The deadline for college players to withdraw from the NBA Draft has come and gone, and with it has come good news for programs around the country. As rosters for 2016-17 begin to solidify, several mid-majors got substantial boosts over the last couple days from star players deciding to spend an extra year in school.
Elijah Brown, New Mexico
The Lobos scored big when the Butler transfer Brown decided to enroll in Albuquerque. After sitting out the 2014-15 season, Brown led New Mexico in scoring with 21.7 points per game, while shooting 85 percent from the line and just under 40 percent from three. After Brown was not invited to the NBA Draft combine, it seemed likely he would return, and he confirmed our beliefs late last week when he presented a bold goal for the upcoming season.
It's time to focus on winning a national championship for the Q...Thankful for the process but it's time to get to work!!! #LOBONATION— elijah brown (@_eb4_) May 21, 2016
Makai Mason, Yale
Mason enjoyed a breakout sophomore season for Yale as he led the Bulldogs to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since John F. Kennedy was president. The all-Ivy first-teamer stepped onto the national stage with a 31-point, six-rebound game against Baylor in a first-round upset win last March — a game in which he shot 9-18 from the field and 11-11 from the line. Now that Yale is moving forward without two-time reigning Conference Player of the Year Justin Sears, Mason figures to be vital to Yale’s chances at another tournament berth.
Dallas Moore, North Florida
Through his first three years at North Florida, Moore has seen increases in his points, rebounds and assists per game each season, so it’s not a surprise that as a junior he also played a career best 35.6 minutes per game. The 6’1 guard epitomized consistency last year, scoring in double figures in every game but one, while flirting with a triple-double several times. The Ospreys have now reached the postseason in each of the past two years, their first two winning seasons since jumping to Division I in 2005-06. Moore will be relied on even more heavily next year as North Florida looks to stay atop the Atlantic Sun standings despite losing three double-digit scorers from 2015-16 to graduation.
Alec Peters, Valparaiso
Peters is coming back to college, but it's not clear exactly where that will be in 2016-17. The forward is eligible for a graduate transfer, meaning the can leave for another school -- possibly a high major with a spot still open -- and play immediately. Peters averaged double figures in scoring all three seasons at Valparaiso and scored 20.8 per game in the NIT last season as he led the Crusaders to the title game. If he returns to Valpo, the Crusaders would have a shot at returning to the NCAA Tournament after some feel they were snubbed a year ago.
Ethan Telfair, Idaho State
Sebastian Telfair’s younger brother is headed back to school and appears to have a big senior season ahead of him. The community college transfer will look to build on a debut season at Idaho State in which he averaged better than 20 points and five assists per game. That included a streak of four straight games as the Big Sky season wound down of 30-point efforts. Telfair’s performance landed him on the Big Sky all-conference first team
Also withdrawing in the last few days:
Charles Cooke, Dayton
Bakari Copeland, Maryland-Eastern Shore
Cameron Oliver, Nevada
Malik Pope, San Diego State
Zeek Woodley, Northwestern State