The 2016-2017 NCAA Basketball season is already shaping up to be a great one. Over the past few weeks, there has been several early entries into the draft. A handful of underclassman have since removed their names and are electing to stay for another year. Here are the players that need to be highlighted as the best to opt for return so far:
Meeks did not have a relatively decent statistical year. He averaged just under ten points per game along with almost six rebounds. He was a major part of the team, though, playing his role well enough to help the Tar Heels to the NCAA Championship. His size and strength give him the ability to impose his will on defending players. He should have an increased scoring and rebounding role with a few graduates and the decision of Justin Jackson to come. Losing his main distributor to graduation, Marcus Paige, will be a major blow. Brice Johnson leaving the team due to graduation will also affect Meeks’ touches. Meeks will have an expanded role on the team next year and will be a force to be reckoned with in the ACC. The only question is who will be getting him the ball inside.
The point guard could be a part of one of the best teams in Leonard Hamilton’s tenure with the Florida State Seminoles. He averaged 11.8 points per game as well as 4.4 assists. He will be the ring leader for a team that already returns Dwayne Bacon. His talented distributing abilities will help young recruits Jonathan Isaacs and Trent Forrest to develop quickly. There will be no need for them to have the pressure of the team’s expectations on them which will lead to the flourishment of their abilities and true growth as players. The experience that Rathan-Mayes brings to this relatively young, but talented team will be something to look forward to for ‘Noles fans in the upcoming season.
It is essentially impossible to not think about the shot in the National Championship when you hear Kris Jenkins. Now we get to see him come back for one more run with Nova. The junior averaged 13.6 points per game with 3.9 rebounds as well. The team does lose Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu to graduation, but Josh Hart’s decision is still in question. Having Jenkins back to lead Nova again is good, but perhaps this decision could manipulate Josh Hart into coming back for the Wildcats, which would be great. With Phil Booth and Jalen Brunson sticking around this is poised to be a dangerous team to repeat as National Champions.
The California five-star recruit was the mocked as one of the highest possible draft picks to return to school for another year. The six foot ten forward indicated to ESPN that he flip flopped on the decision quite a few times. The sophomore-to-be had stellar averages (12.5 PPG, 8.6 RPG) and despite the loss of Ty Wallace and Jaylen Brown, has decided that the best thing for him to do is to get better. He sees his best chance for development at the college level. He will be a top pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, barring a horrendous injury. More importantly in the present, he will be a leading candidate for AP Player of the Year at the start of the season and can guide the Golden Bears back to the NCAA tournament. Perhaps he would like to avenge the embarrassing loss to Hawaii in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament.