10 NBA Draft Prospects That Need To Return To School

04.14.14 5 years ago
Zach LaVine (Nelson Chenault/USA TODAY Sports)

One and done. Make money now. Too good for school. Whatever you want to call it, this is the mindset of every college basketball star who believes they’re wasting time and their talents for nothing but a college experience and scholarship. Often, college standouts feel they could be out starting their professional careers already rather than obtaining a college education.

But let’s face it: we all know that since the NBA adopted their age 19 rule, it has immensely hurt the game of college basketball not only for fans, but potentially hinders the development of college players and team chemistry. You have teammates who are pro-ready as freshmen who are just looking for a place to play for a year until finally turning 19 and NBA eligible. Just look at what high school stud Myles Turner recently said to us about making his college decision: “A good education is gonna come with any school you go to. They’re obviously Division-I colleges, and just a good coaching staff, just knowing you can be comfortable around them, one, and two, just get what you need to get to the next level.”

Come to think about it, after an NBA rookie season of averaging 20 points, five rebounds and five assists, could you really imagine LeBron James going to college? If this rule applied and forced him to wait a year on the NBA after high school, looking at the way the college game is played–being defense, pass-first and team-oriented–the entire country would have had to wait a year to see LeBron’s talent on full display.

However, with the NBA Draft rules in place, don’t let the misconception of college basketball fool you, particularly for those athletes looking to leave school early to start their pro careers as soon as possible. One and done or not, there are still benefits of staying in school, like having the ability to develop your game and understanding against higher competition.

As SI.com’s Pete Thamel is reporting, Syracuse’s Jerami Grant is the latest to declare for the draft. On top of that, I’ve compiled a list of players who need to reconsider their decision of leaving school before it’s too late. The NCAA early entry “withdrawal” deadline is tomorrow.

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10. James Michael McAdoo (junior, North Carolina)
McAdoo didn’t improve very much from his sophomore season to now. He nearly had an identical sophomore and junior season. His draft stock was much higher after last season, making the sophomore leap, than it is now. He actually scored less points this season and rebounded less. He’s still only projected as a second-round pick, but can still improve his draft stock than what it is now if he had a better season statistically.

After three seasons, finally deciding to leave UNC now is hurting his draft stock more than just staying for a fourth year. With no improvement from his sophomore year, he needs to pull his name back out before it’s too late as he’s better returning for his senior year.

9. Noah Vonleh (freshman, Indiana)
As a one-and-done, Vonleh is projected as high as a lottery pick, but he may actually be better off staying in school to simply just develop his skills for the NBA. If he has a better season then his 11 points and nine rebounds per game as a freshman, I can see him as a guaranteed lock as a lottery pick next year. His 6-10, 240-pound frame is intriguing to many NBA scouts. He looked just like Ekpe Udoh at Baylor, which is scary because Udoh’s game didn’t translate well to the NBA. It isn’t the worst thing for Vonleh to come out now, but I’d still advise him to return to school just to work on skills in order to raise his draft stock as a lottery lock, and possible top-five pick, next season.

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