Thanks to the return of Adreian Payne and Gary Harris, Michigan State will be loaded next season (Getty Images)
The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NBA draft came and went on Sunday. Here's a look at which programs benefited from the return of some high-profile players and which suffered some unexpected losses:
EARLY-ENTRY DEADLINE WINNERS:
1. Michigan State: Freshman guard Gary Harris likely would have been a first-round pick had he opted to enter the NBA draft. Junior forward Adreian Payne had a chance to parlay his strong finish this past season into being selected in the first round as well. Both opted to return to school for one more year instead, all but ensuring Michigan State will start next season in the top three in the polls along with Louisville and Kentucky. Every key player besides Derrick Nix from this past year's Sweet 16 team returns for the Spartans, with point guard Keith Appling, wing Denzel Valentine and forward Branden Dawson likely to join Payne and Harris in a formidable starting lineup.
2. Oklahoma State: Of all the top college players who opted to return to school this spring, Marcus Smart's decision was the most surprising. The dynamic freshman had a chance to be selected in the top five in this year's draft, but he came back to Oklahoma State in hopes of paving the way for a special season next year. With Smart, Markel Brown and Le'Bryan Nash all returning from a team that won 24 games and finished 13-5 in the Big 12, the Cowboys belong in the preseason top 10. They're also a big threat to end Kansas' Big 12 title streak, especially with the Jayhawks losing their entire starting five.
3. Creighton: Doug McDermott's decision to return for his senior year prevents the Bluejays from entering the Big East in rebuilding mode. Had McDermott left, Creighton would have lost its three leading scorers off a team that won 28 games and captured the Missouri Valley title last season. Graduating seniors Gregory Echenique and Grant Gibbs will still be missed, but the Bluejays will have an All-American candidate to build around. Pair the high-scoring McDermott with sweet-shooting Ethan Wragge, steady Jahenns Manigat and dynamic Austin Chatman, and that's a nucleus capable of competing with Georgetown, Marquette and Villanova in the new-look Big East.
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