Notre Dame junior forward Torin Francis will withdraw from the NBA draft and return for his senior season, a source close to the Irish program said Tuesday.
The source said Francis would meet with Notre Dame coach Mike Brey on Monday once Brey returned from vacation and send in his paperwork to the NBA. The deadline to withdraw from the draft is Tuesday, June 21.
Francis spent last week at the Chicago pre-draft camp but was unable to convince NBA executives that was worth drafting in the first round. Francis went 8-for-19, grabbed 15 rebounds, committed seven turnovers and blocked three shots while scoring a total of 23 points in three games.
Francis averaged 9.3 points and grabbed 7.9 rebounds for the Irish last season. He missed the final 12 games of his sophomore season after he had back surgery. Francis' return is a must for the Irish after losing senior point guard Chris Thomas and fourth-year junior forward Dennis Latimore. Francis gives the Irish an anchor in the post to go along with returnees Colin Falls and Chris Quinn in the backcourt. The Irish are also losing senior forward Jordan Cornette.
Notre Dame missed the NCAA Tournament the last two seasons, ending up in the NIT, making Francis' return even more critical to the Irish's success in the 16-team Big East next season.
Brey and assistant coach Lewis Preston were in Chicago last week to watch Francis and Thomas. Brey didn't anticipate that Francis would stay in the draft. Francis told ESPN.com that he wanted to gauge where he stood in the draft process but wanted a first-round guarantee if he was going to stay in the draft. That apparently didn't come.
Francis joins West Virginia's Kevin Pittsnogle and Wake Forest's Eric Williams in returning to school since the competition ended at the Chicago camp on Friday. San Diego State sophomore Marcus Slaughter (turf toe) and Illinois junior point guard Dee Brown (broken foot) were both expected to formally withdraw from the draft, as well, after getting injured during the camp.
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.