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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Texas, UCLA and Michigan are the draft deadline’s biggest losers

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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The deadline for underclassmen to withdraw from the NBA draft passed Sunday night, which means it's time to evaluate how the landscape of next college basketball season has changed as a result of the decisions made the past few weeks.

Below is a look at eight programs that emerged as draft deadline losers. Click here for a look at the eight biggest draft deadline winners.

1. Texas: The departure of high-scoring sophomore Jordan Hamilton was one Texas could absorb, but freshmen Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph opting to follow their teammate out the door drastically diminishes expectations for the Longhorns. Texas plummets from Final Four contender to the outer fringes of the preseason top 25 since it lacks an interior scorer to replace Thompson and it will be talented but very young on the perimeter.

2. UCLA: Even though UCLA will boast the Pac-12's most formidable frontcourt next year, the Bruins lack perimeter talent thanks to the early departures of  both sophomore Tyler Honeycutt and junior Malcolm Lee. Honeycutt, a potential late first-round pick, was UCLA's best perimeter shooter even if he didn't maximize his talent during college, while Lee, a likely second-rounder, was the Bruins' top defender and transition scorer.

3. Michigan: The momentum the Wolverines built with their late-season surge and near NCAA tourney upset of Duke halted in a hurry when star point guard Darius Morris opted to remain in the NBA draft last week. Michigan can certainly still return for an NCAA tournament berth without Morris, but the Wolverines would have been a preseason top 20 team and a threat to Ohio State in the Big Ten had he stayed.

4. Tennessee: No Scotty Hopson, plus no Tobias Harris, plus no Bruce Pearl means no reason to watch the Vols next season. Harris might have benefited from another season in Knoxville, but he'll be selected in the middle of the first round on talent alone. The enigmatic Hopson on the other hand is a likely second-round pick who will have to impress an NBA team in training camp just to make a roster.

5. Butler: For the second straight season, the departure of a key underclassman will help the Bulldogs fly under the radar. Shelvin Mack's decision to remain in the draft despite no guarantee that he will be a first-round pick makes it difficult to envision next year's Bulldogs making a third straight Final Four push, though we've all learned the past two seasons to write off a Brad Stevens team at your own risk. {YSP:MORE}

6. Maryland: In a draft sorely lacking quality big men, it's difficult to fault sophomore Jordan Williams for deciding last week to forgo his final two seasons at Maryland even if he may not be a first-round pick. The decision, however, is a crushing blow to next season's Terps, who will have a nice collection of young guards if they keep Gary Williams' recruits but will have no established interior scorers.

7. Illinois: One of the most surprising decisions of the past month belonged to talented Illinois freshman Jereme Richmond, who left after averaging 7.6 points per game off the bench last season rather than hoping to emerge as the centerpiece of the Illini's attack as a sophomore. For an Illinois team already losing three senior starters, this was an unexpected departure that dims next year's prospects and ratchets up the pressure on coach Bruce Weber even further.

8. Notre Dame: Maybe the most head-scratching of this past weekend's departures was junior forward Carleton Scott leaving Notre Dame. It's bad enough for the Irish that perimeter standout Ben Hansbrough graduates, but now they're losing a key big man even though he'd be very fortunate at this point to even be selected in the late second round.

Other losers: Stanford (Leading scorer Jeremy Green remained in the draft); Georgia (Both Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins entered the draft without even testing the waters); Washington (Star point guard Isaiah Thomas stayed in the draft); Louisville (Center Terrence Jennings remained in the draft); Minnesota (Big man Ralph Sampson III remained in the draft)

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