NCAA Basketball Sees Handful of Players Return

The deadline to either stay in the NBA Draft was Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. While most players who declared decided to stay in the draft and test their luck, many notable players chose to return to college for at least one more year. Let’s catch up on all the players who are returning to college basketball.

Tyus Battle, Syracuse

After helping the Orange reach the Sweet 16 last season while playing nearly every minute, Battle unsurprisingly chose to test the NBA waters. But with no assurance of being a first-round selection, Battle chose to return to Syracuse for his junior year. With Battle back on board, the Orange will return all five starters from that Sweet 16 team. They’ll also add East Carolina transfer Elijah Hughes, who sat out last season, top-50 recruit Jalen Carey, and sharpshooter Buddy Boeheim, son of head coach Jim Boeheim.

P.J. Washington, Kentucky

It’s not often that Kentucky retains its talented freshman, but Washington will be one of those rare exceptions. The 6’7’’ forward has removed his name from the draft after averaging 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds last season. Of course, the Wildcats will be losing several other players to the NBA, including Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Wenyen Gabriel, Hamidou Diallo, and Jarred Vanderbilt. Those departures mean Washington will be Kentucky’s top-returning scorer.

Marcquise Reed and Shelton Mitchell, Clemson

The Tigers got a double dose of good news on Wednesday with both Reed and Mitchell deciding to return. The duo combined to score 28 points per game last season, and both shot better than 35% from the three-point line while leading Clemson to the Sweet 16. Both will be fifth-year seniors next season after beginning their careers at other schools. Together, Reed and Mitchell should form one of the best backcourts in the ACC, not to mention one of the most experienced.

Jontay Porter, Missouri

Porter pulling out of the draft was one of the more surprising moves on Wednesday. Most assumed he would enter the league alongside his brother, Michael Porter Jr., who figures to be a top-10 pick. Nevertheless, Jontay will look to build on an impressive freshman season at Missouri in which he averaged 10 points and seven rebounds per game. The 6’11’’ forward was on the SEC All-Freshman team and shared the league’s Sixth Man of the Year award. Porter will be Missouri’s top-returning scorer next season, so it was vital for the Tigers that he come back to school.

Charles Matthews, Michigan

The Wolverines lost Moe Wagner to the NBA, as well as seniors Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Duncan Robinson, but the return of Matthews should help them reload after falling one game short of a national championship. Matthews played sparingly as a freshman at Kentucky in 2015-16 and then sat out the following season as a transfer. But he scored 13 points per game in his first season suiting up for the Wolverines. If not for Matthews returning, Michigan would have lost its top four scorers from last season, so head coach John Beilein will be ecstatic to have him back.

Admiral Schofield, Tennessee

Schofield was another player who went through the pre-draft process but was nowhere close to guaranteeing himself a place in the first round. The 6’5’’ wing player averaged 14 points per game last season for the Volunteers, helping them win a share of the SEC regular-season title and reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament. With Schofield coming back, the Volunteers will be among the favorites to win the SEC next season.

Lindell Wigginton, Iowa State

Wigginton is not a household name after Iowa State finished last in the Big 12. But his return should give the Cyclones a chance to make some noise next season. As a freshman, he scored 16.7 points per game, shooting 40% from the perimeter. However, that wasn’t likely going to be enough to have his name called during the draft. With Wigginton returning alongside Donovan Jackson in the Iowa State backcourt and Virginia transfer Marial Shayok becoming eligible, the Cyclones may be able to surprise some people next season.

Mustapha Heron, Destination Unknown

Heron was Auburn’s leading scorer last season with 16.4 points per game, and while he withdrew from the NBA Draft on Tuesday, he says he won’t be returning to the Tigers. His mother has health problems, and so Heron would like to transfer someplace closer to his home in Connecticut. If he’s able to receive a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA, Heron could be eligible to play right away wherever he transfers after two seasons at Auburn. Naturally, UConn and St. John’s are among the favorites to land Heron. However, at least a handful of other schools have reached out.

Rodney K
Rodney is a true sports junkie with a passion for baseball, basketball, football, and hockey. If you want a statistic, just ask Rodney! If you want to know a score from last night’s game, just ask Rodney.
Rodney K
Rodney K
Rodney is a true sports junkie with a passion for baseball, basketball, football, and hockey. If you want a statistic, just ask Rodney! If you want to know a score from last night’s game, just ask Rodney.