The deadline for college basketball players to declare for the NBA Draft was April 23. I believe the biggest winner of the early entry deadline is Michigan State, while the clear loser is Kentucky. Let’s look at why and their futures odds.
Keep in mind that any non-seniors who have declared for the NBA Draft can still return to school if they don’t hire an agent. The deadline for that decision to return is May 24, 10 days after the final day of the NBA Draft Combine. It’s a rule that was put into place last year so if a player finds out he might not be a first-round pick after workouts, he can still go back to school.
Easily the biggest loser in terms of early entries is Kentucky, which probably isn’t a huge surprise considering Coach John Calipari lives and dies with one-and-done five-star recruits. But the losses Coach Cal has suffered are staggering as eight of Kentucky's top nine players – the only exception being Wenyen Gabriel, who will be a sophomore -- won’t be back next season.
It was widely expected that star freshmen Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo would declare as they were touted recruits and the team’s three best players. They have all hired agents. Sophomores Isaiah Briscoe and Isaac Humphries also did so. The shocker is that five-star guard Hamidou Diallo declared even though he didn’t even play college basketball last year. He is eligible for the draft because he graduated from high school in May 2016. Diallo enrolled at UK in January and practiced with the team. As of this writing, he hasn’t hired an agent but is projected as a first-round pick so he probably stays in the draft.
Kentucky is still a +1000 second-favorite on BetOnline NCAA basketball odds to cut down the nets early next April at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Calipari is on track to sign the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class again, but the 2017-18 Wildcats could be his most inexperienced team ever.
On the flip side, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo is still doing jumping jacks after his star freshman and the highest-rated recruit Izzo has ever signed, Miles Bridges, surprised many by announcing he would return to East Lansing for his sophomore season.
The 6-foot-7 forward was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year this past season. Bridges led all conference freshmen in both scoring (16.6 ppg) and rebounding (8.1 rpg). He would have likely been a lottery pick this summer. The scoring average was second-best all-time among Spartan freshmen, trailing only Magic Johnson (17.0 ppg). Magic by the way, led MSU to a national title his sophomore season.
Bridges likely will be the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year for 2017-18 and an All-American. The Spartans will be clear conference favorites as they bring back nearly everyone of note and add five-star recruit Jaren Jackson, a projected 2018 lottery pick. Izzo is also in the running for a couple of other five-star guys.
The Spartans have won a national title and reached seven Final Fours under Izzo, and this might be his most talented team yet. The Spartans jumped from +2000 to win it all next season to +1200 with Bridges’ announcement.Bet On 2017-18 NCAA Basketball Futures At SBR's Top Sportsbooks