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Davis an NBA star? Sure, but other underclassmen choices questionable

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In his short stay at Florida, Bradley Beal (23) did everything coach Billy Donovan asked of him. (US Presswire)  
In his short stay at Florida, Bradley Beal (23) did everything coach Billy Donovan asked of him. (US Presswire)  

We now know, barring any late-month surprises, which underclassmen are staying and which are headed to the pros. Those decisions have been made.

But who was wise? And who was not? Which school benefitted? And which program got burned?

These are the questions worth addressing as we start to turn our attention to the NBA Draft and 2012-13 season. So my colleague Jeff Goodman and I try to address most of them, and here's what we came up with.

Player sure to be a star

Goodman: Anthony Davis (Kentucky) -- He's the clear-cut No. 1 pick in June's NBA Draft and should be, barring a set of Greg Oden-like injuries, a franchise player and perennial All-Star. He can impact the game on both ends of the court, and it's just a matter of time before he's a dominant player in the NBA.

Parrish: Anthony Davis (Kentucky) -- I'm with Goodman here because it's hard to imagine anything other than career-altering injuries preventing Davis from becoming an impact player in the league, and quickly. I love everything about him except for that unibrow. And, honestly, that unibrow isn't that bad.

  

Player who will get a GM an extension

Goodman: Bradley Beal (Florida) -- There's minimal risk with Beal. He's a guy with few weaknesses who is only going to improve. Beal didn't even shoot the ball to his capability as a freshman, but he's a dead-eye shooter who did everything else in his brief stint for Billy Donovan. He has a high basketball IQ and a knack for rebounding well for his position. You know what you're getting with Beal, which is more than I can say for some guys in the mix for the second spot.

Parrish: Jeremy Lamb (Connecticut) -- Lamb had a disappointing season relative to what was expected, but he still made pro shots from November to March. Is he a leader? No. But he won't have to be in the NBA. He'll only need to make lots of pro shots. Almost everybody has Lamb projected outside the top 10. My prediction is that he'll still be one of the 10 best professionals from this draft.

  

Player who will get a GM fired

Goodman: Perry Jones III (Baylor) -- I almost went with Andre Drummond, but I opted for PJ3. He will blow NBA guys away in workouts, but he doesn't play with any toughness, intensity or intelligence. He's long and skilled, but I just worry about him in the NBA from a mental and physical toughness standpoint.

Parrish: Andre Drummond (Connecticut) -- You know how some guys just have it? Drummond's the opposite. He just doesn't have it. He's big and athletic, and he'll make a lot of money based on those two things alone. But trust me when I tell you that he'll never be as good as he ought to be, never be worthy of the pick that's used on him.

  

Underclassman who turned pro but should not have

Goodman: Maalik Wayns (Villanova) -- He put up numbers (17.6 ppg), but the junior guard was a major disappointment at Villanova. He isn't a point guard, and he never improved his perimeter shot. He was the leader on a team that went 13-19 and won just five Big East games.

Parrish: J'Covan Brown (Texas) -- Why the rush to get to the D-League? Look, I have no idea whether Brown could've returned to school and truly improved his draft status, but I also have no idea where he plans to play professionally next season. He should be in Austin with the Longhorns. I'm afraid he'll be in Austin with the Toros.

  

Underclassman who didn't turn pro but should have

Goodman: Isaiah Canaan (Murray State) -- This was a tough call considering Canaan was projected anywhere from the late first round to the middle of the second, but how much more can he and the Racers do than they did this past season? Canaan will be on NBA guys' radars from the outset, but it'll be difficult to duplicate his junior year from an individual and team standpoint.

Parrish: Deshaun Thomas (Ohio State) -- It was Thomas, not Jared Sullinger, who was Ohio State's most impressive player during the Final Four run, and my guess is that he would've been a top 20 pick had he entered the NBA Draft. He was hot, and NBA GMs love hot. Now he'll give those same GMs 35 more games to pick him apart.

  

Best pro prospect who returned to school

Goodman: Cody Zeller (Indiana) -- I love the youngest Zeller. He's got size, athleticism and skill. He's tough and will only get tougher as his body develops. I don't see any reason why he won't be in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick a year from now.

Parrish: Cody Zeller (Indiana) -- I'm usually for a projected top-10 pick entering the draft just because there's typically little chance of him improving his stock, but Zeller is the exception. The IU star seems to be risking little because he's only going to get better. He could be the first player selected in June 2013.

  

Most important player who returned to school

Goodman: Trey Burke (Michigan) -- Michigan would have been a fringe Top 25 team without him. With him, the Wolverines are a legitimate Final Four contender. (Also, just think about this: John Beilein's starting point guard could have been Eso Akunne if Burke had left early for the NBA.)

Parrish: Doug McDermott (Creighton) -- McDermott developed into a legitimate National Player of the Year candidate as a sophomore and made the MVC must-watch hoops. His return to Creighton will ensure folks' attention will be in Omaha again.

  

Player who made wisest decision to return to school

Goodman: Quincy Miller (Baylor) -- Baylor's freshman forward put up solid numbers, but he still didn't look quite right while coming off a major knee injury. If he gets more of his explosion back next season, Miller could be a lottery pick.

Parrish: Adonis Thomas (Memphis) -- The 6-foot-6 freshman from Memphis would have been picked somewhere in the 20s or 30s despite his missing much of the season with injury, but his ceiling is so much higher. Thomas gets to try to bounce into the lottery by returning for his sophomore season, and he'll be part of a top-15 team in his hometown too.

  

Program helped most by decisions

Goodman: With both Cody Zeller and Christian Watford returning, the Hoosiers will start the season at or near the top of every preseason poll and have a legitimate chance, at least on paper, to compete for the national title. Zeller is a stud and Watford, while an enigma at times, is an experienced frontline guy who has the ability to dominate games.

Parrish: Yes, it's Indiana -- for all the reasons stated above.

  

Program hurt most by decisions

Goodman: It's obviously Kentucky, which lost its entire starting lineup. Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are locks to go in the lottery; Terrence Jones could go in the top 15; and both Marquis Teague and Doron Lamb also have a shot to go in the first round. But don't feel too sorry for John Calipari as he'll welcome another top-ranked recruiting class to Lexington.

Parrish: Yes, it's Kentucky -- for all the reasons stated above.

  

Player worth a roll of the dice

Goodman: Will Barton (Memphis) -- I know he's rail-thin, but he's long and he's matured over the past season, and he plays hard on both ends of the court. Does he need to play smarter, bulk up and work on several aspects of his game? Absolutely. But Barton has come a long way and is worth a late first-round pick.

Parrish: Tony Wroten (Washington) -- He got lost this season because he played on the West Coast and for a disappointing team, but Wroten is an undeniable talent. He's a guy who could go in the 20s but develop into a top 10 player from this draft class.

  

Player worth pulling for

Goodman: Renardo Sidney (Mississippi State) -- He's conned me over the years, but I'm still hoping and praying people get to see the Big Sid I witnessed back in the day, when he was svelte and looking like Magic Johnson. I know that's multiple suspensions and bleacher altercations ago, but I'm holding out hope.

Parrish: Royce White (Iowa State) -- White went from a heralded prospect to a mess at Minnesota to a troubled transfer to the star of a surprising team from the Big 12, all while battling a legitimate mental illness. Before, he wasn't diagnosed. Now he's medicated. His turnaround has been remarkable, and his story could serve as an inspiration to millions of Americans facing similar issues.


Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for CBSSports.com and frequent contributor to the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts the highest-rated sports talk radio show -- The Gary Parrish Show -- in the history of Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two children and a dog.
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