Ladies and Gentleman, the deadline for players with remaining eligibility to withdraw from the 2019 NBA Draft and return to school has come and gone.
"Good night, and Good Luck." - Edward R. Murrow— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 30, 2019
If your favorite college player decided it’s time to take their talents to the NBA, don’t fret! Take a look at this list of notable returnees who turned down pro-ball opportunities in favor of returning to school where they will be poised to make some noise in the upcoming season.
Anthony Lamb, Vermont
The 2019 America East player of the year has some unfinished business in Burlington. The rising senior will use his final year of eligibility in hopes of leading the New England powerhouse to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in his Catamount career. Vermont has a plethora of talent in addition to the lethal scorer, such as Steff Smith and the remaining two Duncan brothers, Everett and Robin. Head coach John Becker will be ready to run it back again with another first-rate squad.
Killian Tillie, Gonzaga
Brandon Clarke, Josh Perkins, and Rui Hachimura may be gone, but the Kennel still has much to cheer about, especially with the return of Killian Tillie. The Frenchman was limited last season after missing non-conference play while recovering from surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right ankle, and then again going down after partially tearing his plantar fascia in his right foot. When healthy, Tillie has been one of the Zags’ most effective players over the past few years, stretching the floor with his spot-up ability and wearing his heart on his sleeve as one of the Bulldogs’ emotional leaders.
Charles Bassey, Western Kentucky
The King of Kentucky is back for his sophomore season. The double-double machine who goes by the name of Charles Bassey will return to Bowling Green to team up with a new backcourt consisting of Camron Justice (grad transfer) and Kenny Cooper (not a grad transfer, but seeking waiver to play in 2019-20). Bassey’s return is an absolutely huge get for the Hilltoppers, who are now the favorites to take the Conference USA crown.
Bryce Aiken, Harvard
Harvard fans must be feeling pretty good right now. Alum Jeremy Lin is in the NBA Finals, they have the Ivy League’s best recruiting class for 2019, and oh yeah, all-league point guard Bryce Aiken is returning. And he has unfinished business. Aiken had 38 in the Ivy League Tournament Championship, but Harvard failed to make the big dance once again as it fell to rival Yale. Next year, they’ll be the easy favorites.
Keith Braxton, Saint Francis
The Northeastern Conference’s regular season champs will have the conference player of the year back in 2019-20. Keith Braxton will fully become the heart and soul of the Red Flash offense with the loss of Jamaal King to graduation. Braxton most likely would have gone undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft, so returning and trying to lead Saint Francis to its first tournament appearance since 1991 could be enough to get him on the second round of mock drafts in 2020.
I want to thank family, friends, and coaches for their support with the draft process. However, I am withdrawing my name from the draft and returning for my senior year. The NBA is still a goal of mine but right now I have one; to bring a championship to Loretto ⚡️ #SeniorSZN pic.twitter.com/EjGlzp8FwU— Keith Braxton (@Braxton2K) May 28, 2019
Kellan Grady, Davidson
The Atlantic 10 is going to be very, very fun next season, and the Wildcats will be in the mix with their first-team all-conference guard. The sharpshooter was the third-leading scorer in the A-10 last season with 17.3 points per game, and despite some midseason struggles from behind the arc, seemed to find his stroke late with five three-pointers in their loss to Lipscomb in the NIT. Grady was, and will once again be, a focal point for Davidson as it looks to return to the NCAA Tournament.
Obi Toppin, Dayton
Again, the Atlantic 10 is going to be very, very fun next season. The Flyers will once again take the floor with one of the nation’s most efficient finishers at forward. Toppin will be one of the biggest names among mid-major, and possibly all Division I big men in 2019-20, and could be the difference in a tight Atlantic 10 conference.
Neemias Queta, Utah State
Queta was arguably the Mountain West Conference’s best interior defender in 2018-19. He hosted multiple block parties, had five or more blocks on four separate occasions, and finished with an average of 2.4 blocks per game. While Queta rejected more shots than the Utah State admissions office rejected applicants this past year (hey-oh!), he also averaged a near double-double on an incredibly talented Aggie team that cracked the Top 25 in both polls for the first time since 2010-11. Queta will be a vital piece on a Utah State team that is poised to be the next Mountain West powerhouse.
Jalen Pickett, Siena
Jalen Pickett is yet another big-time freshman electing to stay in school. The Saints will look to make some noise with the MAAC Rookie of the Year and first-team guard back in action. While Iona remains the favorite in the conference, Pickett is a dangerous scorer who flashed his talent with a 46-point game against Quinnipiac and makes Siena a viable contender for the conference’s tournament bid.
Tulio Da Silva, Missouri State
Tulio Da Silva will join a talented group of transfers in Lamont West, Anthony Masinton-Bonner, and Josh Hall this upcoming season. A former transfer himself, Da Silva was the Missouri Valley Conference newcomer of the year in 2019 and made his impact felt immediately as a scorer and rebounder for the Bears. Da Silva will be the headliner of a talented Missouri State team that will look to punch their first ticket to the big dance since 1999.