Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Tyus Battle, the Syracuse sophomore wing and former New Jersey prep star, will withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to Syracuse.
“I have decided to go back to Syracuse University to complete my junior year,” said Battle on Wednesday night. “Although I may have been picked by the NBA team of my dreams, I feel it is in my best interest at this time to focus on improving some fine points in my game while continuing to work toward achieving my degree.
“My plan is to re-enter the draft next year. Going back to Syracuse is an easy decision on many levels. That is where I want to be for now. I had incredible workouts with some amazing NBA organizations. However, the NBA (God-willing) will be in a future chapter for me.
“This year it’s all about the ‘Cuse! I’d like to send a shout out to all the ‘Cuse fans who supported me throughout this process as well as my family, coaches, teammates and Drew Hanlen.”
Brian Bowen’s college career is over before it ever began.
Now his career path is filled with uncertainty.
After learning that he would have to sit out a minimum of another college season per an NCAA decision, Bowen on Wednesday announced he will remain in the NBA Draft even though he’s not projected to be drafted.
“I am completely devastated by the NCAA’s ruling,” Bowen said. “All I ever wanted to do was continue my education and play college basketball, however, after learning of the ruling, and discussing it with my family and attorney, I’ve decided to pursue my professional career. I’m grateful to the University of South Carolina and Frank Martin or believing in me and giving me the opportunity to be a Gamecock.”
“I appreciate the hard work of our staff who worked on behalf of Brian on his eligibility status,” South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner said. “Brian is a hard-working, bright and determined young man who saw himself as a teammate, even though he couldn’t play on game day. We look forward to supporting him in the next steps of his career.”
Kentucky will lose two front court players, but will keep one.
That was the fallout after freshman PJ Washington decided to return to Kentucky for his sophomore season, while freshman Jarred Vanderbilt and sophomore Wenyen Gabriel opted to remain in the NBA Draft.
Gabriel and Vanderbilt will join teammates Hamidou Diallo, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kevin Knox in the June 21 draft, which will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Vanderbilt news was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Per the latest ESPN mock draft, Gilgeous-Alexander is projected to go No. 12 to the Clippers, Knox No. 15 to the Wizards and Diallo No. 35 to the Magic.
“I want to thank everyone for their support during this process and allowing me to take my time for one of the most important decisions of my life,” Washington said. “The plan all along was to get all the information that was out there to make the best decision for me and my family. I’ve always had a list of goals that I want to accomplish in my life, and one of the most important ones is making it to the NBA. That hasn’t changed at all.
Michigan guard Charles Matthews will return for his junior season after having tested the NBA Draft waters this spring, the school announced Wednesday in a press release.
“I am thankful for the assistance Coach [John] Beilein and the staff has given me in order to gain as much information as possible before making this decision. They showed great confidence and patience with me while I sorted this all out,” said Matthews in the release. “After much prayer and discussions with my family and the staff, I am excited to be returning to Michigan next year. I learned a lot throughout this process, but my main focus will now be completing my education at Michigan and leading my teammates to more success next season.”
After sitting out the 2016-17 season following his transfer from Kentucky, Matthews averaged 13 points and 5.5 rebounds in 41 games last season. He was instrumental in Michigan’s 2018 postseason run.
The 6-foot-5 Waterbury, Conn., native is looking to transfer to a school closer to his ailing mother who suffered a massive concussion, his father told ZAGSBLOG on Tuesday. He will apply for a hardship waiver to be immediately eligible for the 2018-19 season at his new school.