Two years ago, the NCAA changed the landscape of declaring for the NBA draft, in a good way.
Starting in 2016, players were allowed to declare for the draft without an agent, go through workouts with NBA scouts, receive feedback, and retain their collegiate eligibility the next season.
Last season, three Hoosiers did not sign with an agent and had the option to return. In the end, Robert Johnson was the only Hoosier to fully utilize this new system. Johnson declared without an agent, received feedback from NBA scouts, and returned for his senior season at IU.
Johnson isn’t the only player to utilize this new rule change last season. There’s a long list, including some of the best players in the country, that went through this process last offseason.
That’s why Juwan Morgan declaring for the NBA Draft makes sense.
Why This Works: Big Ten
Players across the country have declared for the draft without agents, and many greatly benefited from the experience.
Some of the Big Ten’s best players tested the waters of the draft before returning and having incredible years.
*Vince Edwards: 2016-17 – 12.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG
2017-18 – 14.6 PPG, 7.4 RPG
*Moritz Wagner: 2016-17 – 12.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG
2017-18 – 14.3 PPG, 6.9 RPG
Corey Sanders: 2016-17 – 12.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG
2017-18 – 15.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG
*Isaac Haas: 2016-17 – 12.6 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 58% FG
2017-18 – 14.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 62% FG
Three of these players were named to All-Big Ten teams after their 2017-18 efforts. Their statistical improvements speak for themselves.
Why This Works: Nationally
It wasn’t just Big Ten players that improved after testing the waters of the draft. This has become a popular route in only two years of being allowed.
Several of the top players across the country decided to declare and then come back and improve their play.
*Jevon Carter (WVU): 2016-17 – 13.5 PPG, 5.7 APG, 2.5 SPG
2017-18 – 17.3 PPG, 6.6 APG, 3.0 SPG
*Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Kansas) 2016-17 – 9.8 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.3 APG, 40% 3PT
2017-18 – 14.7 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.7 APG, 45% 3PT
*Aaron Holiday (UCLA): 2016-17 – 12.3 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 4.4 APG
2017-18 – 20.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 5.8 APG
Theo Pinson (UNC): 2016-17 – 6.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 3.7 APG, 38% FG
2017-18 – 10.3 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 5.1 APG, 47% FG
Deng Adel (Louisville): 2016-17 – 12.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.1 APG
2017-18 – 14.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.8 APG
*Omer Yurtseven (NC State): 2016-17 – 5.9 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 0.7 BPG, 46% FG
2017-18 – 13.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 1.8 BPG, 57% FG
* -named to an all-conference team
This is still a fairly new process, only in year three. However, plenty of athletes have used it to their advantage and had great seasons the year after testing the draft. This list above includes four players named to their all-conference teams, including two first team all-conference players.
Why This Works: Juwan Morgan
No, I cannot promise that Morgan would have the statistical increases all of the players above had this season, but it is very possible.
Robert Johnson returned from testing the draft process by increasing his PPG, but most of his other statistics remained the same. However, if you watched his progressions this season, you understand sometimes the results don’t appear on the stat sheet.
People may say that these increases in stats come because of another year of experience, and this is true. However, getting graded and receiving advice by NBA scouts is certainly a factor in all of these players’ improvements.
There have been plenty of players that go without an agent, get feedback and head to the NBA instead of coming back to college. Take IU last season. Both Thomas Bryant and James Blackman Jr. went to the draft without agents but did not end up coming back to IU.
Is this a possibility for Morgan? Of course.
No matter what decision Morgan makes, it will be the best decision for himself. If he declares and stays in the draft, that means he heard what he wanted to hear from NBA scouts and could be drafted in the 2018 draft. If he comes back, he can use the feedback he got from scouts to make himself the best collegiate player he can next season.
It’s important to understand that Morgan declaring doesn’t mean he’s gone. He can still come back. And if he does, the Big Ten and college basketball as a whole better watch out.