Wednesday is the deadline for early entrants who have declared for the NBA draft without hiring agents to withdraw if they want to keep their college eligibility.
A number of prospects have already announced their returns to college.
The following is a list of players who might enhance their professional futures with a breakout 2017-18 season and face the same predicament on the withdrawal deadline next year. If some of the names sound crazy, call Creighton's Justin Patton, a projected first-round pick who redshirted his freshman season before having a big year in 2016-17.
Landry Shamet (11.4 PPG, 80 percent from the free throw line, 44 percent from the 30-point line)
Wichita State's 6-foot-4 point guard scored 20 points (5-for-7 inside the arc) in an NCAA tournament game against a Kentucky backcourt that featured two potential top-10 picks in Malik Monk and De'Aaron Fox. Gregg Marshall's history of sending unheralded talents to the NBA (Cleanthony Early, Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker) suggests that Shamet is a point guard worth watching in 2017-18. In the American Athletic Conference, he'll face talented guards and enjoy multiple opportunities to demonstrate his next-level talent. "He's still young and getting better," Marshall told ESPN.com.
Derryck Thornton (7.1 PPG, 2.6 APG in 2015-16 at Duke)
The 6-foot-1 point guard left Findlay Prep (Las Vegas) a year early to join Duke in 2015-16 and, theoretically, fill the vacancy created when Tyus Jones turned pro after leading the Blue Devils to a national title following the 2014-15 season. Thornton never fit in Mike Krzyzewski's system, however, so he transferred to USC and back to his hometown of Los Angeles. Surrounded by a collection of NBA-level athletes this season, Thornton could become the player so many expected him to be, including ESPN.com, which ranked him 17th in the 2015 class. If that happens, a more physically and mentally mature Thornton might attract the attention of NBA scouts.
Wenyen Gabriel (4.6 PPG, 4.8 RPG)
As the top returning scorer for Kentucky, Gabriel should compete for a more significant role on a roster that will include the nation's top-ranked recruiting class, per ESPN.com. He has to add some muscle to his frame, and his 32 percent clip from beyond the arc and his 47 percent clip inside the 3-point line must improve. He's still a Kentucky forward with a high ceiling, though, and that helps. His work ethic this offseason, however, will impact his professional ambitions after next season.
Marques Bolden (1.5 PPG)
Last summer, Kentucky and Duke sought the services of Bolden, a five-star product of Desoto, Texas. Duke won the battle, but Bolden dealt with injuries early in the season and never found a place in Duke's rotation. He might start in the paint next to Wendell Carter in 2017-18, and the pair might develop into the ACC's top young frontcourt if Bolden matches last year's hype. The NBA is always looking for serviceable, 6-foot-11 bigs.
Killian Tillie (4.2 PPG, 11-for-23 from the 3-point line)
Last year, Domantas Sabonis earned a first-round deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder after leaving Gonzaga following his sophomore season. Zach Collins is a projected lottery pick in this summer's NBA draft. Przemek Karnowski will sign a professional deal somewhere too. Mark Few's luck with big men could continue with Tillie. His brother, Kim Tillie, plays in the Euroleague. His father and brother were both professional volleyball players. With more than the 12.3 minutes per game he logged last season in Few's rotation, Tillie could make a strong case as the next Gonzaga big man to turn pro and leave Spokane.
V.J. King (5.5 PPG)
Louisville's 6-foot-7 wing and former top-30 recruit will log more minutes this season with Donovan Mitchell moving onto the NBA. Right now, the buzz about Louisville centers on Deng Adel's decision to withdraw from the NBA draft, but King's potential is also a pivotal offseason storyline for the Cardinals. He connected on 16 of his 38 3-point attempts last season and made 82 percent of his free throws. If those numbers continue with expanded minutes (13.5 MPG last year) in 2017-18, King could be the next Louisville star to turn pro.