Dribble Handoff: The underclassmen who ought to withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to varsity basketball


The deadline for school underclassmen to declare for the NBA Draft handed on Might 30 with dozens of school basketball gamers positioned to check the waters on the mix this month forward of the draft on July 29. Earlier than draft night time, nevertheless, one other deadline looms giant for a number of gamers and their faculty packages.

This yr’s withdrawal deadline for school gamers who want to return to high school is July 7. Meaning the subsequent month can be important to figuring out what some rosters find yourself wanting like subsequent season. It’s going to even be important to figuring out the futures of some gifted younger gamers who must determine whether or not they’re prepared to depart the faculty recreation behind..

For this week’s version of the dribble handoff, our writers are issuing some recommendation to some younger gamers going by way of the pre-draft course of. Whereas stars like Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham, Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs and USC’s Evan Mobley are certain bets to be lottery picks, there are a number of different underclassmen going by way of the pre-draft course of whose inventory stays up for debate.

Right here, our writers are naming the underclassmen they imagine would profit most from returning to high school.

Cisse entered his freshman season as a five-star prospect and projected one-and-done first-round decide, but it surely grew to become very clear very early that he was rawer than most realized. Was he a helpful participant at Memphis? Sure, in spots — proof being that Cisse was the American Athletic Convention Freshman of the 12 months. However he solely averaged 18.6 minutes per contest, which ranked eighth on the staff, largely as a result of he was typically an actual legal responsibility attributable to a scarcity of talent on offense and questionable instincts on protection that have been compounded by an lack of ability to protect in house. And the truth that he shot simply 32.4% from the free throw line additionally made it tough for Penny Hardaway to maintain Cisse on the court docket late in shut video games. 

Merely put, as my good friend Fran Fraschilla as soon as stated about one other uncooked prospect, Cisse is 2 years away from being two years away. And if he stays within the 2021 NBA Draft, the reality is that he is prone to go unselected and find yourself within the G League or another place nicely in need of the NBA. If he is tremendous with that, it is tremendous with me. And if he simply desires out of Memphis, that is tremendous with me too. However it’s arduous to argue Cisse would not be higher served spending extra time in faculty, at Memphis or actually wherever else, in order that he can proceed creating in opposition to amateurs, a lot of whom he can bodily overwhelm regardless of his limitations, slightly than face professionals day-after-day who’re doubtless, with few exceptions, far superior and simply typically higher gamers at this stage of his profession. — Gary Parrish

Primo entered the season at 6-foot-6, 190 kilos and was an under-the-radar professional prospect. In 19 video games he shot 38.1% on 118 3-point makes an attempt and completed with averages of 8.1 factors, 3.4 rebounds and 0.8 assists. He wants one other yr. Extra particularly, he wants one other yr in Nate Oats’ system. Primo can be a first-rate sophomore-season breakout candidate with the Crimson Tide in 2021-22. Alabama is about to lose a handful of vital gamers; if Primo returned, he’d have a shot at doubling his averages and boosting his inventory within the course of. 

Be mindful the Tide earned a No. 2 seed after profitable the SEC — and are set to be the perfect staff within the league once more subsequent season. He is a participant that is not a family identify but, not even within the SEC, however there may be much more to unfurl together with his recreation if he opted to return again and play for one of many extra forward-thinking tacticians in main faculty hoops.  — Matt Norlander

There weren’t many brilliant spots for Arizona State final season. Picked to complete second within the preseason within the Pac-12, the Solar Devils went 11-14, tied for the third-fewest wins in league play, and underwhelmed as a lot as any staff in faculty hoops. But Marcus Bagley was a uncommon brilliant spot on this staff, averaging 10.8 factors and 6.2 boards per recreation whereas making 34.7% of his 3-pointers. With a 6-8 body sturdy role-playing potential, he matches the mildew of a 3-and-D wing the NBA so desperately covets. The issue is that groups need to see extra from him earlier than betting first-round belongings on him. 

He performed in solely 12 video games due to damage and in these video games, he was at all times the third or fourth choice on a staff that was painfully mediocre. Returning for a sophomore season and showcasing himself as a high choice might do wonders for his inventory. Now, an opportunity to showcase himself in pre-draft exercises for groups is perhaps sufficient to steer groups he is worthy of a top-30 decide, and proper now he is someplace simply outdoors that vary. Finally, the leap he might make from a robust second season in Tempe might do him and his professional prospects an enormous favor. — Kyle Boone

Hunter Dickinson, Michigan

Trying again, it is arduous to imagine Hunter Dickinson solely registered as a four-star prospect within the 247Sports Composite contemplating how efficient he was for Michigan as a freshman. The 7-foot-1 behemoth completed six double-doubles for the Huge Ten common season champions and performed a important function in serving to the the Wolverines safe a No. 1 seed. In complete, Dickinson averaged 14.1 factors, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks whereas hitting 59.8% of his photographs from the sphere. However do not confuse his standout freshman marketing campaign with NBA readiness.

It is a drained reality to most basketball followers by now that facilities within the fashionable NBA want to have the ability to hoist 3-pointers and defend the pick-and-roll. Dickinson is not any exception. He tried solely 4 3-pointers this previous season — lacking all of them — and might want to enhance his lateral quickness and tough assist-to-turnover ratio earlier than he is NBA prepared. With the event of an outdoor shot and enchancment of his off-hand across the rim, Dickinson could make himself useful sufficient offensively to play by way of no matter defensive limitations might linger. However till these enhancements occur, he’d be higher enjoying for an elite faculty program than scrapping for taking part in time on the skilled stage. — David Cobb



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