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10 NBA draft decisions that will have huge impacts on college basketball in 2017-18

With less than a week before the deadline for underclassmen to pull their names out of the NBA draft, there are still a handful of college stars with huge choices to make.

Gonzaga v North Carolina Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The order of selection for the NBA draft’s lottery is set, which means the next marquee date on the draft calendar is May 24. That’s the final day for college underclassmen to pull their name out of the draft and make it known that they’ll be returning to their respective school for at least one more year.

Less than a week from that deadline, there are still a number of high-profile college players who have yet to make a decision about their future one way or the other. At some point between then and now, these 10 are going to have to make a choice that will have huge ramifications for their basketball careers. All these choices will also have a large impact on the 2017-18 college basketball season.

Caleb Swanigan, Purdue

If Swanigan surprises everyone and opts to spend one more season at Purdue, then there is no doubt who college basketball’s preseason player of the year is going to be. The big man was a consensus first-team All-American and the Big 10 Player of the Year as a sophomore in 2016-17. His 28 double-doubles set a new Big 10 record and were the 13th-most ever by a college basketball player in a single season.

Rawle Alkins, Arizona

Alkins is going back to school.

Alkins averaged 10.9 points per game as a freshman at Arizona, but could be a star as a sophomore on a Wildcat team that might start the 2017-18 season ranked No. 1. Sean Miller already got huge news when Allonzo Trier announced that his college career wasn’t over, and when he signed DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 big man in the class of 2017. Adding Alkins to that fold would result in sky-high expectations for a fan base that is hungrier than any other for a trip to the Final Four.

Tony Bradley, North Carolina

Bradley is staying in the draft.

Bradley played a limited role as a freshman on North Carolina’s national championship team, averaging 7.1 and 5.1 rebounds while playing a little over 14 minutes per game. If the highly skilled, 6’10 forward returns to Chapel Hill, however, he would be the dominant post presence on a Tar Heel team fully capable of making a third straight run to the final Monday of the season.

D.J. Wilson, Michigan

Wilson is going back to school.

Wilson was a revelation during Michigan’s unexpected runs to the Big 10 tournament title and the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16. He averaged 15.6 points per game in those seven contests, failing to reach double figures only once. Both Wilson and front-court mate Moe Wagner have stated that they won’t leave Ann Arbor unless they feel like it’s a guarantee that they’ll be selected in the first round of the draft. If both return, John Beilein should once again have a squad capable of competing with just about anyone in the league.

Hamidou Diallo, Kentucky

There’s little doubt that Diallo’s situation is the most intriguing of any player on this list. The 6’5 guard from Queens put up ridiculous numbers at the NBA draft combine, but nobody has seen him play in an actual game in months. Diallo enrolled at Kentucky for the second semester with the understanding that he wouldn’t play for the Wildcats in games, but would be able to practice and be that much further ahead of the curve for next season. Instead, it seems like a very real possibility that he’ll be known forever as the first “none and done.”

Andrew Jones, Texas

Jones is going back to school.

As a freshman, Jones averaged 11.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game for the highly disappointing Texas Longhorns. Despite his team’s struggles, Jones is an explosive athlete who could help Shaka Smart immensely next season, but who also might be worth the risk for an NBA team drafting near the bottom of the first round.

Svi Mykhailiuk, Kansas

The sharp-shooting 6’7 guard who averaged just under 10 points per game last season has already stated publicly that he plans on staying in the draft if he “knows I’m going to get picked.” If that assurance doesn’t come, Mykhailiuk will return for his senior season with a Kansas team that is once again loaded with talent in the back court.

Deng Adel, Louisville

Adel is going back to school.

Louisville seemed to have a legitimate claim to the preseason No. 1 spot for next season before first-team All-ACC performer Donovan Mitchell announced that he was staying in the draft. If fellow rising junior Deng Adel (12.1 ppg) chooses to do the same, then the Cardinals will go from a fringe top-10 team to a fringe top-20 squad. The more likely scenario seems to be that Adel returns to school and becomes the face of a Cardinal team that once again finishes near the top of the ACC.

Markis McDuffie, Wichita State

McDuffie is going back to school.

If McDuffie returns as most expect him to, then Wichita State could be a preseason top-10 team, and will almost certainly be the preseason favorites in their first year as a member of the AAC. If the versatile first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference performer shocks everyone and bolts, then expectations change for Gregg Marshall and company.

Aaron Holiday/Thomas Welsh, UCLA

Both players are returning to school.

UCLA is already losing Lonzo Ball, Ike Anigbogu, and T.J. Leaf, which means keeping at least one of these two is paramount in order to maintain any sort of continuity from last season’s success. Another loaded recruiting class is coming to Westwood, sure, but without one of these proven commodities, it’s hard to see them keeping pace with Arizona in the Pac-12.