Nine days after announcing that he would return to UCLA for his junior season, guard Jordan Adams had a change of heart. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Adams has decided to enter the 2014 NBA Draft. The decision falls on the day of the NBA’s early entry deadline.
Adams, who averaged 17.4 points per game and earned first team All Pac-12 honors, was projected to be a late-first round selection by Draft Express before announcing that he would return to school. He’s the third Bruin to enter the NBA Draft this offseason, with point guard Kyle Anderson and shooting guard Zach LaVine doing so shortly after the end of UCLA’s season.
And with those three departures and the graduation of forwards David and Travis Wear, head coach Steve Alford has a lot of production to replace in 2014-15. UCLA’s leading returning scorer will be Norman Powell, who early this month was thought by some to be considering the possibility of turning pro as well. Powell averaged 11.4 points per game and was a much-improved offensive player in his first season playing for Alford.
Also returning is rising sophomore guard Bryce Alford, who averaged 8.0 points and 2.8 assists per game as one of the first two players off the bench (LaVine being the other). UCLA adds a four-member recruiting class led by forward Kevon Looney and center Thomas Welch, and they’ll also have guard Isaac Hamilton. Hamilton was forced to sit out all of last season his appeal to be released from the National Letter of Intent he signed to attend UTEP was denied.
But even with the talent due to arrive on campus, the loss of Adams hurts for a team that was thought to be one of Arizona’s biggest challengers in the Pac-12 with the high-scoring guard on board.
UConn’s chances of repeating as national champions next season hinged, in part, on the decisions of guard Ryan Boatright and forward DeAndre Daniels. With both considering entering the 2014 NBA Draft, head coach Kevin Ollie would have more holes to fill with Shabazz Napier, Niels Giffey and Lasan Kromah out of eligibility if those two juniors were to leave.
And Friday afternoon it was learned that there will be one more hole to fill.
As first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports that Daniels, whose improved play during the NCAA tournament made him a more enticing prospect to NBA scouts, has decided to forego his final season of eligibility and enter his name into the 2014 NBA Draft pool.
MORE: The list of players entering the 2014 NBA Draft
Daniels averaged 13.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game as a junior, and in the NCAA tournament he found the level of consistency that wasn’t always there during the regular season. Daniels reached double figures in five of UConn’s six NCAA tournament wins, including a 27-point, ten-rebound performance in their Sweet 16 win over Iowa State.
Draft Express projects Daniels, who was one of the best high school players in his class back in 2011, to be a late-first round selection.
While most of Kentucky’s roster for the 2014-15 season has been known, the decisions of twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison with regards to the NBA Draft had yet to be made. Both played better basketball during the NCAA tournament, which impacted the thought processes of both players as they debated whether to turn pro or return to Lexington for another season.
And on Friday afternoon it was reported by Adrian Wojnarowski that the twins have decided to return to school for their sophomore seasons, giving Kentucky a major personnel boost in the backcourt.
The twins formally announced their decisions shortly after the news broke, confirming the news that they will be back in Lexington next season.
Andrew averaged 10.8 points and 4.0 assists per game as a freshman, with Aaron accounting for 13.7 points and 3.0 rebounds. Both struggled during the latter portion of the regular season, but once tournament (both SEC and NCAA) play began the tandem played much better basketball. And with more strides to be made for both, the Harrison twins should be even better in 2014-15.
As for Kentucky’s perimeter rotation, the returns are important for a group that would have been very young had the Harrisons decided to turn pro. Head coach John Calipari added Tyler Ulis and Devon Booker on the recruiting trail, and Dominique Hawkins will be a sophomore.
There’s been a great deal of discussion about Kentucky’s front court depth (and talent) and rightfully so, but the guard play will be just as important if the Wildcats are to win the program’s ninth national title next season. And with the Harrisons deciding that they want to take another shot at winning it all, Kentucky becomes the early favorite to cut down the nets in Indianapolis next April.