It's never easy for a prospect to swallow his pride and admit he needs another year of seasoning before making the jump to the NBA. But we love it here. There's nothing better than seeing an individual go all-in on taking his game to another level.
The Early Entry deadline for the 2020 NBA Draft passed yesterday, meaning we now have a clear look at who should be in this year's class and who will be waiting one more year to make the jump. With that news, we have a number of curious prospects returning to the college basketball ranks. Remember, a number of prospects have declared without hiring an agent. Those prospects are "testing the Draft waters" and we will track whether or not they intend to keep their name in this year's draft class.
Here's a breakdown of some specific names to keep an eye on next year in the college basketball world.
DAVID JOHNSON, G, LOUISVILLE
- This is the move that should be the most exciting when it comes to prospects taking their games to another level. It was a limited sample size this year for freshman David Johnson. The Louisville guard only averaged 16 MPG for the Cardinals but showed some serious flashes. If you just turn on the tape against Duke, you would think that Johnson was a solid mid-first round prospect. Johnson has an intriguing combination of size (6'5",210) and athleticism to go along with phenomenal playmaking ability. He should blossom with another year at Lousiville, and could be a candidate to rise up draft boards in a hurry.
SCOTTIE LEWIS, G/F, FLORIDA
- If you were to design a raw athletic wing in a laboratory somewhere, it'd probably end up being Scottie Lewis. Freakish athleticism would be an understatement when you're talking about Lewis. After a serious amount of preseason hype, in which some had Scottie as a potential Top 10 selection, the Florida Gators freshman struggled a bit with consistent production this year. Lewis is going to be one of the most intriguing returning prospects to monitor next year. He has a variety of tools in his arsenal that will have scouts and NBA Front Offices plenty intrigued next year, and he should be in line for a big step forward.
JEREMIAH ROBINSON-EARL, F/C, VILLANOVA
- This could have been a prospect that some NBA team might have stolen in the second round during this year's NBA Draft. This year's Big East freshman of the Year, Robinson-Earl decided to return for another year of seasoning at Nova. The skillset is fascinating. Robinson-Earl won't wow you with anything, but his toughness and feel for the game make him a player that should stick around the NBA for a very long time.
ROMEO WEEMS, F, DEPAUL
- DePaul struggled mightily this year in the Big East, finishing with a 3-15 conference record. Weems would have been one of the more intriguing "sleeper" prospects in this year's draft class. His calling card is his versatility, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Another year at DePaul should only make Scouts and NBA personnel more intrigued. If Weems can take another step forward in his progression, he could gain some steam.
AMAR SYLLA, F, OOSTENDE
- There was some hype this year about Sylla skyrocketing up draft boards into the middle of the first round. That train slowed down significantly, but the skillset when you look at a player like Amar is intriguing. Still just 18 years old, Sylla could use another year of development overseas. He has the tools you look for in an athletic big man, but teams will want his frame to fill out and the consistency to follow with it.
There will be a number of names to monitor over the upcoming weeks. A number of notable prospects have declared as well without an agent. This is the classic "testing the waters" move by most college basketball players. Some might argue against the purpose of the move, but being a player and having the ability to get free feedback about your game and what you need to improve on...is a great move by most. For now, these are the names you need to keep in the back of your mind for the upcoming hoops season. They will be some intriguing prospects to monitor down the road for the 2021 draft class.