Winners, losers from NBA draft early entry deadline

There are several stages when it comes to projecting the next season in college basketball.

With much of the movement regarding recruiting and transfers finished, the NBA draft early entry deadline was the latest and most important step in determining how rosters are going to shape up for the 2018-19 season.

Who won and who lost at the deadline?



The Wolf Pack are arguably the biggest winners. All three of their draft prospects -- Jordan Caroline, Caleb Martin and Cody Martin -- opted to return. It isn't an exaggeration to say Nevada is a legitimate top-five preseason team.

The Wolf Pack are flat-out loaded up and down the roster. Caroline and the Martin twins combined to average 50.6 points, 20.3 rebounds and 9.5 assists last season, and coach Eric Musselman is bringing in a high-level recruiting class that includes McDonald's All-American Jordan Brown and graduate transfers Ehab Amin and Trey Porter.

Musselman also had four players sit out after transferring into the program last spring. Talent and depth will not be a concern next season. The only question moving forward for Nevada is how it gets down to 13 scholarships, as the Wolf Pack are currently at 15.

North Carolina

Luke Maye's decision to return to the Tar Heels was expected, and it puts them back in the Final Four discussion. Maye was one of the biggest breakout stars of last season, going from 5.5 points and 3.9 rebounds to 16.9 points, 10.1 rebounds and 43.1 percent from 3-point range.

There's a case to be made that he is the best returning player in college basketball. Roy Williams now has one of the best frontcourts in the country in Maye, Cameron Johnson and elite incoming freshman Nassir Little.


Kentucky had three players on the fence heading into deadline day: PJ Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt and Wenyen Gabriel. Vanderbilt and Gabriel decided to keep their names in the draft, while Washington is returning to Lexington.

Two players gone, one coming back should be a loss, right? Well, not really. The other bit of good news Kentucky received Wednesday is the possible arrival of Stanford forward Reid Travis on the graduate transfer market. The Wildcats have been linked with him for most of the offseason. If they are able to land Travis, then the day is clearly a net positive.

Even without Travis, though, Kentucky is in good shape. The Wildcats will have a more balanced roster next season, with the incoming recruiting class including five-star point guards Ashton Hagans and Immanuel Quickley, five-star wing Keldon Johnson and five-star big man E.J. Montgomery. Tyler Herro (among the ESPN 100) will add shooting and playmaking from the wing as well.


The Jayhawks have a good argument to be preseason No. 1 on the strength of their three transfers -- Dedric Lawson, K.J. Lawson and Charlie Moore -- and five-star guards Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson.

But Bill Self needed an inside presence, and Udoka Azubuike's return ensures that the Jayhawks have one. The 7-footer is a dominant force in the paint, shooting 77 percent from the field and providing balance for Kansas. With him back in the fold, Kansas might have the most balanced starting group in the country.


Auburn will lose Mustapha Heron to a transfer, but he was originally expected to sign with an agent after declaring for the draft, so his departure isn't unexpected.

On the plus side, Auburn got good news from Bryce Brown, Austin Wiley and Jared Harper, who all decided to come back to the Tigers. Bruce Pearl did one of the best coaching jobs in the country last season, and Auburn will have the pieces to compete for an SEC title again.


This was a surprise. From the moment he entered his name into the draft, it looked like Tyus Battle would sign with an agent after averaging 19.2 points last season. But on deadline day, Battle decided to head back to Syracuse and look to boost his stock even further.

The Orange sneaked into the NCAA tournament last season but should be more of a factor this season with nearly everyone returning.


Steve Alford enters a pivotal season, but he has a few more hands on deck with the returns of Kris Wilkes, Jaylen Hands and Cody Riley. There was some buzz over the past few weeks that all three would end up staying in the draft, so it comes as much-needed good news for the Bruins.

Hands and Wilkes are the top returnees, though Alford brings in a highly touted recruiting class led by five-star center Moses Brown. Riley, who played in one exhibition game last year before a shoplifting scandal in China led to a season-long suspension, will provide some physicality down low.


After a massively surprising season, the Tigers risked losing their top four scorers, but guards Shelton Mitchell and Marcquise Reed both decided to return. They will combine to form one of the better backcourts in the ACC. Brad Brownell could have a borderline top-25 team again.


The Badgers needed Ethan Happ to return in order to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing it last season for the first time since 1998. Happ has wanted to expand his offensive game for the past couple of seasons, but Greg Gard will need him at his double-double best for the Badgers to bounce back and go dancing again.


Charles Matthews could have taken the momentum of his NCAA tournament run and gone to the NBA, much like teammate Mo Wagner. But he decided to return to Ann Arbor, despite scoring at least 17 points in four of his six NCAA tournament games.

With Matthews in the fold, John Beilein has a team that is back under consideration for preseason top-25 honors.


After coming up just short in their quest for an NCAA tournament bid, Tim Miles and Nebraska were boosted by the news that James Palmer Jr. and Isaac Copeland Jr. will return. Palmer, a former Miami transfer, was the team's leading scorer at 17.2 points, while Copeland, who started his career at Georgetown, came on strong in Big Ten play.

The Cornhuskers need to get over the hump this season.



Winners of two national championships in the past three years, the Wildcats are facing what amounts to a rebuilding season. Jay Wright has never had an issue replacing departed stars, but next season will test him.

Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson left shortly after the season ended, and both Donte DiVincenzo and Omari Spellman announced this week that they are staying in the draft and signing with agents. As a result, four of Villanova's top six players from last season are gone.

Phil Booth and Eric Paschall will take on similar roles, and Wright will rely heavily on newcomers, namely freshmen Jahvon Quinerly and Cole Swider and graduate transfer Joe Cremo. It's still unwise to count Wright and the Wildcats out of the national discussion.


One of the more underrated players nationally last season, Jacob Evans' stock will likely never be higher, so it makes sense that he went to the NBA. But now Mick Cronin has to replace his entire frontcourt from last season, putting more responsibility on returning guards Cane Broome and Jarron Cumberland.


Khyri Thomas fits the mold of the modern-day NBA 3-and-D guard perfectly. He's a lockdown perimeter defender who shot 41.1 percent from 3 last season.

Unfortunately, Greg McDermott now has to replace both Marcus Foster and Thomas, two of the best guards in the Big East. Look for freshmen Ty-Shon Alexander and Mitch Ballock to take on much bigger offensive roles next season.


The good news for Stanford is Reid Travis withdrew his name from the draft. The bad news is Travis decided to graduate and transfer elsewhere for his final season.

The first-team All-Pac-12 forward was one of the most productive big men in college basketball last season. Kentucky has been the rumored landing spot for months, though Villanova has been linked as well.


Bruno Fernando decided to return to College Park after a solid freshman season, and he has shown flashes of face-up skills. But in addition to Justin Jackson announcing his intentions right after the season, Kevin Huerter is signing with an agent and staying in the draft.

Huerter was poised for a breakout season next year. He can really shoot it from the perimeter and is an underrated distributor.