A pair of early-entry prospects who were ranked within the top 60 on ESPN’s big board have pulled out of the draft in advance of Monday’s withdrawal deadline.
Baylor guard Jared Butler was one of those two players, announcing in a Twitter video on Monday morning that he has decided to return to the Bears for his junior year. Butler explained his decision in a conversation with ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.
“After going through this process, making an important decision for the rest of my life, I truly felt like I couldn’t go wrong with either decision,” Butler said. “It came down to making the most out of my development as a player and as an adult. In the end I felt like coming back to school would set me up in both aspects in a way that I couldn’t deny. Even though the opportunity to reach my dream of playing in the NBA was readily at hand, I think next year it will still be there, possibly even with greater opportunities.”
Butler emerged as Baylor’s leading scorer in 2019/20 as a sophomore, averaging 16.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.1 APG, and 1.6 SPG in 30 games (30.4 MPG). He also showed improvement on his outside shot, making 38.1% of 6.7 three-point attempts per contest. He came in at No. 46 on Givony’s top-100 list at ESPN.com, making him a strong candidate to be drafted had he decided to go pro.
Meanwhile, Michigan State swingman Aaron Henry has also decided to withdraw from the draft after testing the waters, as Givony writes in a separate story. Henry had been the No. 55 prospect on ESPN’s big board.
Henry’s numbers as a sophomore in 2019/20 were somewhat modest — 10.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 2.9 APG in 30 games (29.1 MPG). However, Givony describes him as a “long, athletic wing with strong two-way potential” and points out that he’s in position to take on a larger role for a Spartans team that won’t have Cassius Winston back next season.
“Cassius leaves big shoes to fill. He was asked to do everything for Michigan State,” Henry told ESPN. “I’m hoping to step into a bigger role with the ball in my hands. Things will definitely look different. Everyone is going to need to step up and be a piece to the puzzle. NBA teams want to see me in a bigger role. They want to see me be the man on a team. I’m not afraid of that. Let’s get to it.”
Here are a few more early entrants who tested the waters and have now pulled out of the draft ahead of Monday’s withdrawal deadline:
- Darius Days, F, LSU (Twitter link via Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports)
- Jay Huff, F, Virginia (link via Jeff Borzello of ESPN)
- Makur Maker, C, Hillcrest Academy (Twitter link via Rothstein)
- Note: Maker will attend Howard University.
- Sandro Mamukelashvili, F, Seton Hall (Twitter link via Rothstein)
- Remy Martin, G, Arizona State (video link via school)
- Obadiah Noel, G, UMass-Lowell (Twitter link via Jeff Goodman of Stadium)