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2014 NBA Draft: What early entry decisions are we still waiting for?

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source: AP
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Today is the day after the NCAA’s April 15th deadline for players to enter the NBA Draft.

It’s also the day after the most irrelevant deadline in American sporting culture.

“It’s the most meaningless date in college sports,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said on Tuesday as two of his players, Nick Johnson and Aaron Gordon, declared for the NBA Draft. “It’s almost like a ploy. … April 27th is the only day that matter.”

What that means is that while the NCAA’s official early entry deadline has passed, college coaches — including the self-serving ACC coaches that moved the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline up two months — still have to wait 11 days to hear about the potential pros on their roster.

Here are the 14 guys we’re still waiting to hear from:

Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood, Duke: Most expect both Dukies to be headed to the NBA, but, ironically enough, it seems more likely that Parker, a top three pick, would return that Hood, a mid-first rounder. Duke is already looking like they will be one of the top three teams in the country heading into next season without either of these two. That’s what happens when Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Grayson Allen join the likes of Rasheed Sulaimon, Quinn Cook and Amile Jefferson. The one thing that team would be missing, however, is a big wing that can score. If either player returns, Duke could end up being scary-good next year.

Kentucky’s guys: Julius Randle and James Young are both expected to leave. Dakari Johnson and Alex Poythress are both expected to return. The two that are major question marks are Andrew and Aaron Harrison, neither of whom are projected as guaranteed first round picks. Kentucky is going to once again have an overwhelming front line next season, but where they are going to struggle is in their back court. Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker are both excellent recruits, but they’re not the kind of instant impact players that you typically find with Kentucky freshmen. They’re four-year guys. And they’re also the entirety of the Kentucky perimeter attack next season. If the Harrisons return, it would give those two a chance to develop while spending more time playing a role. Either way, Kentucky is going to be a top five team entering next season.

Mitch McGary, Michigan: The Wolverines are losing Jordan Morgan (graduation), Jon Horford (transfer), Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III (NBA). They will bring back Caris LeVert, Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin, a trio that will give them one of the best perimeters in the country, McGary would be the rock in the paint. With him back, Michigan is a top 15 team. Without him, they’re borderline top 25. He’s currently projected as the No. 31 pick, according to Draft Express.

DeAndre Daniels and Ryan Boatright, UConn: With both Daniels and Boatright back for their senior years, UConn would likely enter the season as the favorite to win the American. But coming off of a national title and with their stock as high as it is going to be, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see both leave.

Jordan Adams, UCLA: The Bruins had a promising recruiting class this season, but with Kyle Anderson and Zach LaVine both going pro, losing Adams, who is projected as a late-first round pick this season, would leave them without a veteran scoring presence.

A.J. Hammons, Purdue: Hammons has the talent to be a lottery pick and the attitude to spend his career in the NBDL. He’s projected as a second rounder, according to Draft Express. Purdue will be in major rebuilding mode without him.

K.J. McDaniels, Clemson: McDaniels turned out to be one of the ACC’s best athletes and most versatile defenders. I’m not sure the Tigers are a tournament team next year with him, but they certainly aren’t without him. He’s projected as the No. 20 pick in this year’s draft, according to Draft Express.

Six more names to keep an eye on:

  • Khem Birch, UNLV
  • Elfrid Payton, Louisiana-Lafayette
  • Jordan Mickey and Jarrell Martin, LSU
  • Bobby Portis, Arkansas
  • Spencer Dinwiddie, Colorado

As good as they’ve been, No. 3 Michigan State has yet to play their best

Bryn Forbes, Ryan Fazekas
Associated Press
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Sunday night’s Wooden Legacy title game matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence was billed as a matchup of the nation’s two best players, and rightfully so. Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine (17 points, six rebounds, five assists), who already has two triple-doubles to his credit this season, and Providence redshirt junior Kris Dunn (21 points, five rebounds, seven assists) have more than lived up to the preseason expectations and more of the same was expected in Anaheim.

And while both had their moments, it was Michigan State’s supporting cast that made the difference in their 77-64 victory. The scary thing for future opponents on Michigan State’s schedule is that Tom Izzo’s team is nowhere near being a finished product.

With Valentine dealing with first-half foul trouble Bryn Forbes stepped up, scoring 13 of his 18 points to help the Spartans take a two-point lead into the half. As for the 11-0 run that Michigan State produced to take control of the game late, a host of players stepped forward in regards to scoring, rebounding and defending.

Freshmen Deyonta Davis and Matt McQuaid combined to score nine points over the final 5:32, with transfer guard Eron Harris adding six of his 12 points during that stretch. The Spartans outscored the Friars, who aren’t as deep, 22-7 during that stretch to close out the game, hunting for quality shots and hitting the offensive glass while making things difficult for Providence on the other end of the floor.

The end result was a final margin that does not indicate just how close the game was. While Providence seemed to run out of steam Michigan State received contributions from multiple players, which is undoubtedly a good sign for this group moving forward.

The Spartans will return the currently injured Gavin Schilling later this season, giving them another big man alongside Davis, Matt Costello and Colby Wollenman. He was a player they missed Sunday night, as he can defend opposing big men both in the post and on the perimeter. His absence was a main reason Michigan State didn’t have an answer for Providence’s Ben Bentil (20 points, seven rebounds) defensively.

The key for this group is going to end up being role definition, which is especially true in the case of Harris. A transfer from West Virginia, Harris came to East Lansing with the reputation of being a big time scorer. He’s struggled through the first two weeks of the season, but he got on a roll on Sunday night, finishing with 12 points, three boards and three assists. He showed he’s capable of doing a variety of things on the perimeter, and fitting into a “Swiss army knife” kind of role would make Michigan State that much more dangerous.

There’s no denying that Michigan State has been one of the nation’s best teams thus far.

But there’s also no denying that the Spartans have yet to hit their ceiling, which is definitely a positive moving forward.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady returns home with team

AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.
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Wichita State forward Anton Grady was released from a hospital in Orlando on Sunday afternoon in time to return home with his Shocker teammates.

Grady suffered a spinal corn concussion on Friday when he collided head-first with an Alabama defender, snapping his head sharply to the side. He lay on the court motionless for 10 minutes after the injury and was taken off the floor on a stretcher.

[RELATED: Can WSU still make tourney?]

“I want to send out a big thank you to Shocker Nation and all of my friends and family for of the love and encouragement that I have received the past few days,” Grady said in a statement on Sunday morning. “I’ve been reading your tweets and posts and appreciate every last one of them. I have a lot of work to do to get back on the court, but with the help of such a great support system, I’m ready for the challenge.”

By Friday night, Grady had feeling in all of his extremities, but he has a long road of rehab ahead of him.