The NCAA’s NBA draft withdrawal deadline has come and gone, and with that comes some much-needed clarity on where rosters stand for the 2022–23 men’s college basketball season. Dozens of players entered June 1 without having made a final decision as to whether they’d return to school, and those announcements throughout the day will shape the way the upcoming season looks. Which college teams got good news yesterday, and which need to go back to the drawing board? Sports Illustrated broke down the biggest winners and losers from decision day.
You couldn’t have scripted a better draft season than Gonzaga’s. The biggest decision was without a doubt Drew Timme’s, as the consensus All-American announced his return for his senior season in Spokane after testing the draft waters. Timme has his limitations physically that makes his path to the NBA a narrow one, but he looked good shooting the ball from deep at the combine and has a chance to be in the National Player of the Year conversation in 2022–23. The Zags also got back Julian Strawther and Rasir Bolton for next season, neither of which was a given. Both are reliable outside shooters and proven starters.
Add in returners like Nolan Hickman, Hunter Sallis and Anton Watson and transfer big man Efton Reid, and this is a roster capable of being the No. 1 team in the country yet again. Plus, Mark Few and staff may not be done adding to this team, as the Zags are reportedly favorites for Chattanooga transfer Malachi Smith.
It had seemed unlikely throughout the draft process Kansas would get Christian Braun back for his senior season in Lawrence, but it’s still a win to come out of draft decisions with Jalen Wilson and Kevin McCullar in tow for 2022–23. Wilson should be among the best players in the country this season, stepping into a bigger role with Braun and Ochai Agbaji gone after consecutive seasons averaging around 11 points and seven rebounds per game. Meanwhile, McCullar is one of the best defenders in the country and a proven contributor in the Big 12 from his time at Texas Tech. Add four top-50 recruits from the ’22 class, and KU should be a contender again this season.
Marcus Sasser’s 11th-hour decision to return to the Cougars for 2022–23 cements Houston as one of the nation’s best teams. While it was rather impressive how well Houston held things together last season after losing Sasser to a season-ending foot injury in December, there’s no question the team’s ceiling is far higher with one of the best shot-creating guards in the country back for another year. In addition to being a rugged defender in Kelvin Sampson’s system, Sasser is one of the most gifted shooters in the sport, with deep range and the ability to knock shots down off the bounce. While the Cougars weren’t able to woo transfer target Kenneth Lofton Jr. out of the draft process, they still have a terrific roster and one of the best coaches in the sport. This group is a national title contender.
Harrison Ingram’s decision came a few days before the deadline, but it’s hard to overstate the importance of the former five-star recruit choosing to spend another season in Palo Alto. Ingram struggled with efficiency during his freshman season, but he’s still one of the more well-rounded players in the conference and his versatility at 6'8" makes him a valuable asset on this Cardinal roster. Stanford coach Jerod Haase enters next season on the hot seat after failing to make the NCAA tournament in his first six seasons at the helm, but Ingram’s return gives Stanford at least a fighting chance of being in that conversation in 2022–23.
Looking to follow up a run to the Elite Eight, the Canes got back arguably their best player from the 2021–22 season in Isaiah Wong, who withdrew his name from the draft before the deadline Wednesday. Jim Larrañaga did a nice job this offseason restocking the roster with high-profile transfers, adding Kansas State guard Nijel Pack (a first-team All–Big 12 selection) and rebounding machine Norchad Omier from Arkansas State. The lone missing piece of the puzzle was Wong, who averaged 15.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game this past season. A nucleus featuring Pack, Wong, Jordan Miller and Omier has top-25 potential.
The Razorbacks still have plenty of reasons for optimism heading into 2022–23, but losing Jaylin Williams to the draft knocks them out of the No. 1 spot in SI’s preseason rankings. Williams was perhaps the biggest reason for Arkansas’s midseason turnaround, using his combination of playmaking skills, soft touch and defensive instincts to help Arkansas make a second straight trip to the Elite Eight. Eric Musselman was proactive in the portal to get insurance for a potential Williams departure, adding a trio of centers in Jalen Graham (Arizona State) and brothers Makhel and Makhi Mitchell (Rhode Island) early in the offseason to soften the blow. Still, that trio of bigs profiles more as role players than the All-SEC player Williams was.
Wildcats wing Dalen Terry was one of the biggest risers through the predraft process, so it wasn’t surprising to see the “Swiss Army Knife” head to the pros after an impressive sophomore season in Tucson. Terry’s departure will be felt far more than the modest 8.0 points per game he averaged this past season might indicate—not only was he one of college basketball’s most impactful defenders, but he also served as a steadying force next to the more volatile Kerr Kriisa at point guard. Without him, Arizona is extremely thin on the wing and will need contributions from unproven commodities like Adama Bal and Filip Borovicanin.
David Roddy electing to stay in the draft might be the single largest needle-mover from a national rankings standpoint of any stay-or-go decision. With Roddy back alongside star point guard Isaiah Stevens, the Rams would have been in the preseason top 25 after a 25-win 2021–22 culminated in a No. 6 seed in the NCAA tournament. Instead, the Rams are now clearly in the second tier of the Mountain West and not likely to be an at-large team in ’22–23. Roddy projects as an early second-round pick.
It wasn’t particularly surprising to see Moussa Diabate and Caleb Houstan go one-and-done, but the departure of that freshman duo officially means the Wolverines lose four starters from last season’s Sweet 16 team. It leaves Juwan Howard’s program seriously lacking proven production and depth, and reliant on young players like Kobe Bufkin and Jett Howard if the Wolverines can’t make some significant late additions from the transfer portal. Hunter Dickinson’s return gives Michigan a chance to compete for a conference crown, but there are more questions than answers with the other 12 scholarships right now.
Duke had hoped it could get a second year out of talented guard Trevor Keels, a fringe first-round prospect. Instead, after long deliberations that took up until the final two hours before the deadline, Keels elected to keep his name in the draft. That leaves Duke in need of another guard who can handle the ball and make shots, and that hole won’t be filled by AJ Green, who had visited the Blue Devils in May but has elected to stay in the draft as well. Someone like Texas transfer Courtney Ramey (who Jeff Goodman reported is being pursued by the Blue Devils) or Illinois transfer Jacob Grandison could help fill that void, but pickings are slim at this point in the process.
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