Champion UConn gets Newton back at deadline for college players to exit NBA draft
Connecticut’s reign as NCAA champion will begin with multiple starters having left for the NBA draft and one returning after flirting with doing the same.
Guard Tristen Newton announced that he is withdrawing his name from the draft Wednesday, the NCAA’s deadline for players who declared as early entrants to the draft to withdraw and retain their college eligibility.
The list of players facing decisions include a pair of bigs who were voted Associated Press men’s college basketball players of the year in Purdue’s Zach Edey and Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe. The 7-foot-4 Edey was last season’s winner after guiding the Boilermakers to a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs, while Tshiebwe was the 2022 winner as a rebounding and double-double force.
A number of other college players have similar decisions, including Missouri’s Kobe Brown, Syracuse’s Judah Mintz, Arkansas’ Jordan Walsh and Illinois’ Terrence Shannon Jr.
For the current champions, Newton (10.1 points, 4.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds) was one of four Huskies to enter the draft after their run to UConn’s fifth national championship in early April. He scored a game-high 19 points to go with 10 rebounds in the victory over San Diego State in the title game.
The others were Final Four Most Outstanding Player Adama Sanogo, wing Jordan Hawkins and versatile guard Andre Jackson Jr. Sanogo (17.8 points) and Hawkins (16.3) have made it clear they have closed the door on their college careers. Jackson (6.1 points, 4.6 assists, 5.8 rebounds) has yet to publicly reveal a decision.
The Huskies have 247sports’ No. 3-ranked recruiting class for next year to restock the roster, led by McDonald’s All-American point guard Stephon Castle.
The NBA’s withdrawal deadline is June 12, but is moot when it comes to college players returning to school due to the NCAA’s earlier timeline to retain playing eligibility.
STAYING IN SCHOOL
ADEM BONA: The 6-foot-10 forward and Pac-12 freshman of the year is returning to UCLA after starting 32 games as a rookie and averaging 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks – with coach Mick Cronin praising his toughness for “competing through multiple injuries for as long as he could” in a statement Wednesday.
JOSIAH-JORDAN JAMES: The 6-6 guard went through the NBA G League Combine and had workouts with multiple teams before opting to return to Tennessee for a fifth season alongside teammate Santiago Vescovi.
SPARTANS’ RETURNEES: Michigan State announced that guards Jaden Akins and A.J. Hoggard have withdrawn from the NBA draft. Standout guard Tyson Walker had previously withdrawn in April, setting up Tom Izzo to have five of his top scorers back.
• AP sports writers Pat Eaton-Robb in Storrs, Connecticut, Beth Harris in Los Angeles, Larry Lage in Detroit and Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tennessee, contributed to this story.
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