To stay or go.
It’s an easy decision if you’re a projected lottery pick. Not so easy when you’re not.
Some of the players on this list would have been better off staying in school for another season. A few others had to leave. Still, their draft status is a disappointment when considering their collegiate production.
Will Barton (Memphis). He fell to No. 40 overall. Portland, however, might have a steal here. He was one of the most versatile players in the country last season. But concerns about his strength contributed to his fall. Another year in the weight room and he’s a lottery pick (potentially). Still, he has the skills to blossom into a good NBA player.
Maalik Wayns (Villanova). He scored 17.6 ppg on a bad Villanova squad. So I get the pre-draft mindset. Why not leave now? But the projections suggested that the junior was a late second-rounder at best. And he wasn’t picked. Another productive year at Villanova and perhaps he moves up. But our “what?” reaction to his draft entry was warranted. Seemed premature even though he’s a third-year guy and a former McDonald’s All-America selection.
Renardo Sidney (Mississippi State). What can you say? Thursday night summed up his entire career. He was a very talented prep, but one poor decision after another led to his decline. He wasn’t drafted. He averaged 9.7 ppg last season and shot 59 percent from the charity stripe. With another year, he could have erased a lot of the red flags on his résumé. But he entered the draft. Now, he might end up in the NBA next season. But teams weren’t ready to use a pick on the possibility.
Hollis Thompson (Georgetown). He’s a lights-out shooter (43 percent from beyond the arc). He has great size (6-foot-8). But I guess that wasn’t enough for him to get drafted (teammate Henry Sims also didn't get called Thursday). He’s limited and not a great ball handler. He's thin and one-dimensional. But how many players shoot like that? I was surprised by this one.
J’Covan Brown (Texas). He averaged 20.1 ppg for Texas last year and he still wasn’t drafted. He’s definitely an NBA-level scorer. But the 6-foot-1 guard will certainly encounter more defensive obstacles at the next level. If he were 6-5, he’d be a first-rounder.
Quincy Miller (Baylor). Miller initially decided to stay at Baylor. And then he had a change of heart. But the guy who was a projected top-15 pick at one point fell in the weeks prior to the draft. The 6-foot-10 forward is very athletic and filled with potential. So Denver, which picked him at No. 38, might have a steal. Had he returned, however, he might have been a lottery pick with a guaranteed contract.
William Buford (Ohio State). He set so many records during a four-year career for Ohio State. He’s a solid shooter from long range (36 percent last year, 44 percent as a junior). And he’s 6-foot-6. Still, no takers. Buford wasn’t drafted, but if he’s signed, he could make an NBA roster. Not the most athletic guard, but he’s skilled and experienced.
Scott Machado (Iona). He was one of the best point guards in America, but the senior wasn’t drafted. I think his team’s First Four loss to BYU may have contributed to this position. It wasn’t his best performance (five turnovers) but it didn’t represent his full capabilities. He’s a talented player who could help a team for many years. His NBA dreams aren’t dead. At least, they shouldn’t be.