Cal’s Ivan Rabb is the biggest name to announce he’s returning to school

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In a year where seemingly every relevant underclassmen has decided to enter their name into the NBA Draft, Cal big man Ivan Rabb has opted to return to school for his sophomore season.

“He and his family have put a lot of thought into making a decision that was right for him,” Martin said. “He is a talented basketball player with a very bright future, and we are excited to have Ivan continue as a member of our Cal basketball program.”

Rabb is perhaps the only projected first round pick to make the decision to return to school, largely because the new NCAA rules regarding the NBA Draft allow the players to test the waters, protecting their eligibility until 10 days after the NBA Draft’s combine in mid-May. Nearly 100 underclassmen have already put their name in for consideration, with upwards of 40 announcing that they have signed with an agent.

If he had declared, there’s a chance that he could have climbed his way into the back end of the lottery. Instead, the 6-foot-9 center, who averaged 12.5 points and 8.6 boards last season, will be back, giving the Bears a core that may actually be able to get back to the NCAA tournament this season.

Jaylen Brown opted to enter his name into the draft, but the Bears will return Jabari Bird, Jordan Mathews and Sam Singer on the perimeter, which will keep Cuonzo Martin’s team relevant in the conference.

Last season, the two biggest surprises in returning to school were Providence guard Kris Dunn and Utah big man Jakob Poeltl. Both went from being mid-first round picks to potential top five selections in this year’s draft. Will Rabb be able to do that same?