Every year there is a group of players that opt out of the NBA Draft in order to return to school. These players make the decision to opt out of the draft for a variety of reasons. We’re going to explore the players whose return to school will have the biggest impact on this season.
Big Ten Player of The Year Returns
You’ll find many people projecting Iowa center Luka Garza as the preseason Player Of the Year in college basketball. It’s not hard to see why when you consider what he accomplished last year. Garza averaged 23.9 points and 9.8 rebounds on 55% shooting. That was good enough to earn him Big Ten Player of the Year as well as being named a First Team All American.
With all of those accolades on his resume, many assumed that he would head to the NBA. Instead, he has announced that he will be returning to Iowa which is why they are already in the early preseason top 25 polls. The Hawkeyes will be returning most of their players from last year’s team who will have another of experience as well as the type of continuity that will make them one of the favorites to win the Big Ten.
Jared Butler Is Back for Baylor
Last season, Jared Butler averaged 16 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.1 assists. He was one of the key contributors to a team that was ranked number one in the country for 5 consecutive weeks and would have probably been a number 1 seed at the NCAA Tournament. His stellar play earned him First Team All Big 12 honors as well as a Third Team All-American spot as well.
Having him return to Baylor is a massive boost for this program who will be a force to be reckoned with again this season. Butler was the leading scorer on a team that featured a ferocious three guard lineup which included Macio Teague and Davion Mitchell. Without Butler, Baylor would still be a pretty good team. With him returning, they can still challenge the Kansas Jayhawks for Big 12 Supremacy.
Ayo Dosunmu Could Challenge Garza
If Ayo Dosunmu takes the next step in his development as a basketball player, he could challenge Luke Garza for Big Ten Player of the Year Honors. That’s how talented Dosunmu is and it was a surprise to everyone when he decided to opt out of the NBA draft to return to Illinois. That instantly makes the Fighting Illini a dangerous team in the Big Ten.
Dosunmu is not the only NBA level talent that the Illini have and with Kofi Cockburn also deciding to return as well, Illinois will be a force both in conference play and nationally as well. As for Dosunmu, he has a chance to really cement himself as one of the top players in the nation with his excellent skill set.
Kispert’s Return Helps Gonzaga Stay On Top
The Gonzaga Bulldogs spent most of the season near the top of the polls. More than half the season as one of the top two teams in the country. Corey Kispert was the second-leading scorer on one of the best teams in the country so obviously getting him back is great for their program. It’s one of the many reasons why they are expected to be one of the top teams in the country again this coming season.
At 6’7 220, Kispert is one of the best shooters in the country and has the type of size that would be needed to compete at the next level. With a player like him, he has to prove that he can defend NBA players and if he can, he would be a valuable shooter to a franchise. Another thing he’ll want to prove he can do this year is find other ways to score. He shot less than 3 free throws a game last season and versatility would help raise his stock.
Until then, Gonzaga fans will be happy to have him back as he gives them a great chance to be one of the best teams in the country. They have a host of players returning and Kispert is the cherry on top.