By Matthew Sturgeon on March 27, 2014
While much of the 2014 NBA Draft chatter in the coming weeks will center around presumptive No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins, there are also plenty of other talented players in this terrific draft class, many of whom happen to be College Basketball Underclassmen. Of these underclassmen, not all are ready to make the jump to the next level. Here are 15 college basketball underclassmen who need to remain in school.
McGary's dealt with back problems all season long that have limited him to just seven games. It's really unfortunate because his draft stock is never going to get back to what it was a year ago while playing alongside Trey Burke. He's tough, athletic and a tremendous rebounder, but he has to get healthy and should take the time to do that in Ann Arbor.
Johnson is a tremendous prospect. He's long, athletic and has the ability to be an exceptional defender at the next level. Having said that, his offensive game is way too raw at this point in time for him to even consider putting his name in the upcoming NBA Draft.
The problem with Hammons is the fact that he doesn't realize how good he could be. The 7-foot center has a really nice and polished low post game. However, some around the college game have questioned his motor and desire to be great. Those are not exactly the best attributes in the world for an NBA prospect to have.
Harrell reminds me a bit of current Denver Nugget and former Morehead State player Kenneth Faried. He's an excellent defender, possesses elite athleticism and strength and his motor never stops. There's a whole lot to love about the guy except for the fact that his offensive game needs more time and development.
Harris is more than ready for the next level. He's the best off-ball guard in this year's draft class, and even as a sophomore, he should undoubtedly bolt for the NBA. So why's he on this list? Well, I'm a Michigan State fan, that's why. Please stay in East Lansing, Gary.
Ennis is an outstanding lead guard and has the ability to both score and pass effectively. He's extremely clutch, too. Just ask the Pitt Panthers. My concerns are due to his overall athleticism which certainly isn't top flight. He absolutely has a terrific NBA future, yet I feel it's best for him to remain under Jim Boeheim's tutelage for at least one more season.
GRIII is a difficult player to assess. He's a freak athlete who is always capable of making big plays, but at the same time, he also tends to disappear for large stretches at a time. His athleticism is his biggest strength, and he excels at getting to the rim and finishing. Additionally, he's improved his mid-range game, however, that is still a part of his repertoire that needs further polishing.
I'd be absolutely stunned if Baker chose to enter the NBA Draft, although stranger things have happened. The sophomore wing is one of the nation's top shooters and it seems as though he knocks down every three he takes. Baker is also surprisingly good at attacking off the dribble and teams can't afford to sleep on his athleticism. With Cleanthony Early gone, Baker becomes the Shockers' go-to-guy, and I fully expect him to remain at Wichita State.
Carson is electric. He's skilled, can score in a variety of ways and is lightning quick. However, he's undersized at only 5-foot-10 and I have my doubts that his game will translate to the next level. I get that he's set on leaving, but quite frankly, I don't understand why.
Warren surged onto the college basketball scene late in the season but really was fantastic from the get-go. He's a gifted scorer who makes runners and floaters with ease, but his jump shot still needs a lot of improvement and he only shot it at 26 percent from deep. I hope to see the ACC Player of the Year stay in Raleigh.
I like Young a lot. He's lanky, athletic and can really shoot the basketball. My concern is that he fits the bill of another youthful player who is maddeningly streaky at times. Also, he has the tendency to constantly settle for threes, and although he's a gifted shooter, I'd like to see him develop more of a mid-range game as well as improving with his attack of the dribble.
Sorry, another BBN player and nope, Cauley-Stein won't be the last. A lot of similarities can be drawn here to fellow Kentucky Wildcat and other member of this list, Dakari Johnson. Cauley-Stein is wonderfully athletic, makes his presence felt defensively and is a terrific rebounder. His offense, though? It needs a great deal of work.
Figured I'd group the twins together. And while both have suddenly elevated their games in the NCAA Tourney, they both also have plenty of things to improve upon. Cutting down on turnovers and learning to be tougher are a start. I love both of the brothers' potential, but again, don't think they're NBA ready just yet.
Dekker is going to be a very solid pro, there's no doubt in my mind. He has great size, toughness and is sneaky-really athletic. He reminds me a bit of current Utah Jazz member and former Butler star Gordon Hayward. Dekker's a guy I feel will ultimately return to Wisconsin for his junior season and I hope for that to be true. He needs to get back to consistently knocking down threes.
Yep, the next Olajuwon needs to return to Kansas for his sophomore season. His injury is one thing, but his offensive game is another. Defensively, he's going to be elite, however, I'd love to see him really develop his offensive game at the college level even more. Some signs have pointed to Embiid returning to Rock Chalk so we shall see.
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