back for his senior season because of his lack of strength and size. If he can add some muscle to his frame, it will help him improve as a rebounder and make him a better post scorer. Kaminsky can move his way up draft boards if he has another good season at Wisconsin. Big men that can shoot from the outside are a nightmare for opposing big men to cover. Just ask Roy Hibbert.