5 Players Who Were Right To Pull Out of the NBA Draft

min read
Iowa forward Kris Murray looks to pass during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Michigan State, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, in Iowa City, Iowa. Iowa won 86-60.
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Chase Kiddy @chaseakiddy Jun 28, 2022, 12:59 PM

In 2016, the NCAA made immense improvements to its regulation of the NBA Draft process. College basketball’s governing body changed the rules to allow amateur players to put their names forward into the draft process and participate in the NBA combine. 

After that, prospects have 10 days to consider the professional evaluations and either move forward with the draft or return to college, retaining their eligibility. The greater flexibility for players was a huge boon for college basketball betting markets and the sport itself.

Every year, there is a flood of players who wisely use the draft evaluation process to their advantage. They participate, receive an evaluation, weigh the potential benefits of late draft selection and make the best decision.

With the NBA draft now complete and a fresh season of college basketball odds somewhere on the horizon, make sure you remember the names of these five players. They went through the draft process this year, but for one reason or another, they will be in college basketball for the 2022-23 season.

Kris Murray, Iowa

Sports fans who watched zero college basketball last year might know little about Kris Murray. Of course, that goes double for anyone who’s spent the last month locked into NBA Draft odds.

Kris Murray is the twin brother of Keegan Murray, who was just drafted fourth overall by Sacramento.

At Iowa last season, Keegan was the Hawkeyes’ featured player, averaging 32 minutes per game, along with 24 points and nine rebounds.

On the other hand, Kris averaged about 10 points per game in far less time.

Most Iowa fans and reporters expect Kris to replace his brother as the primary star of the show in Iowa City next year, which means his draft status should be much improved in 2023.

Drew Timme, Gonzaga

Timme profiles a lot like Christian Laettner in the 1990s – a great college forward and college basketball villain at a great program — but probably won’t have a particularly memorable professional career.

The fact that Timme will be a senior in 2023 and still hasn’t attracted serious NBA attention is informative about his prospects at the next level.

Timme’s return to Spokane makes all the sense in the world, given that Gonzaga should once again be a real national contender next spring. BetMGM prices the Bulldogs at +1000, making them co-favorites with Houston and Kentucky.

Max Abmas, Oral Roberts

Abmas is one of the surest scoring threats in all of college basketball. He averaged 22.8 points per game in 2021-22, which was the fifth-best scoring mark in Division 1. 

Remember when Oral Roberts reached the Sweet 16 in 2021? Abmas scored 80 points across those three NCAA Tournament games.

The problem is that he’s undersized for his position, which is much more acceptable in college than at the pro level. So teams would have to be willing to overlook his small stature and forgettable defense to spend draft capital on him. 

For Abmas, it’s better to continue a great college career next year than risk going undrafted.

Aaron Estrada, Hofstra

Estrada is a bit of an enigma. He was a scoring revelation on Long Island last year, leading the CAA with 18.5 per game and eventually winning conference player of the year.

Before that, though, there’s not much to go on. Estrada was an unheralded Newark, New Jersey recruit who originally committed to everyone’s new favorite tri-state low-major, Saint Peter’s. 

Estrada scored eight points a game during his freshman year, which was enough to get noticed by Oregon. Then, after a forgettable year in Eugene, he transferred back closer to home at Hofstra, where things finally took off.

Estrada is rangy and a gifted scorer, but he might need more time proving his talent before NBA teams are willing to buy him. 

Kyle Lofton (St. Bonaventure’s & Florida)

I’m not even sure Lofton wanted to enter the draft. I think he might have just been unhappy.

Lofton put his name into the draft process, only to announce mid-process that he was in the portal and transferring to Florida. The official draft withdrawal announcement came later.

It is certainly difficult to be drafted as one of the best young point guards in the world when you only rank as the No. 5 point guard in the NCAA Transfer Portal.

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About the Author

Chase Kiddy

Read More @chaseakiddy

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.