Good day Draft Fanatics...did you miss me?
In case you were too focused on the massive amount of NBA action that has returned to our daily lives (high-five), last weekend was the Early Entry deadline for the 2020 NBA Draft class. What that means, is we finally can zone in on some of the notable prospects that were on the fence and debating whether or not they should return to the collegiate level for an additional season.
While there was an extremely long list of players that decided to return this year, I wanted to point out a couple below that have been "notable" in draft circles. While some of these players were trending towards becoming intriguing value type of selections later in the draft, it will be fascinating to see what they can do with the development of their game over another year.
RUN IT BACK
COREY KISPERT, G/F, GONZAGA
Kispert was one of the top prospects I kept my eye on throughout the Early Entry process, as I was a bit higher on his NBA projection than other evaluators might have been. A smooth shooting wing who has a great feel for the game, Kispert was looking like a prospect who could have landed in a perfect situation on draft night. Although Kispert's decision to return to the Zags for his Senior year is a bit of a "buzzkill" it's the right move. Kispert should thrive alongside incoming freshman phenom Jalen Suggs and provide Gonzaga with some serious firepower on the wings. If the 6'7" Kispert can improve on his productive junior campaign, he should solidify himself as a potential first-round selection in 2021.
JARED BUTLER, G, BAYLOR
While some might have had their attention on other prospects, Jared Butler was a popular name to monitor in draft circles. The sophomore guard had some of the best handles in this years class but announced he would return to Baylor for his junior year. Butler was trending as a potential early second-round selection this year, so his decision looks to be a wise one on paper. I believe there's another level that Butler can reach as a defender, which would solidify himself as a potential first-rounder in 2021. Butler will have Baylor ready to roll and if he can improve consistenly from outside, he should thrive during his junior year for the Bears.
ISAIAH JOE, G, ARKANSAS
Previously we highlighted Isaiah Joe as one of our favorite sleepers in the 2020 NBA Draft Class. Joe recently announced he would return to Arkansas for his junior season. It's the right move and one to get excited about as Joe could do wonders with another year of development for the Razorbacks. Joe was one of the more interesting prospects in this years class. An athletic wing with ideal size, Joe has limitless NBA range from outside with a beautiful shooting stroke. Joe was attempting near 11 three-pointers a game last year, featuring a questionable shot selection at times. It will be important for Joe to become a more efficient weapon offensively and to add some weight to his thin frame (6'5",180 pounds). If Joe can continue to develop his offensive package, and confirm he's a better shooter than his percentages last year (34.0% from deep) he should enter the conversation as a potential first-rounder in 2021.
AYO DOSUNMU, G, ILLINOIS
The Illinois sophomore guard was one of the more intriguing "super-sleepers" in this years class. While I personally was higher than Dosunmu than others, Ayo was trending as a potential late second-round/ priority UDFA in this years class. It was the smart decision for Ayo to return for another year. He's got an outstanding feel for the game and does a great job of utilizing his change of gears, especially in the open floor. The next part of Dosunmu's development will be improving his outside shooting, something that talent evalutors were waiting to come along during his sophomore year. With the return of big man Kofi Cockburn, Dosnumu and Illinois should be in line for a big year in the college basketball world. At 6'5" with impressive athleticism, Dosunmu could do wonders for his draft stock if he can improve on his 29.6% from outside.
AARON HENRY, G, MICHIGAN STATE
Henry was one of those prospects in this years class that I think could have been argued both ways. If he kept his name in this years class, he had the makings of a "surprisingly early" second round selection in which an NBA team could scoop him and develop him slowly. Henry announced he would return to Michigan State for his junior year and it's the smart move. A bulldog on the defensive side of the ball, Henry has the making of a legitimate 3-and-D prospect for the NBA level. The next step in his development will be adding some versatility to his offensive game. As of now, Henry is a bit of a one-trick-pony offensively. The 6'6" wing is an intelligent player who plays major minutes for head coach Tom Izzo and the Spartans, but he will need to become a more consistent floor spacer to unlock the next level of his game. As a sophomore, Henry shot just 29.6% from deep.
JOHN PETTY JR, G, ALABAMA
While I was a big fan of Petty's game, the decision to return to Alabama for another year of seasoning seems to be a wise one. A productive wing with a lightning quick release, Petty has the potential to increase his stock for the 2021 Draft. Much alike some of the other talented wings on this list, Petty will need to add some weight to his frame for the upcoming year. Petty was an extremely productive wing across the board this year for the Crimson Tide and if he can improve his numbers during his Senior year for Bama...it would go a long way towards his draft stock. Petty hasn't been much of a fascilitator during his three years at Alabama and recently only averaged 2.5 assists per game. Developing his offensive versatility as well as his consistency as a defender would go a long way for his NBA potential.
LUKA GARZA, C, IOWA
It was expected that one of the most dominant big man in college basketball would return for another year at Iowa and that's just the announcement we got this last weekend from Luka Garza. A pre-season favorite to be college basketball's player of the year, Garza will be a handful again for opposing defenses this year. Plenty of attention will be on Iowa this year as they look to be a potential national championship contender with Garza back in the fold. Garza averaged 23.9 points and 9.8 rebounds for the Hawkeyes last year.
ROBERT WOODARD II, F, MISSISSIPPI STATE
It would have been a bit of a major surprise to see the talented forward return to Mississippi State for another year, but that has been put to rest. Robert Woodard II announced he would keep his name in the 2020 NBA Draft and there's plenty to like about his game. Woodard has the makings of a prospect who could continue to sneak up draft boards.
He's got great size for a multi-demensional defensive asset at 6'7" 230 pounds with a 7'1" wingspan. But Woodard plays with an outstanding basketball IQ and overall feel for the game. He's a sure bet to entice some teams looking to add a "glue-guy" caliber type of asset to an NBA organization. While some might tag Woodard as a 3-and-D type of prospect, I believe there's much more that he offers with his offensive versatility. This last year for Mississippi State, Woodard shot 49.5% from the field and 42.9% from downtown.
XAVIER TILLMAN SR, C, MICHIGAN STATE
There was some rumblings in draft circles that the talented big man out of Michigan State could be returning to East Lancing for another year...but that rumor was put to rest this past weekend. Tillman is personally one of my favorite big man prospects in this years draft class. Although Tillman might not hear his name called in the top 10 come draft night, don't be surprised if he's one of the classic "how did he fall so far?" when we look back at this class a couple of years later.
Tillman's downside is his size and vertical burst. He's undersized for an ideal center at 6'8", and he doesn't have great vertical leaping ability down low, which is why some teams might have some doubts about his ability to defend athletic/bigger opponents at the next level. But the rest of Tillman's game is mouth-watering for an NBA organization. An intelligent big man who plays with extreme passion, Tillman has underrated vision as a passer and might be one of the best off-ball defenders out of the big man group in this years draft. Tillman could be a phenomenal get for a team that visions him making an impact in small-ball lineups as well.
TYRELL TERRY, G, STANFORD
Although Stanford freshman Tyrell Terry was considered a bit of a "wildcard" in this years draft class, it's not too much of a surprise to hear that Terry will keep his name in the 2020 Draft Class. Terry carried the load offensively for the most part during his only year in Palo Alto, and will be sure to have plenty of teams intrigued about his NBA potential. In a league that is so desperately looking for an explosive outside shooting threat (thank you Steph Curry), some team is going to have serious interest in the sharpshooting Stanford Cardinal.
Terry wows you on tape with his overall combination of shooting ability and limitless range. When he get's hot, he can stay there in a hurry. Because of his quick release and microwave potential from deep, Terry projects as a serious weapon in the P&R game. The question will be how will the frame hold up. Terry is incredibly thin framed for a guard of his size at 6'1" 160 pounds and will need to put serious weight on his frame to be able to deal with the grind of the NBA game. Still, Terry could turn out to be a phenomenal developmental asset for the right NBA Franchise.