Eight schools with the most at stake entering the draft deadline

The Dagger
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: Josh Hart #3 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrates his dunk in the final minutes of the game against the Providence Friars during the semifinals of the Big East Basketball Tournament on March 11, 2016 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Big East Basketball Tournament - Semifinals

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: Josh Hart #3 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrates his dunk in the final minutes of the game against the Providence Friars during the semifinals of the Big East Basketball Tournament on March 11, 2016 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Undecided prospects have only one week left before they must announce whether they're coming back to school or staying in the NBA draft. Here's a look at the eight schools with the most at stake during the next seven days:

1. Oregon (G Tyler Dorsey, F Dillon Brooks): Oregon could have five of its top seven players back from a 31-win Elite Eight team if Dorsey and Brooks opt to return to school, a decision that might be wise for both of them after neither was invited to the draft combine. Brooks, a versatile 6-foot-7 forward, averaged 16.7 points per game last season, but he could use another year to revamp his body and improve the consistency of his perimeter shot. Dorsey, a 6-foot-4 combo guard, averaged 13.4 points and shot over 40 percent from behind the arc, but he lacks prototypical size or length for an NBA shooting guard. If he returns to school, he could stand to improve his playmaking ability.

2. Villanova (G Josh Hart): After a recent workout with the 76ers, Hart updated the Philadelphia Inquirer on the chances he'll stay in the draft. "Still 50-50," he said. It's easy to see why Hart would be torn even with the deadline looming a week away. He showed enough toughness, craftiness, defense and rebounding during Villanova's title run that he'll probably be selected if he stays in the draft, yet his lack of length and explosiveness limits his chances of being taken in the first round. Adding to the complexity of Hart's decision is that Villanova has realistic hope of repeating if he returns. The reigning national champions could return all but two rotation players.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

3. Maryland (G Melo Trimble): Trimble is one of the prospects in this year's draft with the most to gain by coming back to school. He was one of the premier pick-and-roll point guards in college basketball as a freshman, but his jump shot deserted him last season with disastrous results. Opponents went under screens against him and sagged off him, making it more difficult for him to get to the rim or to draw fouls attacking the basket. The combine offered Trimble one final chance to show his erratic shooting was an aberration, but he didn't make the impact he hoped. He'll have a much better chance of being a first-round pick if he comes back to Maryland and takes one more year to develop before pursuing his NBA dreams. 

4. Seton Hall (G Isaiah Whitehead): Seton Hall fans eager to know whether Whitehead will be back for his junior season won't have to wait much longer. The high-scoring combo guard plans to announce Thursday whether he intends to stay in the NBA draft or not. Whitehead's decision is tricky simply because his stock is all over the board right now after a sophomore season in which he averaged 18.6 points per game but shot well below 40 percent from the field. His scoring ability and court vision gives him an outside chance of being taken late in the first round. His erratic shot selection and penchant for turnovers could scare some teams away from selecting him at all.

5. Wisconsin (F Nigel Hayes): Although Hayes once had every intention of leaving for the NBA this spring, his performance the past six months may force him to return to Wisconsin. He endured an erratic junior season in which he averaged 15.7 points per game but struggled with the transition to go-to threat, shooting an inefficient 36.8 percent from the field and 29.3 percent from behind the arc. Then he faded to the background in two games at the NBA draft combine, scoring a total of four points on 1-for-5 shooting. The good news for Hayes is that returning to school certainly isn't the worst option. He, Bronson Koenig and Ethan Happ would be the centerpieces of a Wisconsin team that made the Sweet 16 last season and could return up to 99.7 percent of its scoring.

6. Providence (F Ben Bentil): If Ben Bentil was already leaning toward staying in the NBA draft before last week's combine, his performance in Chicago probably only solidified that choice in his mind. The rapidly improving stretch forward measured well during testing and flashed many of the same attributes that were apparent this past season when he averaged 21.1 points and 7.7 rebounds. In his first game, he tallied 15 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and sank a pair of 3-point shots. The following day he backed that up by pouring in 17 points in just 19 minutes. Bentil isn't guaranteed to be a first-round pick if he stays in the draft, but it seems unlikely he'd fall beyond the first half of the second round.

7. Purdue (F Caleb Swanigan, F Vince Edwards): While Swanigan averaged nearly a double-double during a productive freshman season, there's concern about how his skill set will translate to the NBA. The 6-foot-8 big man isn't tall or athletic enough to play center in the NBA but lacks the perimeter skills most modern-day power forwards possess. Swanigan clearly is intent on leaving if he receives positive feedback, but another year at Purdue could really benefit him. Playing alongside 7-footer Isaac Haas, he'll have the chance to slim down, log heavy minutes at power forward and work on his passing and outside shooting. As for Edwards, it would be a surprise if he didn't return to school. The 6-foot-7 wing shoots well from the perimeter, but he would likely go unselected if he remains in the draft.

8. Kentucky (G Isaiah Briscoe, F Marcus Lee): While it's unlikely that either Briscoe or Lee would be taken if they stay in the draft, that doesn't mean that either will definitely be back at Kentucky next season. Neither are likely to have a starring role for the Wildcats thanks to the bevy of talented newcomers John Calipari has added. The best-case scenario for Briscoe would be as a third guard alongside freshmen DeAaron Fox and Malik Monk — a similar role to the one he played this past season. Playing time could be more scarce for Lee with Derek Willis returning, Bam Adebayo and Wenyen Gabriel set to arrive and Marques Bolden also potentially on his way. Lee reportedly has canceled some workouts with NBA teams, suggesting perhaps he may be returning to school. At the same time, he also has said he's comfortable heading to the D-League, so what he decides is anyone's guess.

Other schools with a lot on the line the next seven days: Mississippi State (G Malik Newman); Clemson (F Jaron Blossomgame); San Diego State (F Malik Pope); Memphis (F Dedric Lawson); Xavier (F Trevon Bluiett); UConn (F Amida Brimah, G Rodney Purvis); Creighton (G Mo Watson); Louisville (C Chinanu Onuaku)

- - - - - - -

Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

What to Read Next