The NBA's early-entry deadline for the draft passed Sunday. Below is a look at the programs who emerged as losers this draft declaration season. Click here for a look at the winners.
EARLY-ENTRY PERIOD LOSERS:
Who left early: Kyle Anderson, G, So., Zach Lavine, G, Fr., Jordan Adams, G, So.
Who Stayed: Norman Powell, G, Jr.
Outlook: Firing Ben Howland apparently hasn't made it any easier for UCLA to keep NBA prospects with borderline first-round aspirations. Steve Alford lost three perimeter standouts to the NBA this month, leaving UCLA with only one starter returning from its Sweet 16 team. Kyle Anderson was the one Alford has known since November he would lose. The former top-five recruit had a brilliant sophomore season after making the switch to point guard and is considered a mid-first-round pick. Zach Lavine was a bit more surprising. The freshman's explosive athleticism and 6-foot-5 frame make him tantalizing for NBA teams, but he tailed off considerably the final two months of the season, scored a total of 10 points in his final five games and seldom showed the potential to play point guard at the next level. The stunner was Jordan Adams simply because he reversed course on Saturday after initially announcing he'd be back the previous week. Adams was UCLA's leading scorer as a sophomore, but conditioning issues and a lack of elite athleticism make the 6-foot-5 wing a borderline first-round pick. With Adams also gone, UCLA suddenly no longer looks as sure to be the biggest challenger to Arizona in the Pac-12. The Bruins can make the NCAA tournament, but the roster looks too young for them to do much damage.
Who left early: Nik Stauskas, G, So., Mitch McGary, F, So., Glenn Robinson III, F, So.
Who Stayed: Caris LeVert, G, So.
Outlook: Though Michigan has enough returning perimeter talent to absorb the loss of Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III and still contend in the Big Ten next season, Mitch McGary's departure is a far more staggering blow. McGary announced Friday morning that he is entering the NBA draft, a decision fueled in part by a one-year suspension handed down by the NCAA after he used marijuana in March and failed a drug test during the NCAA tournament. With starting forward Jordan Morgan graduating and top reserve Jon Horford intending to transfer, next season's Michigan frontcourt will be bereft of returning big men from this past year's rotation. One option will be 6-foot-9 stretch forward Mark Donnal, who added 10 to 15 pounds of muscle during a redshirt season this past year and spent his time in practice on the scout team mimicking opposing centers. Six-foot-7 rising junior Max Bielfeldt will surely also see playing time next season, as will incoming freshman forwards 6-foot-9 Ricky Doyle and 6-foot-8 D.J. Wilson. The key for Michigan will be for that frontcourt quartet to be solid enough not to hold back a perimeter group that is capable of being one of the Big Ten's best. Caris LeVert flashed star potential during a breakout sophomore season, Zak Irvin is an excellent shooter and wing scorer and Derrick Walton and Spike Albrecht form a very capable point guard duo.
Who left early: Khem Birch, F, Jr.; Roscoe Smith, F, Jr.
Who Stayed: No NBA prospects
Outlook: At the same time as his former UConn teammates were preparing for the national title game earlier this month, Roscoe Smith was pondering a surprise announcement. The 6-foot-7 rebounding machine announced that Monday night that he was turning pro even though he is considered a fringe NBA prospect at best. UNLV could have withstood the loss of Smith were he the only frontcourt standout leaving early, but Khem Birch announced last Thursday evening he is forgoing his final season of eligibility and entering the NBA draft. The 6-foot-9 junior would have had a better chance to garner first-round interest had he returned to school and improved his back-to-the-basket offense, but he could still be taken in the second round because of his ability to run the floor in transition, block shots and attack the offensive and defensive glass. The loss of Birch and Smith is devastating for a UNLV program that has already seen leading scorer Bryce Dejean-Jones transfer to Iowa State. UNLV adds a trio of top 50 freshmen and a pass-first point guard in San Francisco transfer Cody Doolin, but the Rebels now lack the experience, rebounding or interior defensive anchor to overthrow San Diego State in the Mountain West. The UNLV frontcourt will probably feature Chris Wood, who improved steadily over the course of his freshman season and four-star incoming center Goodluck Okonoboh.
Who left early: Tyler Ennis, G, Fr., Jerami Grant, F, So.
Who Stayed: No NBA prospects
Outlook: The departure of Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant is just as damaging as any of the losses sustained by the three teams above Syracuse on this list. The difference is at least the Orange lost two players who are nearly certain to be taken in the first round. Ennis, one of the nation's best freshmen last season, isn't an elite athlete for a point guard but he impressed scouts with his decision making, passing and knack for hitting clutch shots. Grant, a rapidly developing 6-foot-8 forward, has an inconsistent jump shot and little in the way of a back-to-the-basket game, but he makes up for that with explosive athleticism, impressive wingspan and ability to make an impact on the glass and finish around the rim. Their departures, coupled with the graduation of C.J. Fair, ensure Syracuse will lose the core of this past season's 28-win team. The only double-digit scorer who returns is guard Trevor Cooney, a catch-and-shoot specialist who slumped badly in late February and March and still doesn't create much off the dribble even at his best. The Orange do not have a proven replacement for Ennis at point guard, nor do they have much depth or scoring punch in the frontcourt.
Missouri — Losing perimeter standouts Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown ensures the Tigers will be in rebuilding mode in year one under a new coach.
Oregon State — Oregon State was already losing three starters from a team that never contended for the NCAA tournament, but forward Eric Moreland leaving for the NBA draft was a killer. Had he returned, the Beavers at least would have had an interior standout to build around. They also might have kept guard Hallice Cooke, who transferred.
Xavier — Semaj Christon could have returned to school for his junior season and solidified himself as a first-round pick next year. Instead he's turning pro amid questions of whether he can play point guard at the NBA level and whether Xavier can finish in the upper half of the Big East without him.
New Mexico State — Sim Bhullar's decision to turn pro wasn't as crazy as some have suggested because a 7-foot-5, 360-pound center has such a short window to make money before his body breaks down. Still, the departure of the two-time WAC tournament MVP hurts New Mexico State and robs us of the chance to see him and his 7-foot-3 brother play together.
New Mexico — Whether via early entry or graduate transfer, there was always a decent chance New Mexico would lose Alex Kirk this year. With him gone and Cameron Bairstow and Kendall Williams graduating, it will be up to Hugh Greenwood and Deshawn Delaney to keep the Lobos from slipping too far.
- - - - - - -
- Sports & Recreation
- Jordan Adams
- Steve Alford