The most important NBA Draft decisions left to be made

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News has leaked that both Grayson Allen and Thomas Bryant will be retuning to play their junior and sophomore seasons, respectively, without so much as going through the NBA’s draft process.

No combine. No NBA Draft workouts. Nothing.

They’re back, meaning that Duke will be the preseason No. 1 team in the country and that Indiana may crack the preseason top 15 for the second straight season. But for a number of other teams, who are still waiting for kids to declare for the draft — or, given the new rules that have been implemented, announce whether or not they’re signing with an agent — their prospects for next season remain somewhat in limbo.

Here are the 12 most important NBA Draft decisions that are left to be made:

O.G. Anunoby and Troy Williams, Indiana: We found out on Thursday that Thomas Bryant will be returning to the Hoosiers. It’s thought that Anunoby will be joining him back in Bloomington next season, while Williams’ future is still up in the air. The Hoosiers are going to have a lot of work to do to replace Yogi Ferrell, but it’s worth noting that they really took off last season when Tom Crean started using Williams and Anunoby together. They give him versatility and athleticism.

Trevon Blueitt, Xavier: Blueitt has declared for the draft but has not yet signed with an agent. He’s a versatile forward that was Xavier’s leading scorer last season. With James Farr leaving and Jalen Reynolds also putting his name in the draft, the Musketeers will be replacing quite a bit of their front line if they lose Blueitt as well.

Dillon Brooks, Oregon: With Brooks, a 6-foot-6 wing forward that played the role of small-ball four for the Ducks, Oregon looks like they’ll be a top five team in the country next season. They’ll still be good without him, but his presence makes them so much more versatile and dangerous offensively.

Deyonta Davis, Michigan State: Davis is in a similar position to where Jakob Poeltl was last season. He can leave now and get drafted somewhere from the late-lottery to the late-first round based almost solely on his potential, or he can come back for a year and work hard enough that he becomes more of a player than a prospect. Poeltl has an outside shot of going top five this season. If the Spartans get Davis back, they’ll be in the conversation with Kentucky and Kansas (plus Josh Jackson) for the No. 2 spot in our preseason top 25.

Josh Hart, Villanova: Assuming Kris Jenkins makes the decision to return to school, Hart is the name that is really in question for the reigning national champs. He’s the piece that makes everything else fit together with his ability to rebound the ball and defend bigger players at the small forward spot. With Hart and Jenkins back, we have the Wildcats as the No. 3 team in our preseason top 25. Without them, I’m not sure they would be top 20.

Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga: The Zags should be good whether or not Karnowski opts to try and take advantage of his chance to get a fifth season with a medical hardship waiver, but getting back their best low-post scorer and rim protector would be key.

Tyler Lydon and Malachi Richardson, Syracuse: Lydon and Richardson became one of the most promising, and dangerous, freshmen combos in the country by the end of the season, with both playing major roles in leading Syracuse to the Final Four. There is some question over just how good the Orange will be next season, but there’s no arguing that losing their best perimeter scorer and their best front court shooter would be a massive blow. With both of them returning, we had Syracuse as a top 20 team in our preseason top 25.

Monte’ Morris, Iowa State: It goes without saying that Morris will be the best player on the Cyclones should he return next season. Without him, ISU will be in full blown rebuilding mode. With him, they’ll have a shot to be pretty good. Remember, when Steve Prohm had his best teams at Murray State, they were built around superstar guards. (UPDATE: Morris is returning to school.)

Chinanu Onuaku, Louisville: The Cardinals should be really good next season even if Onuaku stays in the draft, like many expect him to. But if he does return, we’re looking at a Louisville team that could crack the preseason top 10, as Onuaku was their best, and most physical, front court player last season.

Isaiah Taylor, Texas: Taylor is the perfect point guard for Shaka Smart’s ‘Havoc’ system, and with another influx of talented wings coming into the program, we should be seeing more ‘Havoc’ out of the Longhorns next season. Taylor has declared for the draft, but he has not signed with an agent. His return is the difference between the Longhorns being a real Big 12 contender and being a borderline top 25 team.

Melo Trimble, Maryland: We know how good Melo can be when he’s playing well. He was the biggest reason that Maryland was a top 20 team when he was a freshman. We also know what it means for Maryland when Melo is mortal, which is the biggest reason Maryland was only top 20 this past season. If he returns, the Terps will be relevant in the Big Ten next season. If he doesn’t, they’ll be a borderline top 25 team at best.

Mo Watson, Creighton: If you’ve never seen Creighton play, you may not know about good Watson is. He and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster will be one of, if not the best back court in college basketball next season … if Watson returns.

UConn adds former Rutgers guard Cam Spencer from transfer portal

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STORRS, Conn. — National champion UConn added some shooting depth to its roster Friday, announcing the signing of former Rutgers guard Cam Spencer from the transfer portal.

Spencer, who graduated last month with a year of eligibility remaining, averaged 13.2 points in his only season in New Jersey. The 6-foot-4 guard, who played his first three seasons at Loyola of Maryland, shot 44.4% from the floor, including 43.4% from 3-point range.

“Cam is the perfect addition to our basketball program,” UConn Coach Dan Hurley said. “He brings a unique combination of high-level skill and feel for the game, with a fierce competitiveness that has allowed him to enjoy a terrific college basketball career thus far.”

The Huskies lost their top 3-point scoring threat, sophomore Jordan Hawkins, to the NBA draft, along with wing Andre Jackson Jr. and post Adama Sanogo.

Guard Tristen Newtown gave the Huskies a boost last month when he withdrew his name from the draft pool and returned to Storrs.

The Huskies began summer workouts this week, welcoming a top recruiting class led by 6-6 point guard Stephon Castle, a McDonald’s All-American from Georgia. The class also includes 6-7 wing Jayden Ross and 6-4 guard Solomon Ball from Virginia, 6-7 wing Jaylin Stewart from Seattle, Washington, and 7-foot center Youssouf Singare from New York.

“I think that some of my strengths will stand out in UConn’s style of play,” Spencer said. “They have a lot of great movement and they play so well together, with great chemistry. I think that I can come in and hopefully contribute to that.”

NCAA tweaks rules on block/charge calls in men’s basketball

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INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA is tweaking how block/charge calls are made in men’s basketball.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved rule changes on Thursday that require a defender to be in position to draw a charge at the time the offensive player plants a foot to go airborne for a shot. If the defender arrives after the player has planted a foot, officials have been instructed to call a block when there’s contact.

Defenders had to be in position to draw a charge before the offensive player went airborne under previous rules.

NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee members made the proposal after NCAA members complained that too many charges were being called on those types of plays.

The panel also approved reviews of basket interference calls during the next media timeout – if the official called it on the floor – a shot clock reset to 20 seconds on an offensive rebound that hits the rim, and players being allowed to wear any number between 0 and 99.

A timeout also will be granted to an airborne player with possession of the ball, and non-student bench personnel will be allowed to serve as peacekeepers on the floor if an altercation occurs.

Charlotte head coach Ron Sanchez resigns after winning CBI title

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Ron Sanchez resigned as head coach of the Charlotte 49ers.

Sanchez took over the 49ers on March 19, 2018, inheriting a team coming off a 6-23 campaign. In five years Charlotte went 72-78 under Sanchez, highlighted by winning the College Basketball Invitational championship this past season, the Niners’ first post-season tournament title in school history.

The 22 wins this past season are the most for Charlotte since 2001.

“Ron took over a proud but struggling program and carefully rebuilt it into a 22-game winner. He has led with class, dignity and devotion to our young men,” Charlotte director of athletics Mike Hill said. “His decision to step down from Charlotte was a difficult one for him and everyone associated with our program. We wish him and his family every happiness.”

Hill said the team has already begun a national search for a replacement.

“This is a bittersweet day for me and my family as I step down to pursue other opportunities,” said Sanchez, who came the 49ers after working as an assistant coach at Virginia under Tony Bennett. “It has been a tremendous privilege to lead the 49ers basketball program over the past five years and I want to thank Niner Nation for its support. I will be forever grateful to my staff, players and the university.”

Marquette extends Shaka Smart’s contract through 2029-30 season

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MILWAUKEE — Marquette coach Shaka Smart has received a contract extension after leading the Golden Eagles to their first outright regular-season championship and tournament title in the Big East.

Smart’s contract now runs through the 2029-30 season. This is the first extension Smart has received since signing a six-year deal when he took over as Marquette’s coach in 2021.

Marquette didn’t release financial terms of Smart’s deal.

“In a very short period of time, Shaka and his staff have done a tremendous job of establishing a winning culture, both on and off the court,” athletic director Bill Scholl said in a statement. “Shaka’s vision for the program is focused on extended, sustainable success. The individuals who interact with the team on a daily basis are able to observe frequent examples of growth and the excitement around the program is contagious.”

Marquette has gone 48-20 in Smart’s two seasons and reached the NCAA Tournament each of those years.

The Golden Eagles went 29-7 and won the Big East’s regular-season and tournament championships last season after the league’s coaches had picked them to finish ninth out of 11 teams. Marquette’s season ended with a 69-60 loss to Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32.

Purdue’s Edey returning to school at NBA draft deadline; Kentucky’s Tshiebwe stays in

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Purdue’s Zach Edey decided it was the right call to go back to school instead of staying in the NBA draft. His predecessor as national player of the year, Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe, is sticking with his pro pursuit.

And Connecticut’s reign as NCAA champion will begin with multiple starters having left for the NBA draft and one returning after flirting with doing the same.

The 7-foot-4 Edey and UConn guard Tristen Newton were among the notable names to announce that they were withdrawing from the draft, the NCAA’s deadline for players who declared as early entrants to pull out and retain their college eligibility.

Edey’s decision came in social media posts from both the center and the Boilermakers program that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament behind Edey, The Associated Press men’s national player of the year.

But Tshiebwe announced late in the afternoon that he would remain in the draft after a college career that included being named the AP national player of the year in 2022.

For the current champions, Newton (10.1 points, 4.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds) is returning after being one of four Huskies to declare for the draft after a run to UConn’s fifth national championship in early April. He scored a game-high 19 points to go with 10 rebounds in the victory over San Diego State in the title game.

The others were Final Four Most Outstanding Player Adama Sanogo, wing Jordan Hawkins and versatile guard Andre Jackson Jr. Sanogo (17.8 points) and Hawkins (16.3) have made it clear they have closed the door on their college careers, while team spokesman Phil Chardis said that Jackson (6.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists) would remain in the draft.

The Huskies have 247sports’ No. 3-ranked recruiting class for next year to restock the roster, led by McDonald’s All-American point guard Stephon Castle.

The NBA’s withdrawal deadline is June 12, but is moot when it comes to college players returning to school due to the NCAA’s earlier timeline to retain playing eligibility.


TREY ALEXANDER: Creighton gets back a 6-4 guard who averaged 13.6 points and shot 41% from 3-point range in his first full season as a starter.

ADEM BONA: The 6-foot-10 forward and Pac-12 freshman of the year is returning to UCLA after starting 32 games as a rookie and averaging 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks – with coach Mick Cronin praising his toughness for “competing through multiple injuries for as long as he could” in a statement Wednesday.

EDEY: He averaged 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.5 assists while shooting 60.7% from the field. His presence alone helps Purdue be a factor in the Big Ten race.

JOSIAH-JORDAN JAMES: The 6-6 guard went through the NBA G League Combine and had workouts with multiple teams before opting to return to Tennessee for a fifth season alongside teammate Santiago Vescovi.

JUDAH MINTZ: The 6-3 freshman averaged 16.3 points and 4.6 assists for Syracuse, ranking third among Division I freshmen in scoring behind only Alabama’s Brandon Miller and Lamar’s Nate Calmese.

OWLS’ RETURNEES: Florida Atlantic got good news after its surprise Final Four run with the return leading scorers Johnell Davis (13.8) and Alijah Martin (13.4). ESPN first reported their decisions, while Martin later posted a social media statement.

TERRENCE SHANNON JR.: Illinois got a big boost with Shannon announcing his night in a social media post. The 6-6 guard is returning for a fifth college season after averaging 17.2 points.

SPARTANS’ RETURNEES: Michigan State announced that guards Jaden Akins and A.J. Hoggard have withdrawn from the NBA draft. Standout guard Tyson Walker had previously withdrawn in April, setting up Tom Izzo to have five of his top scorers back.


KOBE BROWN: Missouri’s 6-8 swingman opted against returning for a fifth college season after being an AP first-team all-Southeastern Conference pick averaging 15.8 points last season.

JAYLEN CLARK: The third-year UCLA guard averaged 13.0 points and 6.0 rebounds while leading the Pac-12 with 2.6 steals en route to being named Naismith national defensive player of the year. Cronin called him a winner with strong intangibles who made UCLA “a better program because he chose to be a Bruin.”

BRICE SENSABAUGH: The Ohio State freshman averaged 16.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 31 games before missing his final two in the Big Ten Tournament due to a knee injury. He’s a potential first-round prospect.

TSHIEBWE: The 6-9, 260-pound forward is a tough interior presence who led the country in rebounds for two straight seasons (15.1 in 2022, 13.7 in 2023) while racking up 48 double-doubles. But he faces an uncertain next stop and is projected at best as a second-round prospect.