The NBA draft early-entrant deadline to withdraw is at the end of May, leaving teams to speculate about what their rosters may look like in the fall.
But there are a number of key players in each class who decided against putting their names in to continue playing college basketball.
I cherry-picked five players in each class that either should have a breakthrough season as a major contributor on their team. Here are my picks for the rising seniors:
Braxton Key, 6-8, F, Virginia
Key led the Cavaliers in rebounding at 5.3 per game and will likely add even more team-high rankings next year. The departures of Ty Jerome, Kyle Guy and De’Andre Hunter from the national champs means Key will be counted on even more as a senior. He adapted well in transferring from Alabama. He got it defensively and didn’t jump out of his lane. If he’s asked to do more, he can. If the need is there, he’ll answer it. Tony Bennett has built a brand that works well as a unit and Key will continue to thrive in what Bennett desires from him on the floor.
Marcus Evans, 6-2, G, VCU
Evans was on the verge of carrying the Rams to an A-10 title before a knee injury limited him in a quarterfinal loss to URI. Evans had just poured in 23 in a regular season-ending win over Saint Joseph’s. Evans wasn’t as effective against UCF with only six points in the NCAA tournament first-round loss to the Knights. But once he’s ready to go for next season, the Rams will get back their most productive player — he was their leader in points (13.6), assists (3.2) and steals (1.9). He should enter the A-10 as one of the leading candidates for player of the year for a team that could repeat as league champs.
De'Ron Davis, 6-10, F, Indiana
Davis’ numbers didn’t blow anyone away last season. But he didn’t need to be dominant. He had to play his role, which he did. But he’s got a summer to show that he can do much more, so much more. He’ll have the ability to take over some leadership responsibilities from Juwan Morgan. He can be an effective scorer inside and bother the opposing team. He can take up space. His numbers should increase from 5.4 points per game to closer to 10, and his rebounds must and should climb higher from 2.5 to at least five a game at the minimum. The potential is there for Davis to have an effective, breakout senior season.
Cameron McGriff, 6-7, F, Oklahoma State
McGriff was well known within the Big 12 and led the Cowboys with 12.3 points and 7.4 boards. Oklahoma State wasn’t an NCAA tournament team, but if Oklahoma State is going to make a run toward a bid in 2020 then McGriff will have a major say. The one game that stood out to show just how much McGriff can impact the outcome was against LSU. McGriff beat the Tigers with 28 points and in Orlando in November. Those numbers are obtainable. They aren’t going to be as consistent, but he has the potential to be a breakout name in 2020.
Quincy McKnight, 6-4, G, Seton Hall
McKnight’s role could change dramatically if Myles Powell stays in the NBA draft. If Powell comes back, then McKnight will be a part of a loaded backcourt with Powell and Myles Cale. If Powell stays in the draft, then McKnight is likely to become the big-shot maker for the Pirates — a team that should contend for an NCAA tournament berth, even without Powell. McKnight was third on the team in scoring (9.4) but more than capable of being first if given the shot opportunities.