Dribble Handoff: Trevor Keels, Drew Timme among those to retire from NBA Draft, return to college

With the NBA Draft Combine behind us and the June 1 retirement deadline approaching, some college basketball players are considering difficult decisions about whether to stay in the draft or return to school. Some notable names have already made their appeal, with Louisiana tech genius Kenneth Lofton Jr. stay in the draft and other college stars like Indiana Trayce Jackson-Davis go back to school.

Dozens of others take their time, process all the information they have received from NBA executives and try to make the right decision. For players who remain in the draft but are not considered lottery options, there is some risk, because those who make it to the second round are not certain to receive guaranteed contracts. Those who have not been drafted at all will end up excluding it in the hope of winning two-way contracts as free pensioners with the possibility of ending up in the G League or abroad.

As many players now have opportunities to make money playing basketball in college, going back to school can be more and more appealing than a life on the sidelines of professional basketball. However, some are just ready to start the next chapter of their lives and are willing to leave on the table some collective fitness to take advantage of their youth and start their professional careers.

So as the June 1st retirement deadline approaches, who will benefit most from retiring from the draft and returning to college for another season? Our writers make their choices for this week’s dribble.

Drew Time (Gonzaga)

Timme is the obvious answer because I honestly think he can have more fun and make more money in college next season than he would or play professional basketball when you consider the most likely scenario of playing professionally somewhere other than the NBA. The G League is great for kids without better options. But Timme clearly has a better choice – namely to return to Gonzaga as the First Team All-American for a top five team and earn significant money through NIL opportunities. How much money could Time make? I’m not sure. But if the Nijel Pack is worth $ 400,000 to anyone, Drew Timme should get at least three times as much when he plays every game on national television and in crowded arenas as he tries to become a legend forever as the player who leads the Zags to their first national championship in school history. As I always say about these things, it ultimately depends on Timme, and I will respect any decision he makes because it is his life to live. However, if I were in his position, I’m sure it would be an easy decision for me for all the reasons mentioned above. – Gary Paris

Jaylin Williams (Arkansas)

Catching up. I do not think it is still a viable option for the NBA top 40, but Williams 6-10 is growing his game and could play himself in the first rounder if he decides to go back and play his youth season with them. Razorbacks. Arkansas will have a chance as a top five team before the season if Williams is on the roster. That would double the impact, as it would be the Hog Hoops’ most anticipated season since the 1990s. Williams closed well, averaging 14.3 points and 11.8 rebounds in four Arkansas games in the NCAA Tournament. He shot 24% from 3 last season. could reasonably raise it north by 30% and deplete its stock in the process. Of all the players hesitating about what to do, Williams feels almost as close to 50/50 right now as he is. He could have the best of all if he came back, though: Arkansas would not need him to be the guy every night, but there would be nights when that would happen. He could lead a top SEC team and a Final Four contender, and he would almost certainly raise his stats from last season’s averages of 10.9 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. A pan-American campaign is possible. – Matt Norlander

Trevor Kills (Duke)

I feel like one of the really tough decisions to stay or leave in this circle and it reminds me a little bit of older decisions like Isaiah Joe in 2020, Johnny Juzang in 2021 and EJ Liddell in 2021. There is no clearly obvious and right answer here. If Keels is not first, he will be in the top 30s and will probably sign a guaranteed contract. This is very attractive. This is also exactly where I think you should at least think about going back to school.

Liddell’s path may be one that Keels can walk – he eventually returned to college, transformed his body and worked to become a possible top 20 after being shown late first or early in the second round – but there is no guarantee here that d will improve his stock with another season (even though I think this is probably the best option). Juzang’s course, for example, is a different but similar decision from a year ago that can serve as a warning story. It may have been the last or the beginning of the second round a year ago and it is almost certain that this time it is in the range of the second round from early to mid. His stock did not necessarily fall, but another year in college did not improve his stock. In hindsight, he may have been better served when riding his high NBA Final Four.

With Keels, I feel more likely to drop out of school than not. But my reading about the prospects of his plan is that he will benefit more than one more year in college and possibly reap significant financial benefits from it, assuming good health. He is still just 18 years old, he could spend another season at Duke in a more important role and in this way he could really show – consistently – what he can do at the college level while proving to the NBA teams its real value. I’m certainly not able to tell an 18-year-old what to do, especially with so much money at stake, but in a blue-blooded program like Duke he could make up for lost income by postponing his NBA career with lucrative deals. NIL, one would think. There is probably no right decision, but he will gain more by going back to school than by staying in the draft. – Kyle Boone

Chris Murray (Iowa)

Kris Murray does not have to search hard to find a plan for how retiring from the draft and returning to Iowa for another season could benefit him in the long run. All he has to do is check the virtual drafts that his brother, Keegan, has as a padlock that will be selected in the draw after the second season of the first student. Identical twins are not identical players, but they are quite similar that it is easy to see parallels in how they will be translated to the next level.

As a 6-8 versatile striker, Kris would have the opportunity next season to take a major step in the same way that Keegan did while leading the Big Ten in scoring last season. He has already shown enough ability as a flexible defender and a threat from outside shots to be a possible draft option if he stays inside. But if he returns and gets 35 games in his belt as a basic choice for the Hawkeyes, he could be a lottery choice as well. – David Comp

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