College Basketball Players Who Will Regret Declaring for the Draft

There have been a ton of players entering their names into the 2022 NBA draft as we go beyond the early entrant deadline. Some of them, including the big three of Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, and Jabari Smith, made the easy decision to turn pro and get their money now.

Others, however, were not as touted, and may have entered a bit early when they could’ve used some extra years of eligibility to improve their game. Here are some of those college basketball players who will regret declaring for the draft.

Kendall Brown, Baylor

The five-star recruit was having a fantastic season until late on when he was outshined by fellow freshman Jeremy Sochan. His inability to become an elite scorer ultimately cost Baylor in the postseason as they dealt with injuries to their star guard duo LJ Cryer and Adam Flagler.

Brown shot the ball well, but wasn’t great from beyond the three, and wasn’t impressive at all at the free-throw line either. Poor free-throw shooting may be the indicator that a player isn’t ready for the NBA quite yet, and that may be the case with Brown.

Because of his potential, he’ll get picked in the mid-late first round, but he definitely could’ve done with another year learning under Scott Drew in Waco.

Walker Kessler, Auburn

Kessler was great for Auburn all year, minus the last few games when the whole Tigers team decided to turn sour. He was an elite shot-blocker and paint presence, averaging 4.6 blocks per game.

Overall, his ability to rebound, score down low, and play defense against fellow big men, coupled with his overall size and stature made his decision rather predictable.

Or so you’d think. Kessler has a very limited offensive game, including a rather low basketball IQ outside of pick and roll plays. He has very few abilities in his offensive arsenal, and though he’s shown he can be serviceable at switching onto smaller guards if need be, his tendency to pick up fouls shows a lack of maturity.

Kessler could’ve done with another couple of years in college to develop his game into one of the most dominant college players this century, but instead, he opted to utilize his rising draft stock and leave now.

Drew Timme, Gonzaga

The mustached-man might have been one of college’s best players last season, and the season prior as well. But the junior forward just isn’t an NBA talent.

Timme probably knows it, and the rest of the world does too. But that didn’t stop him from deciding to leave Gonzaga for the professional game. Perhaps it’s because he’s felt like he’s accomplished everything he wanted to, and he has nothing left to prove. But that’s something he’ll look back on and regret later in life.

Timme could’ve chosen to return to another stacked Gonzaga team with the chance to make a deep run. The National Title that has eluded him and Gonzaga’s program would be on the line, and maybe that would’ve just been too much pressure to put on one player.

He’ll likely get drafted in the second round, and I think he has a better chance to make it than most. Maybe his shooting ability and hustle will earn him an NBA spot, and we all hope it does. Everyone is rooting for Timme’s success.

Peyton Watson, UCLA

Watson was UCLA’s main bench piece throughout the season, but the young gun never really showed his true potential all year long in a Bruins uniform.

The former elite recruit played just 12 minutes a game in 32 games played and averaged just three points in each of those contests. He certainly showed flashes, with his 6’8” frame and incredible wingspan length, coupled with top-level athleticism.

He has the ability to become an elite defender with his attributes, but we never quite saw it under Mick Cronin. Maybe the UCA system just wasn’t suited for him, and it’s been clear this was his plan from the very start no matter what happened in his freshman year, but it’s the wrong decision.

Watson will be taken in the second round for potential alone, but he’s years away from developing into an NBA role player.

His shooting numbers were terrible, from all around the court, and Watson needs to find time in the Summer League and in the G-League next year to figure out the kind of ballplayer he wants to be.

If he can do that, he can be very good, but if not, he’ll be looking back on this decision and wishing he had played more than 30 games in a college uniform.

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