2022 NBA Draft: Seven players made tough decisions to stay or go before the NCAA withdrawal deadline

After weeks of prep for the 2022 NBA Draft — including private practice, the G League Elite camp and the NBA Draft Combine — the lower tier men of the draft met Wednesday with the deadline to withdraw from the NCAA, and boy oh boy did it produce some belated drama.

There was a lot of action throughout the day as KU brought out Jalen Wilson and Kevin McCullar Jr. From the enlistment, Michigan lost Moussa Diabatti and Caleb Hustan, and Gonzaga returned to Julian Strother. But the event continued into the late evening as Duke’s Trevor Kells and Gonzaga’s Drew Timmy made their decisions head on.

Here’s a summary of the seven decisions everyone was watching — and the impact of their choices.

Diabatti’s decision: Remaining in the NBA Draft | Hustan’s decision: Remaining in the NBA Draft

Michigan convinced big man Hunter Dickinson to return for 2022-23 and he had the momentum to potentially have a star-studded return team with Caleb Hustan and Moussa Diabate on the fence and test the drag waters, but both Hustan and Diabatti in the final hours remain in the draft.

There has been buzz for weeks that Houstan might be tilting in that direction after turning down an invitation to the NBA Draft Combine, with rumors that he might have a promise late in the first round. But Diabate was a real 50/50 call. He had a solid month before his withdrawal deadline which may have helped make the decision easier for him. With that, huge losses for Michigan.

resolution: Back to school

Murray was one of two co-invitees who declined to attend—along with the aforementioned Hustan—with speculation arising from this swarming decision that he might return to Iowa.

That speculation ended on Wednesday as he announced his plans to return to Iowa State for a junior season.

“The past two months have been a tremendous learning process for me,” he said. “By going through the NBA draft process, I think it will help me in the long run and next season in Iowa.”

Murray had a solid second season with the Hawkeyes this past season as he went from junior to rotational player with the physical tools and game to eventually be considered a number one player. But going back to school always seemed like his best and most obvious decision. Another season in college could allow him to prove his value to the NBA teams in an expanded role, which he will likely get with the departure of his brother Keegan for a potential spot in the lottery this year.

Strather’s decision: back to school | Timah’s decision: Back to school

Gonzaga loses to Chet Holmgren but scores two big retention wins on Wednesday when goalkeeper Julian Strother and big man Drew Timm announced on social media their plans to return to Spokane next season. Strother was the player between him and teammate Drew Timmy who had the biggest decision to make given his odds as a potential first-round pick. After averaging nearly 12 points and shooting 36.5% from a 3-point range, he called him a potential role player in the NBA. His return to school will likely be the first expected principal for 2023.

Timmy’s decision was less clear. Although he did not submit a project as a senior manager, he more or less proved all he could at the college level, which would have made the decision to turn professional into a rational one. Upon his return, he may be the most popular name in college hoops, which holds a lot of oomph as players benefit from bargains for nothing.

resolution: Remaining in the NBA Draft

Keels on Wednesday opted to stay in the NBA draft rather than go back to college and likely become Duke’s first-choice team in the top 10 in 2022-23. Coming from a strong new season, he was reportedly torn about his decision until the final hours, but a likely first-round pick – even with the allure of being a marketable name on the most marketable team in college hoops – was clearly very hard to miss. He could go anywhere in this draft between 20-40 and while I think most people suspected an extra year in college would have done him well, he’d have a lot of interest as a strong, well-built winger with solid defensive pieces and scoring ability.

resolution: Remaining in the NBA Draft

The scope of the draw in Dalen Terry in Arizona is more difficult than any possibility in this draft. It could be in the top 20 picks, it could come out in the top 40 and it doesn’t surprise me either. Either way, he announced on Tuesday that he would give up his remaining college eligibility and stay on the draft.

Terry was great in his role with the Wildcats last season as a rebounding role player, scoring 3 throws and carrying a small burden as a playmaker. But Arizona loaded last season. The production we saw was generally limited, even if he had started 37 times in 37 games. (This is what can happen when you play alongside two potential first-round players.) However, teams will fall for themselves hoping to hit a young winger who can shoot the ball and still have a lot of untapped potential.