Since a good portion of NCAA teams have now seen their 2015-16 season come to an end, their top players are beginning to make a decision on whether or not to turn pro. LSU's Ben Simmons has already declared for the 2016 NBA Draft, opting to hire Rich Paul, LeBron James's agent and founder of Klutch Sports Group.
On Monday, Providence's Kris Dunn, Florida State's Malik Beasley and Purdue's Caleb Swanigan were among a group of several players to announce their intentions to turn pro.
Dunn, a 22-year-old junior point guard, is currently ranked as the fifth best prospect, according to Draft Express. Liberty Ballers own Jake Fischer reported that he's leaning towards hiring Roc Nation Sports as his representatives. He would have likely been a late lottery pick if he declared last season but returned to Providence for one more season, averaging 16.4 points on 44.8% to go with 6.2 assists and 2.5 steals. Dunn was named Big East Player of the Year and Big East Defensive Player of the Year for the second season in a row. The New London, Connecticut native is probably the best point guard in this draft class, but there are some red flags with his game. Questions revolve around his inconsistent shooting stroke and his poor decision making leads to a lot of costly turnovers. He's also one of the older players in this expected class, which will leave teams pondering how much room for improvement his game still has. Personally, I would be much more comfortable taking a player like Vanderbilt's Wade Baldwin (if he declares) or Notre Dame's Demetrius Jackson with a later first-round pick than spend a top five selection on Dunn.
Florida State's Malik Beasley sounds pretty intent on turning pro despite choosing not to hire an agent yet. Draft Express ranks him 32 in their top 100. The freshman averaged 15.6 points on 47.1% shooting and 5.3 rebounds. Mike Schmitz of Draft Express had this to say about him in February:
Standing 6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan, Beasley doesn't quite have elite physical tools for an NBA shooting guard but he's an impressive athlete, excellent shooter and aggressive slasher who brings an energetic approach to the floor.
On the other hand, Swanigan is one of many players likely to take advantage of the NCAA's new rule, which gives players up until 10 days after the NBA combine to withdraw their name from the draft provided they do not hire an agent. According to reports, he has no current plans to hire representation. The 18-year-old power forward Swanigan averaged 10.8 points on 46.1% shooting and 8.3 rebounds in his freshman season at Purdue. Draft Express does not have the former McDonald's All-American in their 2016 NBA mock draft, but do rank him as the 22nd best NCAA freshman. Unless he gets a first-round promise, I would anticipate Swanigan spends one more season at Purdue.
Other players who plan to test the waters like Swanigan include North Carolina State point guard Cat Barber and Mississippi State shooting guard Malik Newman.