The deadline was Sunday. Now the real guessing game begins: Who's going to keep their name in the NBA draft and who's going to withdraw by June 15?
More than 50 underclassmen submitted their names, but probably half of that number will return to college for the 2009-10 season. Guys like Texas A&M's Donald Sloan, Villanova's Scottie Reynolds and Notre Dame's Luke Harangody will surely return after they hear what aspects of their games need work.
Others, like UConn's Hasheem Thabeet or Memphis's Tyreke Evans, are gone. They're lottery picks.
But there's a handful of players who could go either way. They're guys who could be lottery picks (Jeff Teague), could last until the later part of the first round (Damion James) or could get taken in the second round (Derrick Brown). Or they could return to school to boost their draft stock and make a deep run in the NCAA tourney. It's fluid, depending on their workouts during the next six weeks.
Sara D. Davis/AP
Here's a closer look at 10 of those guys.
Derrick Brown, Xavier
At 6-8 and 225 pounds, Brown'll get dogged by scouts and draftniks as a "tweener" because he's not a swingman and is a little short for a power forward. But that's an old, tired argument. NBA rosters are filled with guys like Brown – explosive, long-armed athletes who can just play. If he returns, Xavier will be the favorite in the A-10 and a Sweet 16 candidate. He's not a sure-fire first-round pick, which means he should return.
Austin Daye, Gonzaga
The Zags' sophomore forward has the right size (6-10) and skill set (adept ball-handler, good outside shot) of an NBA player, which makes sense. His dad, Darren, played in the league. But – and there's no other way to put it – Daye's soft. He averaged 12.7 ppg and grabbed 6.8 rpg, but never impressed against defenders his size, or seemed willing to play down low. He'd be a first-round pick, but that applies for next season, too. He should go back to school.
Gerald Henderson, Duke
Everything about Henderson screams NBA. He's an explosive 2-guard who's increased his scoring average each season (including a 35-point game vs. Wake) and can be a lock-down defender. Sure, his jumper needs work, but he's ready. But part of me wonders if he'll be back in Durham. Without Henderson, Duke's capable of a Final Four run. But with him, they could win it all. Flip a coin here.
Jrue Holiday, UCLA
Full disclosure: Russell Westbrook is a better pro as a rookie than I ever thought possible. He's a great defender, his athleticism translates perfectly to the pro game and he can play both guard spots. Why does any of this matter? This all applies to Holiday. The Bruins freshmen didn't have great stats (8.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.6 spg), but scouts think he'll bloom in the pros. Anytime you turn in a freshman season like Holiday's and still be a lottery pick, you gotta go pro.
Damion James, Texas
Seems like James is just getting the NBA out of his system for now. He's still adjusting to playing the 3 (his future NBA position) and working on his outside shot, which makes him a borderline first-round prospect. Go back to school and challenge Kansas for the Big 12 title. The Longhorns certainly have the recruits to do it.
Patty Mills, St. Mary's.
Go back to school. Mills is a blur with the ball, but plays too fast and his outside shooting is sub-par and probably just a late first-rounder as a result. An injury deflated his season, and the Gaels'. If he returns, Mills could dethrone Gonzaga in the WCC, be a national player of the year candidate, get to the Big Dance and re-establish himself as a lottery pick.
Patrick Patterson, Kentucky
I know Big Blue Nation wants their workhorse power forward back in Lexington. He could certainly benefit from another season in school and one without any issues (injuries, Billy Gillispie). But he's projected as a possible lottery pick, which probably won't improve after next year when he has to share the front court with DeMarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton. Patterson could stay in school and possibly help the 'Cats back to NCAA tournament glory. But if he's anywhere near a lottery pick, it might be time to bail.
Tyler Smith, Tennessee
Think Josh Howard. That's who I see. Smith's a great college player (two-time All-SEC) who can score, defend and is decent shooter. But he's never going to be a star. He'll be a great complementary player (like Howard is to Dirk Nowitzki). As a result, he's a late first-round pick, who could improve that draft stock slightly with a great senior season. But is it worth another year? He stays in, maybe he plays with LeBron James next season.
DaJuan Summers, Georgetown
This one's strange. Summers told Hoyas coach John Thompson III that "he is closing the book on his college career," but the 6-8 swingman isn't a first-round lock. He led Georgetown in scoring, but that's not something to brag about since the Hoyas went in the tank last season. Summers could be a good pro. He's athletic and has a reliable outside shot, but he isn't ready.
Go back to school. UPDATE: Too late. Summers signed with an agent. Doh!
Jeff Teague, Wake Forest
Tough call here. The Deacs' point guard could be a lottery pick, but he also could pair with teammate Al-Farouq Aminu to form one of the NCAA's best inside-outside combos next season. Teague is ready for the pros, but everything will depend on him. If wants to go for some NCAA hardware, he'll come back to school. Another year should also cement his lottery status, but it's hard to see him back in Winston-Salem.