NCAA Basketball Tournament - Murray State v Marquette

The players that have withdrawn from the draft aren’t locks to return yet

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North Carolina fans celebrated on Wednesday when James Michael McAdoo announced that he would be returning for his sophomore season. He’s a potential all-american and a guy that just about everyone is going to predict to have a Thomas Robinson-esque kind of break out performance.

Murray State fans celebrated as well when all-american point guard Isaiah Canaan made it official that he would be back as a Racer for his senior campaign.

Myck Kabongo has said he’s returning to Texas, Doug McDermott has announced his intention to return to Creighton and Mike Moser will be back at UNLV for at least one more year.

That’s all well and good and I’m sure that each and every one of those fan bases are excited about the fact that one of their stars has said they will be returning. And while I hate to be the buzzkill, nothing is actually official. It won’t be on April 10th, the NCAA’s deadline for players considering the draft to pull their names, either.

You see, the way the NCAA has set up this new rule is beyond silly. They moved the deadline to withdraw from the draft up to April 10th in an effort to try and give head coaches more of a feel for what their roster will look like in the next season, but the problem is that the deadline holds absolutely no weight. If a player wants to leave, he has until April 29th — the NBA’s deadline for early entry — to declare. Because if he is going to the NBA, where is the incentive to follow any rules that the NCAA has put into place?

This is where it gets interesting.

Nothing that any of these players have announced is official. Nothing that any of the players that “withdraw” their name from the draft over the next five days will be official. In fact, this is something these kids have to do if they want more time to make the most important decision of their lives, time they actually should be allowed to get.

In essence, the NCAA has created a situation where is behooves the athletes to lie about their intentions. That’s always good.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.