After much anticipation and stress for college basketball fans, the deadline for college basketball stars to declare for the 2017 NBA Draft came and passed Sunday. Many of these players will surely decide to return to school after receiving feedback from NBA personnel. Some of college basketball’s best, though, decided to avoid the draft process altogether. They can begin to work on dominating next season without the distractions of impressing NBA scouts. These are the best players that passed up on participating in the NBA combine.
Grayson Allen isn’t just the best in college basketball to not participate in the combine; he’s the most polarizing. Allen has made headlines for his antics just as much as for his spectacular play. The Duke guard was suspended a game for tripping an Elon opponent in December, his third such incident. Although the rising senior took a step backward in his junior season while conceding the spotlight to NBA-bound teammate Luke Kennard, Allen has the scoring prowess to dominate the college basketball scene in 2017-18. Allen averaged 14.5 ppg while shooting a scorching 36.5% from the three-point line in 2016-17. With Sean Obi transferring to Maryland, Allen will be the lone senior for the Blue Devils next season. If he can harness his scoring ability while avoiding trouble, Allen will be among the best in the country.
As an uber-talented freshman who possesses elite athleticism and a big body, Miles Bridges would have been selected in the first round of the draft if he had declared. Instead, the Michigan State freshman decided to avoid the NBA Draft process altogether. With his return, the Spartans are among the early favorites to win the national title. Bridges will lead a team that loses only one starter, Eron Harris, and adds fifth-year senior Gavin Schilling and freshmen Jaren Jackson and Xavier Tillman to a team that reached the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. Bridges will be the best player on one of the best teams in the country next season.
On the note of Michigan State, Bonzie Colson is entering Adreian Payne-levels of college basketball immortality. The rising senior seems like he has been around forever because of his consistently-maintained excellence over his past three seasons at Notre Dame. Colson was named All-ACC this past season while averaging 17.8 ppg and 10.1 rpg. The double-double machine’s dominance is even more impressive when considering his height and position. As a 6-foot-5 power forward, Colson is always shorter than the opponent he is matched up with. Colson’s undersized frame is combatted by his tenacious play and high energy. Colson will be one of the best in college basketball while spending his final year of college eligibility.