With the early entry period now over, players have decided if they want to keep their name in the draft or decided to go back to school. Almost every year there are players who probably should have gone back to school but instead decide to stay in the draft. This year is no different. As there were many players who should have gone back to school, but I will focus on three players who definitely made the wrong decision by staying in the draft.
Brown was a highly touted recruit out of high school, was the 15th ranked recruit according to ESPN, was a McDonalds All-American. Brown is a presence for sure standing at 7’1 but has a slight frame weighing only 245 pounds. Brown decided to play his college ball at UCLA where he had a decent year averaging 9.7 ppg, 8.3 rebs along with 1.9 blks. A great year for most freshman big man, but Brown was a top recruit and those guys this day and age are expected to put up better numbers. It also did not help him that UCLA was a very average team this past season. He still needs time to develop his game, he is very raw. A team will pick him up most likely due to his size and ability to block shots. But he will probably spend the first two to three years of his career in the G-League. I think Brown would have gotten this development at UCLA, especially after hiring Mick Cronin a few months ago. He would have had the opportunity to develop under Cronin who was excellent at doing so with not as highly touted players as Brown is. But now Brown is projected to go undrafted.
Unlike Brown, Brazdeikis exceeded expectations this year, he was not that big of recruit coming out of Canada but came into Michigan and had an immediate impact. He averaged 14.8 ppg and 5.8 boards a game while at Michigan. Brazdeikis is a strong presence at the forward position and is a very confident player overall. But when he went to the combine he did not measure well, barely being 6’5″, when he was listed in college to be around 6’8″. This is trouble, even though this was not a problem at the college level, it will be trouble in the NBA. He will not be able to push grown men around and will have to play guard instead of being a forward. Brazdeikis also was not a good playmaker for his teammates, as he did not even average one assist a game at his time in Michigan. He would have benefited staying another year at Michigan, learned how to be a guard and also be able to learn under Juwan Howard, who just came from the NBA and will be able to teach you how to prepare for the NBA. Brazdeikis is projected to be a late second-round pick or go undrafted.
Harper had a tremendous career at Auburn and was one of the best guards in the country, however, I think he should have stayed one more year at Auburn and finished his career there. Harper is quick and can blow by anyone with his speed. But he only stands at 5’9″, there have been very few players who have success playing in the NBA at that size. When he was at the combine he struggled to finish against bigger players. If he had returned to Auburn, a team who made the Final Four last year, they would have had an outstanding chance of having similar success. I think Harper will have a tough time sticking on an NBA team due to his size, not the fact that he can’t play. But I think another year at Auburn would have allowed him to learn how to finish in traffic better. He is projected to go undrafted.