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Friday, June 7, 2024

Dribble Handoff: Bronny James, Alex Karaban spotlight questionable 2024 NBA Draft choices

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The 2024 NBA Draft withdrawal deadline handed final week, bringing school basketball applications one step nearer to finalizing what their rosters will appear like for the 2024-25 season. Not everybody obtained excellent news as a handful of applications that had been holding out hope for the return of star gamers noticed them depart for good.

For instance: Dayton misplaced Atlantic 10 Participant of the Yr DaRon Holmes II, Memphis misplaced main scorer David Jones and Kansas wing Johnny Furphy solidified his resolution to show professional. On the flip facet, some big-time abilities akin to Alabama’s Mark Sears, Arizona’s Caleb Love and UConn’s Alex Karaban selected to withdraw from the draft and return for one more season of school basketball.

What goes right into a stay-or-go resolution differs for each participant. All some want is the assure of a two-way contract on the subsequent stage with the intention to make the leap. Others need to be assured that they’re going to be chosen within the first spherical and obtain a assured contract.

For final week’s Dribble Handoff, we highlighted the gamers who made the perfect stay-or-go choices on the deadline. This week, we’ll check out the gamers who made the worst — or not even that: essentially the most questionable, in some instances — choices about the place they are going to play subsequent season.

As beforehand famous, I finished getting worked-up about stay-or-go choices from school athletes years in the past. All people is working their very own race. What issues to at least one individual won’t matter to the subsequent. If I did not correctly perceive that once I was youthful, I do now. So I am tired of judging anyone.

That stated, I might be confused by some choices.

Armstrong’s resolution confused me.

The Villanova guard truly introduced final month, effectively upfront of the deadline to withdraw from the 2024 NBA Draft, that he can be remaining within the 2024 NBA Draft. Once more, what do I care? However Armstrong is a 6-foot-2 guard who’s unlikely to be chosen later this month after merely being the fourth-leading scorer on a Villanova crew that completed tied for sixth within the Large East and missed the NCAA Event. Why is any individual like that so desirous to pursue not-so-great skilled alternatives when an alternate plan may’ve been to easily enter the switch portal and let the bidding begin amongst coaches who work in school basketball, the place a participant like Armstrong ought to have rather more worth than he has exterior of school basketball due to the cash hooked up to NIL alternatives which might be used as recruiting instruments?

Does Armstrong simply hate college?

If that’s the case, nice.

However the fact is that he may’ve spent subsequent season enjoying on larger levels and for more cash than he’ll now that he is forgone his ultimate two years of school eligibility. Hopefully, it really works out for him. But it surely’s at all times cheap to marvel why any individual unlikely to get picked and even be given a notable contract after going unselected would stroll away from a sport the place lesser gamers are making tons. — Gary Parrish

Rely me within the crowd that believes Christie would’ve gone 10-15 spots greater in 2025 than he’ll go this 12 months. In a weak draft, I perceive why the one-and-doner out of Minnesota is trying to capitalize on his potential — with a assure he’ll hear his title known as between twentieth and fortieth. 

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Christie averaged 11.3 factors on a 19-win Minnesota crew that might’ve been boosted considerably if he opted to return. Had he portaled to a distinct vacation spot, Christie would’ve most likely commanded north of $750,000 in NIL earnings. And had he come again, there is a life like state of affairs during which he may’ve popped as a top-40 participant in school subsequent season and catapulted that to top-20 inventory within the 2025 Draft. 

I do not suppose his resolution is egregious — removed from it — however I do suppose he is the more and more uncommon case of a participant opting in early who’s leaving actual earnings potential on the desk by chasing the possibility of being drafted within the first spherical.  — Matt Norlander

Alex Karaban’s resolution to return to UConn earlier than Danny Hurley was focused by the Lakers.
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Alex Karaban, UConn

I will swerve right here on the subject and be the one of our bunch to take a participant who truly returned to school as a substitute of staying within the NBA Draft. In a delicate 2024 draft class Karaban regarded like an actual first-round prospect and had a robust predraft course of that included a stable displaying on the mix. Coming off a second consecutive nationwide championship, turning professional as a substitute of staying at school appeared (from afar, to be clear) to be the higher of the 2 choices, simply given the place his inventory is true now and the panorama of the present class. 

It is clearly onerous to fault a participant for deciding to remain at school and persevering with their training and not possible to criticize that call with Karaban particularly — he loves UConn, he is pursuing his training and his inventory is more likely to stay at or above the identical stage subsequent cycle — however, if positioned in his footwear, I might’ve had a tough time passing up the prospect of being a possible first-rounder and kick-starting the professional profession clock. 

With Dan Hurley doubtlessly contemplating a transfer to go away UConn to grow to be the coach of the Lakers, it provides one other wrinkle of uncertainty about subsequent season that solely additional complicates what was already a troublesome stay-or-go resolution. — Kyle Boone

You possibly can’t blame Bronny for capitalizing on the affect of his father, as a result of that affect is probably going going to get him drafted. Whereas LeBron’s energy will likely be sufficient to get Bronny into the league, it doubtless will not be sufficient to maintain him there. Bronny will likely be pressured to develop from a mean school guard to official NBA participant earlier than LeBron, 39, retires. 

In any other case, as soon as LeBron hangs it up, Bronny’s charity spot on a roster will likely be gone, and Bronny’s profession prospects will look bleak. The choice path would have been to remain in school for as much as three extra seasons and develop extra organically, with out all of the criticism that’s sure to return from his untimely entry to the NBA. 

It will likely be a particular second to see Bronny and LeBron take the court docket collectively. However the worth for that reminiscence is that Bronny will likely be disadvantaged of essentially the most logical developmental runway for a participant of his caliber. In the long term, arguing that staying within the NBA Draft is really what’s greatest for Bronny’s improvement is a troublesome promote. — David Cobb

David Jones, Memphis

The opinions from the NBA Draft Mix about Jones’ efficiency weren’t nice. On prime of that, Jones initiatives as a UDFA or a really late second-round decide. Jones would’ve benefited extra from coming again to high school. It could’ve additionally benefited Penny Hardaway and Memphis tremendously if he determined to return again. After bouncing round at DePaul and St. John’s, Jones had the perfect season with the Tigers, averaging 21.8 factors, 7.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists. 

If Jones determined to return again to high school, he would’ve been an All-American candidate and Memphis would’ve been even extra loaded. Jones will doubtless need to go the G League route in his first season as a professional, and the climb to get to the NBA will likely be steep. — Cameron Salerno



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